Chinese metro boom shows no sign of abating | International Railway Journal
China is a relative newcomer to building metros in its major cities, and there was even a ban on new projects in 2002. However, since this policy was reversed in 2004 there has been an explosion in metro construction. As Hans-Ulrich Riedel reports, 23 cities in China have metros totalling 2735km, with a further 2853km under construction.Most cities expand urban heavy-rail systems slowly, usually only one line at a time.
Not so in China where a staggering 370km of new line was brought into operation last year. This year a further 490km of new lines will open.Like one New York City or London per year.
The biggest of these projects is in Nanjing where four new lines totalling 145.8km were due to open, although following an accident during construction, the opening of Line 3 has been postponed until 2015. Beijing is opening four extensions which will add 62.1km to its network, Wuxi opened its first 29.4km line in July and will inaugurate a second 26.3km line next month, while Chongqing will complete four extensions totalling 30.6km and Shanghai three totalling 38.2km. ... Shenzhen currently has a five-line metro totalling 178.9km but it is building another five lines which will almost double the size of the network between 2016 and 2018. Last year alone, Shenzhen invested $US 2.65bn in metro construction. In addition, construction has started of a separate light rail system in the northern district of Longhua.The scale of the construction is breathtaking.
China also has the ability and resources to construct many very long lines at the same time. Metro lines ranging in length from 20 to 30km have been built in 19 cities simultaneously, and often within one or two years a second line of similar length is completed.China is a very populous country, something that partially explains the massive scale of construction there. It is also catching up economically to the industrialized nations, and its cities have become choked with cars.
Metro construction is currently underway in 37 cities, four of which opened their first lines this year, and another three cities plan to start construction of their first metros this year. Nationally, 54 cities with a population of one million or more are planning to build metros although the actual number of cities in the planning phase is constantly changing. Cities usually plan to build at least two lines initially.