Exploring the Beijing Subway

Time for something a little different from my usual Hong Kong content – a trip over to the ‘Mainland’ to tour the Beijing Subway.

Entrance to Qianmen station (前门站) at Tiananmen Square

The old

The first section of the Beijing Subway opened in 1971, with 10 stations along 10.7 kilometres of tunnel.

Line 1 train approaches Nanlishilu station

The early parts of the network feature small boxy cut and cover tunnels.

Line 1 train heads through the tunnel towards Nanlishilu station

With a rats nest of cables in the tunnel.

Legacy signalling system on Line 1 of the Beijing Subway

While the stations were Soviet style – island platforms flanked by columns.

Passengers waiting on the platform at Xizhimen station

Open to the tracks, without platform screen doors.

Driver's eye view on arrival at Gongzhufen station with a Line 1 service

Murals facing waiting passengers.

Murals opposite the platform at Dongsishitiao (东四十条站) station

Mezzanines looking down on the tracks.

DKZ16 trainset T424 arrives into Dongsishitiao station

And steps down to platform level.

Interchange passageway at Chaoyangmen station on Line 2

In 1984 a second line opened, along with the first interchange station.

Interchange passageway between Line 1 and 2 at Fuxingmen station

Steps linking the platforms to the transfer passageway.

Interchange stairs between Line 2 and 4 at Xuanwumen station

These early subway lines are home of the oldest rollingstock, such as the DKZ4 trainsets from the 1990s.

DKZ4 trainset S426 arrives into Tian'anmen West station on line 1

But are being replaced by newer stock such as the DKZ16.

DKZ16 trainset T410 arrives into Dongsishitiao station

Where passengers can look through into the cab, and beyond into the tunnel.

Train driver looking out the front window of a train on Line 2

The new

In 2001 Beijing won the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, accelerating plans to expand the Beijing Subway system.

Concourse and ticket gates at Tiantandongmen (天坛东门站) station

With six lines in operation by 2008, all looking much the same.

Changing trains at Hujialou (呼家楼站) station

With island platforms.

Line 4 platform at Ping'anli station

Platform screen doors.

Passengers exit a Line 4 train at Xuanwumen station


Interchange passageway between lines 5 and 6 at Dongsi (东四站) station

And spacious concourses.

Mural on the wall of the Line 6 concourse at Chaoyangmen station

Further expansion from 2008 saw even more new lines open, expanding the network further.

Connection between the 'old' Line 2 and 'new' Line 6 portions of Chaoyangmen station

Some new lines using elevated viaducts instead of tunnels.

Line 13 of the Beijing Subway passes Beijing North Railway Station

And another line using double track bored tunnel.

Passing a Line 10 train coming the other way on a double track section of tunnel

And everywhere else

Before you enter the subway, you need to pass through a security check – all bags go through an x-ray machine.

X-ray checking bags at the entrance to the Xi'an Metro
This security check is actually on the Xi’an Metro

Once inside, fare collection is automated.

Ticket gates at Beigongmen Station on Line 4 of the Beijing Subway

Ticket machines selling single-ride tickets and the Yikatong smartcard.

Single journey ticket machines on the Beijing Metro

For use at the ticket gates.

Ticket gates at Dongsishitiao station

Advertising can be found all over stations.

'Lancome' advertisements at Jianguomen station on the Beijing Subway

And even inside the tunnels.

Trains have longitudinal seating and multiple doors.

Onboard a Beijing Subway train on Line 4

To handle the crowds.

Crowded train on Line 2 of the Beijing Subway

And illuminated network maps to indicate where you currently are.

Illuminated network map onboard a Line 2 train on the Beijing Subway

So that’s the tour – with 27 lines in operation as of 2022, it’d take some time to explore it all!

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3 Responses to Exploring the Beijing Subway

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