A train has made the journey for the first time along Rio de Janeiro’s new underground metro line, considered a crucial link for public transport during the Olympic Games in less than three months.

The test trip passed through the five stations on Line 4, which links the touristy neighbourhood of Ipanema in the south of Rio to Barra da Tijuca in the west where the Olympic Park and athletes’ village are located.

A video of the test was posted on the site of Rio state transport department. In the operation, an engine pushed a train car.

The progress comes amid worries that the metro will not be ready in time.

The line was opened on Aug 1 (though there were worries earlier it might not have met that deadline),  just four days before the Games open, and will only be available to people accredited to the Games or with tickets to watch. The general public will only be able to ride on the line on Sept 19, when the Paralympic Games, which follow the Olympics, are over.

“In June, the train will run on Line 4, on the western part and then on the southern part, for complete tests necessary ahead of the Aug 1 opening,” said state Transport Secretary Rodrigo Vieira.

“On Aug 1, Line 4 will be operational at all the stations.”

Vieira told O Globo newspaper that the metro will be open from 6am to 1am on Monday to Saturday during the Games, and from 7am to 1am on Sundays, although some days the hours will be extended to 2am.

Construction of the metro started in June 2010 and is expected to cost 9.7bil reals (RM12bil), almost double the original budget. – AFP Relaxnews