As a follow-up to my posting on August 28 ("Tourist Trolley Derails, 5 Killed,"), authorities in Rio de Janeiro today suspended service until further notice on the city's only tram-line, after an accident that killed five people. The number of those injured has risen to 53 since my earlier posting. The tram, one of Rio's top tourist attractions, derailed on Saturday (August 27) as it came out of a curve and crashed with a post, causing it to fall to the street.
COMMENT: Rio de Janeiro Governor Sergio Cabral said the streetcar would only function again once the causes of the accident are established. Cabral also said that a plan has been launched to modernize the trams, which have been serving the artists' neighborhood of Santa Teresa, on a hill, since the 19th century.
While the official report is not expected until next month, Rio's Regional Council of Engineering and Architecture (CREA) anticipated Monday that the accident was most likely caused by a fault in the streetcar's braking system. On days of high tourist traffic, the streetcar was commonly known to exceed its passenger capacity.
My interpretation from the governor's statement is that there will be strong pressure on the city to restore the tram-line to service in plenty of time for Rio to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016.