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Beijing subway becomes the world’s largest metro system (China)

By Raf Canters / Updated: 01 Aug 2014
With the opening of a 69.8km extension on December 28th 2012, Beijing has become the world’s longest subway network, overtaking Shanghai’s 425km long system with a total length of 442km.
Subway lines 8, 9 and 10 have been extended and one new line, line 6, has been constructed. Line 8 now runs 3.3 km south from Beitucheng Station to Guloudajie Station, connecting line 10 with line 2 and three new stations which have been opened on this line.

The north section of line 9 is now open, connecting Beijing West Railway Station with the National Library Station. This section of 5.7 km and 4 stations has been delayed 2 years, with the southern section operating since 2011 but not linked to the rest of the subway system. The opening of this section upgrades the accessibility of the West Station, Beijings second largest railway station. As another novelty the National Library station has become Beijing’s first cross-platform interchange station with line 4 trains stopping on the outside and line 9 trains on the inside. This will allow most riders to change lines simply by crossing the platform, instead of walking between levels.

Line 10 phase 2 has opened with 30.1 km of track and 23 new stations , nearly completing the loop except from a 2.1 km long section with 2 stations, which is expected to open in May 2013. From Bagou the line gives access to west and southwest Beijing extending to Xiju station and from Jinsong station it will extend to Shoujingmao station giving wide parts of southern Beijing access to the metro system. With this extension line 10 is now Beijing’s longest subway line with a length of 54.8 km.

The opening of line 6, Beijing’s second east-west subway line running parallel to line 1 is expected to bring a number of benefits. Line 6 runs 30.4 km from Wuluju in Haidian district in the west of the city to Caofang in Chaoyang district in the east. Among its many benefits, the new line is expected to alleviate traffic congestion. Furthermore line 6 has several novelties. The whole line is designed for high capacity and fast transfer. It is the first line to operate with 8-car train sets instead of 6-car sets, stations are therefore more than 200m long. With a maximum speed of 100km/h the speed is 20km/h faster than on other lines. A 21 station long terminal to terminal ride lasts only 48 minutes, making an average speed of 48 km/h. To ensure a fast acceleration and high load capacity the electric power system is 1500V DC in contrast to 750V DC on the other lines.

All new sections have been under test trials since September 20th to ensure a smooth start of operation; also 3,490 new employees have been hired. Beijing is undertaking an aggressive subway network extension policy to reduce the massive congestion on the streets. By 2015 the subway network is expected to have 19 lines and a network length of 660km, transporting 9 million passengers per day.

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