SANTIAGO Metro has selected CAF of Spain as preferred bidder to supply 18 eight-car trainsets. Under a deal worth €175m, the new trains are due to be delivered to the Chilean capital within 24 months of contract signature. Alstom and Bombardier also submitted bids.

Increasing the size of the Santiago fleet by 20%, the new trains will be deployed on the 3·8 km extension of Line 1 from Escuela Militar to Los Dominicos, due to open towards the end of December 2009 at a cost of US$245m. They will also be used on the 14·2 km extension of Line 5 from Quinta Normal to Plaza de Maipú, costing a total of $670m. This is due to open as far as Pudahuel in December 2009 and on to Plaza de Maipú during the last quarter of 2010.

The rubber-tyred CAF trains will also be used to increase capacity on existing routes. Under the controversial Transantiago programme to restructure the public transport network, service hours have been extended, and in the first six months of 2007 the metro recorded 271·8 million passenger-journeys, up 79% on the year before. Its share of the public transport market has increased from 13% to 40%.

The number of train-km operated has been increased by 32%, with express services introduced on Line 4 to provide capacity for an additional 3200 passengers/h between 06.00 and 09.00 on weekdays.