Beijing to upgrade subway lines, systems
Beijing's two oldest metro lines will be renovated ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games.
Cars and tracks along the No 1 and No 2 lines in the capital city will be upgraded by 2007 at a cost of 3.7 billion yuan (US$450 million).
The move is aimed at meeting the requirements of the huge surge in passengers during the 29th Summer Olympic Games.
The two lines have been in operation for more than 30 years but have never been renovated.
The city's oldest subway, the first-phase of the No 1 line from Pingguoyuan to Fuxingmen, opened in 1969.
A detailed renovation plan has not been released yet, although an expert appraisal was held earlier this month.
According to sources with the Beijing Metro Operating Company, lurking dangers in safety will be eliminated after renovations are completed.
The overall technological level and safety standard will also be enhanced then.
At the same time, the renovation is expected to reduce the number of problems with vehicles and equipment.
Passengers are expected to feel more comfortable when the interior conditions within subway stations and carriages are improved.
Meanwhile, the working staff volume per kilometre of metro lines will be controlled below 100 persons.
All equipment used for metro will run automatically after the equipment upgrading.
In another development, the Beijing Metro Operation Company will examine all of the four subway lines in operation to ensure safety and prevent fire.
The following aspects will be given priority: exits, passageways, stairs, emergency lights, fire prevention symbols, automatic warning facilities and various emergency equipment.
Systems will also be improved to better deal with emergencies within the metro lines.
Earlier this month a passenger pushed the alarm button after two people got into a knife fight inside a carriage, but the red alarm light did not start flashing for 20 minutes.
The operating company issued a new system to deal with emergencies that call for employees to actually take action.
According to the new method, attendants should determine the carriage number where the emergency occurs, inform passengers immediately and report the condition to relevant stations.
Attendants should go to the site of the emergency when the train arrives at the station and, if necessary, call police.
Beijing now has four metro lines with a total length of 113.4 kilometres.
Another three lines and a branch line are now under construction and are expected to open to traffic in 2007 and 2008.
It is expected that the total length of metro lines in Beijing will increase to some 300 kilometres in 2008.