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Beijing's New Subway Line to Begin Trail Operations in June

Apr. 30. 2007

Beijing's No. 5 subway line, which runs through the heart of the city and is set to start carrying passengers in September, will provide live broadcasts of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Ding Shukui, vice manager of the city's rail traffic company, said on Sunday that construction of the subway tunnel has been completed and workers are busy building the last station.

"Trial operations begin on June 30," he said.

The 27.6-km north-south line runs through the east side of downtown. It starts at Taipingzhuang, north of the north forth ring road, traveling underground through the center of the city to Songjiazhuang near the south forth ring road. It has 22 station stops.

It meets the city's east-west subway or Line 1 at Dong Dan, one stop east of Wangfujing. It also meets the loop line at Yong He Gong in the north and Chong Wen Men in the south. Passengers on line 5 can also connect to line 13, north Beijing's light rail line, at Li Shui Qiao.

Construction began in late 2002, and cost 12 billion yuan (about US$1.55 billion).

The subway runs under Ditan Park where Chinese emperors used to worship the "God of Earth".

Equipped with a wireless communication network, live broadcasts will be provided on televisions installed on each subway car. Passengers will never lose a connection on their mobile phones, said Ding.

The subway cars on line No. 5 are more comfortable as they are wider and taller. A six-car train is designed to reach speeds of 80 km per an hour and a monitoring system will ensure they are the safest.

Beijing currently has 95 km of mass transit rail lines in operation, of which 54.15 kilometers run underground.

Another 100 km of mass transit lines, consisting of eight different routes will begin operation before 2008. Total investment in the projects is 63.8 billion yuan (about US$8.3 billion). Urban planners say completion of the No. 5 subway line will greatly ease north-south traffic congestion.

(Xinhua News Agency April 29, 2007)

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