Beijing launches three new subway sections

Updated: 2012-01-01 09:13

By Xu Wei (China Daily)

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Beijing launches three new subway sections

BEIJING - Three new subway lines, including one new subway line and two line extensions, began trial operation on Saturday afternoon.

The three subway lines are subway Line 9 and extensions to the existing Line 8 and Line 15. The opening of the three new lines would increase the total length of rail transit in Beijing from 336 to 372 kilometers, with a total of 227 subway stations in 15 lines.

As of 8 pm on Saturday, about 17,000 passengers were transported on Line 8, 23,000 passengers on Line 9 and 86,000 on Line 15, according to the Beijing subway authority.

The trial run will last for at least one year, according to regulations by the Beijing municipal government.

According to a press release by Beijing Major Projects Construction Headquarters Office, the municipal government of Beijing has "ordered a quicker development of rail transit projects and new subway lines that could be opened through different subsections in order to ease congestion."

Yang Guangwu, an official at the headquarters office, said that Beijing currently has 10 subway lines under construction, with a total length of 196 kilometers.

The subway Line 9 connects the Fangshan district in the southwest of Beijing to the Beijing West Railway Station and is expected to ease the traffic woes in the western part of the city.

Meanwhile, four more stations added to the current Line 15, which goes to the Shunyi district in the city's northeastern suburb, were also put into trial operation on Saturday.

The subway Line 8 traverses the Olympic park and connects with the Huilongguan community, one of the largest residential areas in Beijing.

For some residents living near the newly opened subway lines, to start a new year with a subway line opened nearby is an unparalleled gift.

On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of residents gathered outside the entrance of Huilongguan station of subway Line 8, eagerly awaiting the opening of the line at 2 pm.

Qian Zhiwei, 19, said the subway Line 13 he usually takes to school is too crowded in the rush hour and that has been a dreadful experience to him.

The opening of Line 8 would save him a 15-minute walk to the nearest Line 13 station and also greatly help the daily commuting of local residents, he said.

"The roads encircling the Huilongguan community are frequently congested. And that's why I look forward to the subway. You can manage your time more precisely," said Guo Hongliang, a 51-year-old Beijing resident who lives in the Huilongguan area.

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