CEREMONIES were held in Shanghai on December 26 to mark the the start of revenue services on metro Line 3. The 25 km route, known as the Pearl line, runs around the western side of the city centre, connecting Jiang Wan Zhen in the northeast with the main station and the southwestern suburb of Cao He Jing.

The line includes 13 km of elevated route, with 16 of the 19 stations above ground. Interchanges are provided with Line 1 at the main station and Xin Long Hua, and with Line 2 at Zhong Shan Park.

Line 3 is intended to be worked by a fleet of 28 Alstom Metropolis six-car EMUs, but the first of these are not expected to arrive until November. Two will be built in France and the rest assembled locally by February 2004. To run the initial service, 10 trainsets have been borrowed from Line 1. Trains began running at half-hourly intervals, increasing to four per hour from January 21; a further increase is planned in August.

Construction is now well under way on the initial metro line in the neighbouring city of Nanjing, with the Xiaohang - Xinjiekuo section expected to open in 2003 and the whole line from Zhangfuyuan to Sahshanjie is to be completed by 2005 at a cost of 7bn yuan. Nanjing municipality has now announced plans for a 15 km Line 3 linking Jiangxinzhou and Xianhomen via Hanzhongxilu, Xinjiekuo, Zhongshandenglu and Xiaolingwei.

December 18 saw the start of work on an 18·9 km elevated light metro line in Beijing, linking the eastern suburb of Tongzhou to the metro terminus at Bawangfen; it is due to be finished in 2002.

The Chinese government has also approved the start of work on an initial 10·1 km light rail line in Wuhan, authorising a 200m yuan bond issue towards the 2bn yuan capital cost. With 10 stations, the elevated line due to open in 2005 will be worked by a fleet of 52 cars.