CEREMONIES were held in two southern Chinese cities on December 28 to mark significant developments on their respective metro networks.

Guangzhou Metro celebrated the official completion of its 18·5 km Line 1, five years to the day since the start of construction. Linking Xilang with CR’s East station, Line 1 has cost 12·7bn yuan. As with the 5·4 km opened in June 1997, full operation will be preceded by a trial period with limited passenger services. These are due to start on February 16, with full operation from June 28.

Meanwhile, 100 km further south, officials in the booming city of Shenzhen held a groundbreaking ceremony on December 28 for its planned 14·8 km two-line network. Mayor Li Zibin participated in the celebrations at Futian, where a new business district covering 413ha will be developed west of the city centre. Close to the planned Huanggang border crossing on Hong Kong’s WestRail Phase II, Futian will be served by Shenzhen’s east-west metro Line 1.

Costed at 8bn yuan, the network will link Futian to Luohu in the east and Xiangmi Lake in the west. Planning has largely been completed, but a final go-ahead still awaits the easing of a moratorium on metro building imposed by the State Development & Planning Commission because of high foreign exchange borrowings. Shenzhen hopes to start construction of Line 1 in October, with opening envisaged in 2003.