Capital’s tram in first test run

Athens’s new tram service, scheduled to begin next May, had its first trial run yesterday from the main depot at Hellenikon, along coastal Poseidonos Avenue to the Olympic Sailing Center at Aghios Cosmas. Transport Minister Christos Verelis told journalists that 83 percent of the 24 kilometers (15 miles) of track have been laid, five of the 15 power supply stations completed and 7.5 kilometers (4.6 miles) of the overhead cable installed. «By May 2004, the tram will be serving 80,000 passengers daily,» said Verelis. Nine of the 35 trams have been delivered. The rest are scheduled for delivery by the end of April. Verelis said plans were to be submitted shortly to prefectural authorities for extensions of the service to Piraeus (from Neo Faliron), along Patission Avenue to Ano Patissia and from Larissis Station to the university campus at Zografou via Goudi. «We are seeking the approval of the public and to do that we need time,» said Verelis. Protests from local residents have caused delays along the coastal route.