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Construction of airport-downtown metro to begin
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-09 10:34

Construction on a metro line connecting the Beijing Capital International Airport and downtown Beijing will start this month and should be completed in June 2008, in time for the Olympics.

Trains will be able to complete the journey in 16 minutes. It now takes a taxi at least half an hour to cover the same section on an expressway without a traffic jam.

The project will be the first train scheme in Beijing to be built without government money.

Liu Jian from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Reform and Development said the project has been approved by the National Commission of Reform and Development.

Liu said the line, which connects the airport and Dongzhimen in downtown Beijing, will be 27.3 kilometres long and have four stations: Dongzhimen, Sanyuanqiao and the No 2 and No 3 terminal buildings in the airport.

Liu estimated the price for a single trip to be 20 yuan (US$2.5).

As the line will be part of the city's subway system, passengers can change trains conveniently at Dongzhimen Station and Sanyuanqiao Station.

"The metro line will provide a punctual, fast, convenient, comfortable and efficient transport service to airline passengers and guarantee smooth transport during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games," Liu said.

A special lounge will be built in Dongzhimen Station where plane passengers can finish boarding procedures before they go to the airport, saving a lot of time. They can even manage a quick tour of the city after having their luggage consigned.

Liu revealed that 3.6 kilometres of the metro will be built underground between Dongzhimen and Sanyuanqiao stations to avoid troubling nearby residents, although this means a higher construction cost.

The project will cost 5.4 billion yuan (US$670 million), funded by a joint venture of five domestic companies. It is Beijing's first city railway project to be financed without government cash, Liu said.

Yu Le, chief designer, said the trains on the new line will be the first in Beijing to be equipped with linear motors, which have many advantages over traditional motors such as less noise.

Yu said linear motors have been used for other city railways in many countries. Bids will be invited before a decision is made on which type of linear motor technology to use.

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