CONSTRUCTION work has finally started on the first line of the long-planned metro for the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing. The 16·8 km Line 1 will run north-south across the city centre, and is costed at 5·4bn yuan.

Proposals for the metro were approved by the National Planning Commitee in mid-1994 (RG 9.94 p545), at which time full construction was expected to begin in 1997. However, at the end of 1995 the government imposed a planning freeze on all new metro projects because of their demand for substantial foreign exchange funding.

Linking Maigaoqiao, Xinjiekuo and Xiaohang, Line 1 will have 13 stations. Of these, 8 stations and 10·2 km of route will be underground and the rest on the surface. A trial excavation at Sanshanjie began in 1992, and the first underground station is now being built here. The section from the southern terminus at Xiaohang, where the depot will be located, to Sanshanjie, including an interchange to Chinese Railways at Zhonghuamen, is expected to be completed by the end of next year.