ON MAY 9 Toulouse transport authority SMTC awarded a turnkey contract for construction of the city’s second VAL automated metro line. The €232m contract with Matra Transport International covers the long-planned 15·6 km north-south Line B linking Borderouge and Ramonville.

With 20 stations, Line B will interchange with Line A at Jean-Jaurès between the SNCF station and the Garonne river. Revenue service is scheduled to begin in 2007. As part of the contract, MTI’s parent company Siemens Transportation Systems is to supply a further 35 VAL208 two-car trainsets similar to those supplied to Lille and Rennes. SMTC had already ordered 14 VAL208 sets to boost capacity on Line A.

MTI is currently working on a 2·5 km extension of Line A from Jolimont to Balma-Gramont, under a €55m contract awarded in April 2000 (RG 5.00 p273). On June 15 SMTC President Jean-Pierre Plancade signed a €100m financing agreement with the European Investment Bank to fund the expansion projects.