The Lille Métropole has selected Alstom as preferred bidder for a €250m project to modernise Line 1 of the city's metro.
Alstom will supply an integrated system, which includes an automatic driver system and 27 rubber-tyred metro trains to cater for traffic growth over the coming years.
A formal agreement is expected to be signed in June 2012, after which the project is expected to start later in the year with completion scheduled for 2017.
Each of the new automatic trains will be capable of carrying up to 545 people, which is twice as many as the existing fleet can hold, as well as helping to reduce energy consumption in public transportation by 20%.
The trains will be equipped with new electronic display units and multimedia screens to improve passenger information, while there will be no partitions between cars and spaces will be dedicated to people with reduced mobility.
A system of video cameras will also be fitted on the trains that transmit images in real time to the control centre, while Urbalis signalling system control equipment will replace the current system to strengthen passenger security.
The new system, which is scheduled to come into service from 2015, will be less costly to maintain and more flexible to run, and will not disturb line operation between now and completion.
The new trains will be built at the company's Valenciennes plant, in Northern France. Six other Alstom Transport sites will also be involved in the project, including Saint-Ouen, Reichshoffen, Ornans, Le Creusot, Villeurbanne and Tarbes.
Currently, the Urbalis train signalling system has been installed in ten lines, including Beijing, Lausanne, Milan, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Shanghai and Shenzhnen, while 18 others are currently in progress.