First LRV train arrived in Rio and is set to open in April

Far to remember the nostalgic sixties trams, the first LRV Train, which arrived in Rio on Friday, coming from La Rochelle, in the coastal region of France, seems to come from a futuristic movie. The cockpit, which will be the runner, looks like a sci-fi lab with its bright instruments. Next to the on-board computer there are 26 green and orange buttons with different functions: one of them, for example, is to turn on the air conditioning; another drives the windshield wiper. When ready for operation, one lever similar to a video game joystick will start up the composition. The system will slide over rails free of any overhead contact line as is common in LRV’s worldwide.

 “Rio will be the second city in the world to have a LRV one hundred percent free of the overhead contact line, i.e. no air power cables to feed the vehicle with energy. The first was Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The system, called APS, together with capacitors, provides electricity along the tracks, which are energized only in the exact location where the composition is passing through” said Jorge Arraes, Special Secretary for Public-Private Partnership Concessions.

So leave the port where it is awaiting customs clearance, The LRV will be taken to the Rua General Luís Mendes de Morais, next to Novo Rio Bus Station, to carry out initial assessments. A team of Alston, the company that makes the modern tram, will come to country to monitor the leveling tests (to make sure that the LRV will not drag the bottom of the composition on trails). Soon, the Companhia de Desenvolvimento Urbano da Região do Porto do Rio de Janeiro (Cdurp) will announce the date of arrival of the next trams. According to the company, it is expected the arrival of 31 more. Another four directly from France, while the remaining ones will be assembled in the new Alstom factory in Taubaté, São Paulo. 

 “The Taubaté plant was inaugurated in March for this purpose. Since then the trams were assembled, but all systems, including IT and electrical components , will continue to be imported.  What will be manufactured in São Paulo State plant are the wheels, suspension, seats, lamps and everything that is not electrical system and IT. No risk of delays. The process is part of the progressive nationalization program we plan at the time we created the company. One of the requirements was the transfer of technology to the Brazilian plant to stay ready to make LRV’s to meet new orders”, said Arraes, “After Rio take the lead of the LRV in the country, municipal representatives from Santos, Brasília, Cuiabá and Curitiba went to Rio de Janeiro City Hall to meet the project.


In the initial schedule, it was predicted that the testing phase began this month, and the second phase in March 2016. Now, it is expected that the first LRV’s begin to circulate through the stretch that goes from the Novo Rio Bus Station to the Santos Dumont Airport at the end of 2015 – passing along Rodrigues Alves Avenue, Mauá Square and Rio Branco Avenue -,  but only for operational testing, without passengers. The public can use the LRV from April next year. The lines that had been disclosed are being evaluated. According to city officials, the program will take into account the withdrawal of bus lines in downtown.

The second stage includes the link between Central do Brazil and Quinze Square, passing on the one hand, by Marechal Floriano Avenue, and on the other, by Campo de Santana, Tiradentes Square, Largo da Carioca and Rua Sete de Setembro. It is expected that this second section, which will also connect the Santo Cristo to Rodrigues Alves Avenue by Gamboa, will be in commercial operation in August 2016.

 “Toward the end of the year will occur simultaneous tests. The trams that arrived first pass the movement tests, and as they begin to get others, we will start another series of evaluations. The entire test sequence will last from three to four months” – said Arraes.

Currently, the operation is focused on placement of rails through which will pass the LRV. So far, five kilometers (the total distance is 27 km) have been installed – 18% of the total. The passages whose installation of rails is more advanced are the avenues situated close to Novo Rio Bus Station and the regions of Mauá Square, Cinelândia, and Harmonia Square. During the weekend, traffic was stopped in the streets surrounding Campo de Santana and Largo da Carioca region. These locations are in works for the laying of the rails. The only place that does not have forecast for the start of work is the stretch that goes from Central do Brazil to Rio Branco Avenue. On site will be four LRV stations.


The average speed of each train will be 17km/h. The intervals should vary between three and 15 minutes, depending on the line and the time. At dawn, the vehicles will circulate every 30 minutes. What also changes is the full capacity of passengers. On average, with three coupled cars, the LRV can carry 420 people. The system will have 32 stations throughout the route. Four of them (Novo Rio Bus Station, Central do Brazil, Santos Dumont Airport and Quinze Square) will have coverage, as well as the BRT stations Transcarioca and Transoeste. The novelty is that there will not be collectors or turnstiles. The payment system includes the use of Single Ticket and voluntary validation. This model – used in several cities in the world – will be adopted in Rio by the impossibility to build several stations. The total cost of project is R$ 1,1 billion.

According to the professor in the Department of Transport Engineering of Uerj, Alexander Rojas, the LRV will be able to recover the mobility of a part of downtown that is “begging” for improvements.

 “One of the best means of transport that Rio already had was the tram. It worked well and met the need of the time. But the amount of coaches in the city conflicted. The LRV redeems mobility that Rio had in the past. The downtown needed a major intervention for decades”.

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