JANUARY 28 saw the start of full operation on Beijing's City Rail light metro line, following four months of partial services. Trains had begun running on the western portion of the 40·6 km horseshoe route at the end of September (RG 10.02 p609). The line has cost 6·57bn yuan to build over the past three years. Full services were introduced to coincide with the Chinese new year.

Connecting with the existing metro at Xizhimen and Dongzhimen, what is now designated as Line 13 serves the Zhongguancun high-tech industry zone, Tsinghua University, and several large housing estates north of the capital. There are 16 stations. The three-car trains now operate at 10 to 15 min intervals, running at an average speed of 44 km/h to give an end-to-end journey time of 56min.

As part of the preparations for Bejiing to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the city has put forward proposals to build eight more urban rail routes totalling 154·5 km. These include a 22 km airport rail link from Dongzhimen and the 27·6 kmLine 5 from Songjiazhuang to North Taipingzhuang, on which development work is already under way. The other schemes are: