Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff inaugurated Saturday in the southern city of Porto Alegre the first "Aeromovel" passenger train in the country, a small air-propulsion innovation of Brazilian technology designed as a non-contaminating, cost-effective transport alternative.
This first Aeromovel connects Porto Alegre's international airport with a railway station and has a run of a scant 900 meters (1/2 mile) over an elevated concrete guideway which takes 2 minutes from one end to the other.
The lightweight vehicle's small steel wheels run along rails as the train is driven by powerful industrial blowers, whose fans are activated by small electric motors capable of high output while using little energy.
The Aeromovel is operated from train stations by remote control, meaning that no engineers are needed.
President Rousseff made the inaugural trip together with local authorities and, in her first statement, described the project as "revolutionary."
The pilot project, in operation since Saturday, has been considered a point of departure for projects of much greater magnitude, to be developed in different parts of the country.
This first Aeromovel cost 37.8 million reais (some $16.4 million) and is expected to carry some 7,700 passengers per day.
This is a totally domestic project and has been designed by the Grupo Coester, which has further plans to build two rail lines in the city of Porto Alegre, one of 9 kilometers (5 1/2 miles) and the other of 18 kilometers (11 miles).
The company also announced that it has been consulted by other regions of the country that are interested in the project. EFE