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Rapid Transit in China

The Beijing metro system, which opened in 1969, has 113 kilometers of subway track on four lines, plus an additional 98 kilometers slated by 2010. The Guangzhou system, which opened in 1999, has 18.5 kilometers and an additional 133 kilometers planned.

Shanghai metro, which opened in 1995, has 8 lines, 68 stations, and 82.8 kilometers of track, with an additional 108.4 kilometers under construction or planned. The Tianjin metro was begun in 1970 as a planned network of 153.9 kilometers on seven lines; large sections remain closed for reconstruction, but one 26.2-kilometer-long line opened for trial operations in June 2006. The Shenzhen metro opened in 2004, initially with two lines, 19 stations, and 21.8 kilometers of track. Also under construction are subway and light rail systems in Chongqing and Nanjing, and systems are planned for Chengdu and Qingdao. Metro transit in Hong Kong is covered by the privately operated Mass Transit Railway, which opened in 1979 and now has six metro lines with 50 stations.

China also has the world’s first commercial magnetic levitation (maglev) train service. A Sino- German joint venture, 38-kilometer-long route between downtown Shanghai and the Pudong airport opened in 2003. The project cost US$1.2 billion and has experienced an average of 8,000 passengers per day, well below capacity. In 2004 the first Chinese-made maglev train made its debut in Dalian, a major port city in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province. The 10.3-meter-long train has a top speed of just under 110 kilometers per hour. Although the cost to build was high at US$6 million per kilometer, China’s outlay was still only one-sixth of the world average.

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