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Beijing Spends 4 Bln on Subway Upgrades
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The Beijing Municipal government has spent nearly 4 billion yuan (roughly US$526 million) to give two of its key metro lines a facelift prior to next summer's Olympics.

Work on No.1 and No.2 subway lines, which were built in the 1960s, is scheduled for completion next April, the Beijing Daily Messenger reported on Sunday.

The average waiting time will be reduced to about 2.5 minutes from where it stands currently at more than three minutes, to better cope with the increased passenger flow during the Games, the newspaper quoted sources with the Beijing Subway Co. as saying.

A total of 180 new, modern subway cars will replace old ones on both lines and an extra 84 new cars will be added to Line 2.

Trains pulling the new cars will be able to carry 400 more passengers than current trains. The new cars will also be wheelchair accessible.

"Sample vehicles will arrive in Beijing at the end of this month," he said.

Currently, Beijing has four lines totaling 114 kilometers, carrying 2.1 million passengers a day.

The city will have nine lines totaling 200 km by 2008, and 19 lines totaling 561.5 km by 2020.

(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2007)

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