SPAIN: Construction of Bilbao metro Line 3 is expected to start later this year, after bids were invited for the first 2·7 km section between San Antonio Etxebarri and Txurdinaga within a budget of €75m. Due for completion in 2012, the €153m Line 3 will be 90% in tunnel.

Line 3 will run for 5·9 km from San Antonio Extebarri to Matiko, serving five intermediate stations including Casco Viejo in the city centre where there will be interchange with lines 1 and 2. There are 71 000 residents within 10 min of the line, and trains wil run every 5 min in the peaks with a journey time of 10 min.

Rolling stock for Line 3 is included in a €30·8m order for 22 metro cars approved by the Bizkaia transport authority last February. This includes additional vehicles will be used to lengthen trains from four to five cars, including nine sets currently under construction for delivery from mid-2009.

As well from as the new line, demand is expected to grow with the opening in 2010 of extensions to Kabiezes and Basauri. Infrastructure work to accommodate five-car trains on the existing lines will cost an additional €3·5m.