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Beijing opens 3 new metro lines
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Beijing opened three new subway lines on Saturday morning to ease traffic during the Olympic Games.

A commuter walks past a Beijing Subway Map at a subway station in Beijing July 17, 2008.

An opening ceremony was held at Beitucheng Station, the transfer station of Line 10 and the Olympic Branch Line. Journalists and a limited number of local residents with intra-day tickets witnessed the scene. The other line opened was the Airport Line.

The three lines will begin carrying passengers from 2 p.m.

"Trains, staff, all kinds of materials and signal facilities are ready for passengers," said Jia Peng, spokesman of Beijing Subway Co. Ltd.

The new links, built at a total cost of 22.3 billion yuan (3.2 billion U.S. dollars), will increase the number of subway lines in the Chinese capital to eight and the total length of track to 200 kilometers from the current 142 km.

Trains would be running at an average interval of 3.5 minutes on Line 10, said Zhou Zhengyu, Beijing Municipal Committee of Communications deputy head.

Beijing traffic authorities were working on a subway line operation schedule for passengers shuttling between different Olympic venues, according to Zhou.

Beginning on Sunday vehicles with even and odd number plates will have to run on alternate days on Beijing's roads, and an additional 4 million people will resort to the public transport system.

The trains used for the new lines can carry 1,424 passengers each, or 344 more than those on other lines, said Zhou.

Jintai Xizhao station of Line 10

Jintai Xizhao station of Line 10. (File photo)

Beitucheng Station of Line 10

Beitucheng Station of Line 10. (File photo)

Guomao Station of Line 10

Guomao Station of Line 10. (File photo)

(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2008)

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