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China’s bumper month of openings

The incredible growth of Chinese LRT and metro development was marked by another bumper month in April, with over 90km (56 miles) of new lines and 45 stations added to systems in five cities. Almost 400km (250 miles) of new lines were opened across the country in December 2017.

The first came in the capital of Liaoning Province, Shenyang, as the largest city in north-eastern China added 5.3km (3.2 miles) to metro line 2, taking the north-south route to 31.9km (19.8 miles), with trial operations on 8 April.

Shenyang opened its first metro line in 2010 and although development has remained static for the last four years, the new northern route coincided with enhancement of service on the line, reducing headways by almost 30 seconds. A 14.2km (8.8 miles) southern extension is planned to open in 2020.

The city’s network is expected to reach 100km (62 miles) this year with the opening of lines 9 and 10. Another new line, 4, is due to open in 2020.

Following the opening of the first 20.4km (12.7-mile) phase of metro line 2 in December,
the coastal city of Qingdao added a new 57.8km (36-mile) metro line (11) on 23 April. Forty 80m four-car trains supplied by CRRC Qingdao Sifang are used. Trains reach up to 120km/h (75mph) on the largely elevated alignment.

Starting from an interchange with line 2 at Miaolinglu, close to Laoshan Bay, the new line runs northeast to Jimo, with 22 stations. The first 3.8km (2.4 miles) through the city runs underground with four stations; the rest of the line is elevated. A 1.6km (one-mile) extension is planned at the city end, with another four-station projection at the Jimo end.

Qingdao’s first metro line opened in December 2015. The opening of Line 11 takes the total length of the network to 102km (63.4 miles). A further five lines are under construction.

Three days later, openings took place in both Tianjin and Guangzhou on 26 April.

The 1.2km (0.7 mile) addition to Guangzhou line 3 links its southern and northern airport terminals and opened on the same day as the inauguration of Terminal 2 at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. The airport will also be served by the planned line 18 in 2020.

Tianjin, on the country’s north-eastern coast and one of the exemplars of Chinese economic growth, added 19km (11.8 miles) and 14 stations to metro line 6 on the same
day. The south-eastern route from Nancuiping to Meilinlu, takes line 6 to 45km (28 miles) in length, served by six-car Type B trainsets.

Although minor compared to the metro growth, the New District Tramline in Suzhou – Jiangsu Province, about 100km (62 miles) north-west of Shanghai – added a 7.6km (4.7-mile) extension from Longkanglu to Xiyang Mountain on 28 April. The extension is mostly segregated and at-grade, with two underground sections.

The initial section of the city’s first modern tramline opened in 2014, using a fleet of 18
low-floor trams produced by CRRC Nanjing Puzhen to a licensed Bombardier Flexity 2 design but fitted with onboard energy storage to allow catenary-free operation.

A second 18.5km (11.5-mile) line is due to open in August, featuring an interchange with the existing line at Longkanglu.