This time, it's not a joke. Twenty-six years after the idea was drafted, the Algerian capital could, perhaps, have its very own metro by 2010. Our Observer tells us that it's almost ready - he's even got the photos to prove it.

Earlier this month, Transport Minister Amar Tou made the exciting announcement that the public opening of the Algiers metro should take place early 2010. About time - the project was officially launched in... 1983. Since then, between economic crisis, political instability and public insecurity, the project has been repeatedly pushed to the bottom of the pile. It's out-run five presidents and squandered 140 billion dinars (around 200 million euros). The subject has become something of a joke for Algiers' residents.

Stretching over nine kilometres, the metro's first line will connect ten locations from the centre to the east of the city. The first train will run at 5am, and the last at 11pm. A special police force has been set up to take charge of the stations and their surrounding areas. The Parisian metro security, RATP, has been called upon to supervise arrangements for the first five years.  

The metro pilot

Photos taken by one of our Observers, who wishes to remain anonymous.

"We're still on time"

Nassym Djender, 43, lives in the Bab El Oued district of Alger. He works for the daily sports paper, "Le Buteur".

This metro is an old dream. At the start of the project, when I was still a teenager, I went to have a look at the construction site - so I soon realised that it wouldn't be happening fast! The builders didn't exactly look rushed.

Afterwards, I left my district; my city; my country. I travelled around, I came back... and the metro is still 'under construction'.

However, we're still on time, if you take into account the ten years of terrorism that stalled the country. Look at Egypt, who took 29 years to build their metro. We're quicker than the Pharaohs!

The good thing is that we can actually see the metro now. We know it's nearly finished, and will soon be operational.

My dream? To get on the metro, in my city, in my country, with my children, my parents, my family, my friends, and share a good moment. To know that there are a few less cars on the busy roads above.

By this don't think that Algeria's doing great. But at least things are moving forward. And when things advance, it's important to note."