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Brazil's vulnerable transport system again exposed as Rio commuter train accident sowed chaos

Thursday, January 23rd 2014 - 21:21 UTC
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Broadcasts showed seas of people packed onto narrow train platforms and forming long lines at bus terminals Broadcasts showed seas of people packed onto narrow train platforms and forming long lines at bus terminals

A commuter train in Rio de Janeiro left the tracks and hit a pole supporting power lines early Wednesday, causing no injuries but sowing widespread chaos across the overburdened public transportation system of Brazil's Olympic city which next June/July will host several World Cup matches.

Officials said that some cars derailed at low speed as the train was approaching a station in the northern Sao Cristovao neighborhood. Live television images showed little to no damage to the train, but iron poles were bent and power lines that feed energy to the train system were downed. Television stations also carried images of the transit woes that followed the 5 a.m. accident, as tens of thousands of train commuters struggled to find alternative routes to work. Broadcasts showed seas of people packed onto narrow train platforms and forming long lines at bus terminals. The accident comes less than five months ahead of kick-off for World Cup and it's the latest in a series of recent mishaps that have raised questions about Brazil's readiness to host world soccer's showcase event. Many of the projects aimed at improving public transit networks in the 12 Brazilian cities that are slated to host the June 12-July 13 tournament are delayed or have been scrapped altogether, prompting worries about fans' ability to get to and from the stadiums. With narrow, aging roadways and a limited subway system, transit in Rio is snarled on even the best of days and often grinds to near halt after heavy rains. Buses, the city's main form of public transit, are also plagued by overcrowding and are sometimes targeted by thieves. Many people who commute to central Rio from the distant, poor suburbs that ring this city of 6 million regularly spend upward of five hours on their daily commute. Rio state's transportation secretary, Julio Lopes, told Globonews television station that the causes of Wednesday's accident were being investigated and that it was too early to say when service on the city's train lines would be re-established. Lopes added he hoped the rail network would be back in service in time for the afternoon commute. After the accident, commuters in the train that derailed had to walk along the tracks to the next station, news reports said. Some reported that thieves were taking advantage of the crowds in train stations and on platforms.

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  • ilsen

    Jumpers for goalposts anyone? Shirts vs Skins?

    Ah bless, takes me back to when I was a kid and we had to improvise in the park or street.....
    Although I am not sure how Spain and Chile will feel about having a 'knockabout' in a building site...
    Still, its all about the love of the game.. no?

    Jan 23rd, 2014 - 11:51 pm 0
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