Chengdu’s New & Improved Metro: Its History, Present and Ambitious Future

Chengdu’s New & Improved Metro: Its History, Present and Ambitious Future
By Trey Archer ,

Now that Line 2 of Chengdu’s Metro has officially opened, some of the far reached suburbs in the outskirts and other famous local/tourist destinations are finally interconnected, making it easier for daily commuters, locals and visitors alike to navigate the city. While Line 2 is a great leap forward for Sichuan’s provincial capital, it’s important to note that it’s just a single component of the massive public transportation project currently underway. To commemorate the opening of Line 2, we take a look at the short history, shining present and ambitious future plans of the Chengdu Metro.

Beginning stages of Chengdu’s metro project

After years of meticulous research and careful planning, construction crews broke ground in December 2005, beginning the colossal 30-year Chengdu Metro project. Five years later on September 27th, 2010, Line 1 of the rail system opened to the public making Chengdu one of eight Mainland cities (and the only one in western China) to have a subway. Costing more than 7 billion RMB, Line 1 stretches from the tranquil shores of Shengxian Lake (升仙湖) in the north through the bustling city center at Tianfu Square (天府广场) all the way down to the booming Century City (世纪城) in the south.  Some of the other 16 stops include the North Railway Station (火车北站), South Railway Station (火车南站), the ancient Wenshu Monastery (文殊院), the industrial High-Tech Zone (高新), Sichuan Olympic Stadium (省体育馆) and the popular expat neighborhood of Tongzilin (桐梓林).

The metro has completely changed (and will continue to change) the layout and development of Chengdu. Prior to its opening, the areas outside of the Second and Third Ring Roads were sparsely populated and underdeveloped. But with greater access to the city center, real estate companies and developers are now jumping at the chance to build up the outskirts, resulting in a boom of outward expansion and urbanization. But with such growth, Chengdu must continue pushing forward the development of the other metro lines to alleviate the mounting traffic jams and other transportation problems that derived from such urbanization.

Chengdu Metro Line 2 opens

On September 16th, 2012, the Chengdu Metro Limited Liability Company officially opened the second line of the city’s subway system. With 20 stations, Line 2 runs from Chadianzi Bus Terminal Station (茶点子客运站) in the northwest through the center at Tianfu Square (天府广场)—where passengers can transfer to Line 1—and ends at the Chengdu Institution of Administration (成都性政学院) in the far southeast. This line also links popular destinations like the famous People’s Park (人民公园), top tier shopping at Chunxi Road (春熙路), the newly opened East Chengdu Railway Station (火车东站), the always wild Jiu Yan Qiao Bar Street (九眼桥酒吧街) via nearby Dongmen Bridge Station (东门大桥) and the many great Sichuan restaurants and tea houses at Yi Pin Tian Xia (一品天下). And at the time of this writing, six additional Line 2 stops in Pixian County and the Jinniu District in the northwest corner of the city were still under construction, set to be completed by 2015.

Line 2 follows the exact same set of safety precautions, time schedules and passenger fares as Line 1. All stations are equipped with airport-style security screening with X-ray machines for carry-on baggage, metal detectors and guards. Trains are in operation from 06:30-23:00 daily and travel at an average speed of 35 km/h (reaching a top speed of 80 km/h between stops). Fares cost 2-5 RMB depending on distance traveled. Tickets can be purchased from tellers and automated machines inside each station (complete with English and Chinese translations). The Tianfu Tong public transportation card, which can be used in all of Chengdu’s transportation facilities, is accepted as well. And for extra comfort, each subway carriage is equipped with air-conditioners, flat screen TV’s and marked seating for the disabled. Thus far, Line 1 and 2 certainly rival the class and technology of any other metro system worldwide.

Plans for future expansion

For the residents and visitors of the Panda City, the best is still to come. Lines 3 and 4 are scheduled to open in 2015, at which point Chengdu will have over 100 km of rail and over 80 stations located throughout the city. Following the completion of “Phase 1” that year, Chengdu is expected to enter “Phase 2” of the immense public works project. When the entire metro system is completed in 2035, there will be a total of seven lines, hundreds of stations scattered throughout the city and a ring route circling and connecting each line together.

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Keywords: Chengdu metro project Chengdu metro line 2 open


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I am very eager to see line 3 and 4. When I was in Chengdu last year I drove to the last station of line 1 (after ocean park). It's fun to test these routes. Hopefully they will soon build the metro to the airport, this would be very very useful.

Jan 08, 2016 03:03 Report Abuse