REGULAR services began running on the Beijing metro eastern extension to Bawangfen with effect from June 24, completing an eight-year project costed at 7·5bn yuan. The line had originally been intended to open in 1996, but was delayed by funding problems. Test running began on the 10·7 km section between West Tian'anmen and Sihui on September 28 last year (RG 11.99 p692), but the planned opening in October was postponed by delays to the city centre link between Tian'anmen Square and Xidan.
The 13·5 km route along Chang'an Street forms an end-on extension to the existing Line 1 from Pingguoyuan to Xidan, creating a 38 km route from the western hills to the eastern suburbs. Interchange with the 16 km Line 2 ring is provided at Jianguomen, augmenting the existing interchange at Fuxingmen on the western side.
- Mid-June also saw the start of construction work on a 17·4 km elevated light rail line in the south-western city of Chongqing. With 17 stations, the line is expected to open in 2004.