ON MARCH 19 Beijing Metro Operations Co launched a joint venture with Beijing Metro Car Plant, Changchun Rail Passenger Cars and Zhuzhou Times Electric Group to develop a range of metro cars using indigenous Chinese technology.

The cars, which will feature AC drives, air-conditioning and passenger information systems, will cost an estimated 5m yuan each. Construction of an initial four vehicles will begin at the end of this year, and the joint venture partners hope that the prototypes will lead to an order to build the next generation of metro cars for Beijing.