Time for something a little different from my usual Hong Kong content – a trip over to the ‘Mainland’ to tour the Beijing Subway.
The first section of the Beijing Subway opened in 1971, with 10 stations along 10.7 kilometres of tunnel.
The early parts of the network feature small boxy cut and cover tunnels.
With a rats nest of cables in the tunnel.
While the stations were Soviet style – island platforms flanked by columns.
Open to the tracks, without platform screen doors.
Murals facing waiting passengers.
Mezzanines looking down on the tracks.
And steps down to platform level.
In 1984 a second line opened, along with the first interchange station.
Steps linking the platforms to the transfer passageway.
These early subway lines are home of the oldest rollingstock, such as the DKZ4 trainsets from the 1990s.
But are being replaced by newer stock such as the DKZ16.
Where passengers can look through into the cab, and beyond into the tunnel.
In 2001 Beijing won the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics, accelerating plans to expand the Beijing Subway system.
With six lines in operation by 2008, all looking much the same.
With island platforms.
Platform screen doors.
And spacious concourses.
Further expansion from 2008 saw even more new lines open, expanding the network further.
Some new lines using elevated viaducts instead of tunnels.
And another line using double track bored 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.
Once inside, fare collection is automated.
Ticket machines selling single-ride tickets and the Yikatong smartcard.
For use at the ticket gates.
Advertising can be found all over stations.
And even inside the tunnels.
Trains have longitudinal seating and multiple doors.
To handle the crowds.
And illuminated network maps to indicate where you currently are.
So that’s the tour – with 27 lines in operation as of 2022, it’d take some time to explore it all!