What's all this? Colorful spaghetti from Saizeriya Italian Restaurant? （萨莉亚意大利餐厅） Actually I found it on the wall in the metro office at Gongyuanqian station. It's a map of Guangzhou subway, present and future. Blue represents lines open prior to 2010, red shows lines set to open in 2010, and green is lines under construction that will open in future years. Line 5 has already opened of course, that's the red line running through the center from left to right.
Guangzhou is opening so many new metro lines this year, it is mind boggling! Here are the changes we will see by the end of the year:
- line 5 opened in January, that's the red line running through the center of the city from left to right.
- line 4 will extend north two stations from Chebeinan to one of the Asian Games stadiums.
- line 3 will extend north to the airport. (for some reason, there will still be two line 3s. The current line 3 between Panyu Square and Tianhe Coach Terminal will remain. The new line 3 run between Tiyuxi Lu and Airport North.)
- The current L-shaped line 2 will be split into two lines. The portion between Wanshengwei and Xiaogang will be renamed line 8, and will be extend four stations to the west. The portion between Jiangnanxi and Sanyuanli will remain as line 2, and will be extended to the new South train station to the south, and will extend north to intersect with the line to the airport.
- The long-delayed GF (Guangzhou to Foshan) line will open from Xiliang at the west end of line 1, and going west thirteen stations into Foshan City (not shown on the map). It will be the first inter-city metro in China.
Of course, delays in opening metros are common in China. Projected opening dates are given and then pushed back repeatedly for years. This time I think the city is really committed to opening the line to the airport in time for the Asian Games this November. But if the GF line fails to materialize this year, nobody will be too shocked.
Besides what you can see on the map, Guangzhou Metro's long term planning calls for 19 lines by 2020. But with the current additions, Guangzhou's metro transit is now starting to take shape. It's beginning to look less like scattered lines and more like the interconnected spaghetti subway of a world class city. Even second tier cities in China are now busy constructing metros. Construction costs are still relatively low because labor is cheap and the cities are not yet fully developed. Chinese cities current wave of investment in metro systems is a wise choice. It means they will have the chance to be competitive as vital and efficient urban centers for decades.