Milestone for Chengdu's ambitious subway project

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 September, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 September, 2006, 12:00am

Chengdu Metro has just announced the completion of Xinyizhou Station, one of 18 stations on Line 1 of Chengdu's planned underground railway network. The network will encompass virtually all of the city from Third Ring Road into the city centre, and comprises five lines.

Line 1 is 26.7km long and will run north to south. The major stations along the line are North Railway Station, Tianfu Square in the city centre, South Railway Station, the new Convention Centre and the end station, Hejiang Pavilion.

The lines are expected to carry 13.1 million people a day by 2020 and 14.10 million people a day by 2035. The total length of the five lines will be 126km and there will be 116 stations, of which 11 are transfer stations.

The subway is a vital aspect of the government's plans to ease the traffic congestion caused by the city's rapid growth and the increasing numbers of vehicles on the road.

The network will also help in the city's overall development by tightening links between the various parts of the city and facilitating the movement of people and goods.

The total investment for Phase 1, Line 1 is 6.5 billion yuan. Phase 1 of the line is 15.5km and leaves out the extreme stations to the north and south of the line.

The government has already expressed its willingness to make public certain components of the line. Germany-based Hamburg Consulting took part in general technical consultations for Line 1. Companies from around the world are welcome to look into Chengdu's metro network. Meanwhile, the interior decoration of the Xinyizhou line is open for bids.

Speculation has already begun in the real estate industry, with neighbourhoods around planned subway stations soaring in value. This has led to intensified development, especially in the south, from the intersection of Tongzilin Road and Renmin Road South all the way to Huayang, near the new Convention Centre.

In the past year, Hang Kong Road, just east of Tongzilin Road, has had a makeover. In place of vacant lots and rundown buildings are now towering office buildings and luxury apartment complexes.

A nightlife scene has followed hot on the heels of the new developments, completely changing the face of a once quiet part of the city.

An interesting feature of the subway is the 'wave' construction. When a train leaves the station, it heads downhill on a slight gradient, saving energy and gathering speed. The wave design also takes the metro deeper into the earth's strata, resulting in greater stability.

Another interesting feature are the air vents along the spine of the lines. These appear as discreet concrete structures along a green beltway.

Construction of Phase 1 of Line 2 is scheduled to begin in May next year and come into operation in late 2011.

The line begins in the west at the Chengguan bus station and crosses the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the central shopping district of Niushikou before arriving east at the Sichuan Institute of Economic Management.

The government has invested about 9.9 billion yuan in the line, which has 20 stations and is about 23km long. The line will be underground in the city centre and elevated outside the Second Ring Road.