Rio de Janeiro's half a million commuters feel they need a new underground train system more than any other city in the world.
GV PAN Busy street scene TO construction site for underground
SV PAN Statue of ex-President vargas TO sign Metro
GV Bulldozers excavating (3 shots)
SV PAN Workers with ??? drills breaking up concrete
GV Site with bulldozers working
GV Men working on site (2 shots)
LV Sign 'Odeon" showing "Sequestro de Metro "
GV Steamroller flattening surface
Initials BB/1700 TA/AW/BB/1730 Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Rio de Janeiro's half a million commuters feel they need a new underground train system more than any other city in the world. To prove their point, two months ago they rioted and wrecked more than twenty of their old inadequate suburban railway trains.
Experts have estimated that a Rio worker may spend up to a quarter of his life trying to get to and from work -- three hours in the morning and another three in the evening for a journey that should take 40 minutes with modern trains.
The first part of the new underground system has cost 60 million US dollars ( 28.5 million pounds sterling). shortage of money has several times delayed work - but after the violence and a recent rush hour train crash that killed 15 people and injured over 200, Brazil's President Ernesto Geilsel showed his concern for the commuters when he said " I want immediate results. The people want immediate results."
The President added that the commuters were worthy and hard working people trying to get to their jobs frustrated by a railway system that is forty years behind the times.
Shortly afterwards he approved an expenditure of 75 million US dollars ( 37.5 million pounds sterling) this year for improving the suburban system.
The huge excavation for the main Largo de Carioca station is causing a lot of disruption in the centre of Rio. But for the commuters on the overcrowded , late trains that frequently break down it is at least a sign that something is happening -- although so far only 1.2 miles ( 2 Kilometres) of track have been completed.