Passenger services will operate on a trial basis between 12.00 and 15.00 on the initial eight-station section between Parada dos Museus in the city centre and Santos Dumont Airport. Full commercial operations are due to begin on the 17km first phase between Rodoviária Novo Rio and the airport on July 1, and the line will be operating 24 hours a day during the Olympic Games.

The Central do Brasil - Praça XV line is expected to open later this year, while the line along Avenida Marechal Floriano is due to be commissioned next year.

The Porto Maravilha LRT is being implemented as a PPP project by a consortium led by Brazilian companies CCR Group and Invepar, which was awarded a contract to design, build, operate, and maintain the network in April 2013. Consortium member RATP Dev will operate the system for 25 years.

When all phases are completed, the network will have capacity to carry up to 300,000 passengers per day with trams operating at headways of between three and 15 minutes.

The Reais 1.2bn ($US 340m) project is being funded with the aid of a Reais 532m grant from the federal government's Growth Acceleration Programme (PAC).

Alstom is supplying a fleet of 32 44m-long Citadis LRVs, which are equipped with Alstom's APS ground power supply system for catenary-free operation. The first five vehicles were built in France while the remaining 27 units are being assembled on Alstom's LRV production line at Taubaté in São Paulo state, which began operating last year.

Rio VLT opening2