ON NOVEMBER 15 President Ricardo Lagos of Chile announced the next phase of an extension programme which will take the Santiago metro to 104·5 km and 108 stations by the end of 2009.

Work on the 4 km extension of Line 1 from Escuela Militar to Los Dominicos was due to start during December for opening in the second quarter of 2009. With three intermediate stations, the extension is expected to cost US$230m to build.

Lagos also announced the construction of a new line 13·5 km in length serving the Maipú, Lo Prado and Pudahuel districts, starting from the western end of Line 5 at Quinta Normal. Expected to carry 53million passengers a year, the new line would have 13 new stations and cost a total of $670m. Construction is expected to take 50 months to complete with opening scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2009.

On November 25 Lagos opened the 1·9 km extension of Line 2 from Cerro Blanco to Einstein, serving one intermediate station at Cementerios. November 30 saw the opening of two sections of Line 4, the 7·7 km from Tobalaba to Grecia and the 10·9 km from Vicente Valdés to Plaza de Puente Alto.

Representing a total investment of $1·08bn, Line 4 is due to be completed this year with the opening of the Grecia - Vicente Valdés section in March, followed in July by a branch (Line 4A) from Vicuña Mackenna to the southern terminus of Line 2 at La Cisterna. Line 4 will be operated with a fleet of 180 steel-wheeled cars, with a six-car trainset accommodating 240 seated 1342 standing passengers.