Athens's new tram had a successful first test run yesterday, moving from central Athens to the southern seaside suburbs where two major Olympic complexes are located.

The $380 million project had been so delayed the International Olympic Committee was concerned it would not be ready for the Aug. 13-29 Games.

"The general test of the tram was successful. Despite all the delays and problems that existed because of its course through densely populated urban areas, we finally did it," transport minister Michalis Liapis said.

Construction crews worked 24 hours a day to get the tram ready for the Olympics.

"We will turn it over for commercial use in one month," Liapis said.

The system includes 35 trams, covers more than 16 miles and includes 47 stops. It is estimated that 80,000 to 90,000 people will use the tram each day.

Greece's public train company also signed an agreement allowing the Athens metro to use tracks on its suburban rail network to reach the city's new airport.

A new suburban rail system also will run from the airport to the main Olympic Stadium north of the center and then to western Athens.

A Long, Slow Burn

The Olympic flame that burned over Mexico City during the tumultuous 1968 Games returned for a more peaceful tour of the city, part of a 26-nation relay leading to the Athens Games.

World champion sprinter Ana Guevara was joined by 119 scholars, journalists, workers and athletes -- including a woman who began her running career at 80 -- in carrying the torch through North America's largest city.

From Mexico City, with a metropolitan area of about 17 million people, the flame headed overnight to Los Angeles -- the first of four stops in the United States before its return to Greece for the Aug. 13 start of the Games.

The flame, carried in a small lantern, arrived early yesterday from Rio de Janeiro, aboard a plane bearing the legend, "Pass the flame, unite the world."

The torch was carried on a bus, escorted by police and news media, to the Olympic Stadium at Mexico's National Autonomous University, the start of a winding 85-mile trip to the city center. Each leg was 440 to 500 yards.

Norma Enriqueta Basilio, who became the first woman to light an Olympic flame at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968, took the first lap with a metal cylinder torch lit from the flame.