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Beijing's largest traffic hub to start operation before Olympics
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Beijing's largest traffic hub, also the western terminus of the airport railway, is expected to start operation ahead of the Olympic Games, allowing passengers to go through boarding procedures downtown, said the construction manager.

Dongzhimen traffic hub, covering 78,000 square meters, is located on the northeast corner of the second ring road, one of several major roads that encircle downtown Beijing, according to an official of Beijing Dongzhimen Airport Express Rail Co., Ltd.

The key structure of the hub, the Dongzhimen air service building, has been completed and will open in July, before the Olympics, the official said.

Passengers bound for Beijing Capital International Airport can finish boarding procedures on the first basement floor and get on airport trains on the second basement floor, when the traffic hub becomes operational, said Huang Gang, deputy general manager of Beijing Capital International Airport Co., Ltd.

The airport railway, with four stops at Dongzhimen, Sanyuan Bridge and two terminals (T2 and T3) of the airport, has also been completed and will be in operation by July.

The rail line's top speed will be 110 kilometers per hour, making the journey from Dongzhimen to the airport in the northeast suburbs in only 16 minutes, compared with at least 30 minutes by taxi on an expressway.

The hub, serving as an interchange for subways, downtown and suburban buses, and the airport railway, is forecast to handle 54,000 passengers per hour at peak hours by 2012.

Beijing, with a population of 17 million, had 3.08 million registered motor vehicles as of August. It has taken several steps, including slashing bus fares and metro ticket prices and improving public transit infrastructure, to ease traffic and improve air quality ahead of the Olympics.

(Xinhua News Agency December 11, 2007)

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