THE government of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais has confirmed that concessionaire Metrô BH will purchase 24 new metro trains from CRRC subsidiary, Changchun Railway Vehicles.

The four-car trains will replace the fleet of 25 series 900 trains, which entered service in the 1980s, and will operate on Line 1 and the future Line 2 of the Belo Horizonte metro. The government says the new fleet will be equipped with ATO, which will improve network operation as well as reduce energy consumption.

Alstom is upgrading signalling on the network under a contract signed in October 2023. The deal includes installation of 48 automatic train control (ATC) units onboard the 24 new trains.

Although the government says that the final design has yet to be finalised, it confirmed that manufacturing of the trains is underway in China. The first train is expected to enter service in the first half of 2026.

Replacement of the series 900 fleet is included in the terms of the concession contract, which commenced in 2023. Metrô BH is held by Grupo Comporte, which is responsible for management, operation and maintenance of the network for 30 years.

The concessionaire will also oversee projects to upgrade and expand Line 1 and complete Line 2. This project commenced in 1998 but was abandoned in 2004. Work is set to focus on completing an initial 10.5km section of the line from Barreiro to Nova Suíça.

A total investment of Reais 3.7bn ($US 700m) is foreseen throughout the duration of the concession, predominately from government sources.

Line 1 opened in 1986 and runs for 28.1km, serving 19 stations. It carries more than 100,000 passengers every day. The improvement projects are targeting daily ridership of 270,000.

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