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Monday, November 20, 2006

Beijing plans world's longest subway

The Chinese capital Beijing could have 561 kilometres of subway by 2020 and would supplant London as having the world's longest transit system, the official China Daily reported today. The network, which would stretch to 19 lines, will reach every major corner of the city, though the plans are still subject to government approval, the newspaper said.

Cities around China are spending billions of dollars building new subways or upgrading existing systems to try to beat the often chronic traffic jams that have come with years of booming economic growth.

Beijing's four metro lines carry 1.5 million people a day, and another three lines will enter service in time for the 2008 Olympic Games, the newspaper added.
By comparison, the London Underground's network is 408 kilometres with 11 lines that carry more than three million people a day.

No price tag was given for the Beijing expansion, but the city is spending some 40 billion dollars to improve infrastructure including road and rail links for the Olympics. Beijing is also considering building six underground highways running north-south and east-west to lighten pressure on its overburdened ring roads, the Xinhua news agency added, though some experts have opposed the plan due to safety concerns.

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