In 2011 Santiago Metro awarded Alstom a contract to modernise the NS 74 trains used on lines 2 and 5. However, Santiago Metro abandoned the programme after large quantities of asbestos were discovered during the refurbishment of the first train, opting instead to order 35 new seven-car trains from Alstom in a deal worth $US 316.7m.

Electrical and mechanical systems for the 750V dc third-rail trains are being supplied by Alstom plants in France and Spain. Bodyshells are being fabricated at Alstom’s facility in Lapa, Brazil, although the company recently announced it will shift production of NS 16 shells to its underutilised facility at Taubate in São Paulo state.

Final assembly of the NS 16 vehicles is being carried out at Santiago Metro’s Neptuno workshops.

Each vehicle is 2.6m wide and 17.4m long. A seven-car train will accommodate up to 1340 passengers.

Santiago Metro expects to introduce one train a month with the final set entering service in May 2021.