Time to top-out your public transport cards, all RMB 999 folks, Opening Day is upon us! The Shanghai metro system will soon be welcoming into the family “three lines and two segments,” as the opening as been nicknamed, consisting of new Lines 6/8/9, the 2nd northern extension of Line 1 and the final stretch of the Line 4 loop line. Thanks to “planning with Chinese characteristics” it is still unclear whether the first day of operation will remain on the original 28 of December, or be pushed back to December 29. Whenever it is, on that day Line 6 will begin shuttling Pudong’ers up and down their side of the river, Line 8 will bring civilization to the northern boonies we call Yangpu, Line 9 will make quarantining those rowdy university students out in Songjiang that much easier, Line 1 will become twice as crowded as it already is, and Line 4 will mess with our sense of direction by abandoning the concept of terminal stations.
(As for the date, rumor has it that certain city officials are unavailable on the 28th, but are looking for an opportunity to make a good impression after a certain “double-fish incident” involving a former Shanghai mayor and his son.)
For all the new stations and trains to be gracing the city soon, there will be a couple notable absences. First, Line 9 will not reach its final planned destination of Yishan Rd, where it would have connected with Lines 3 and 4. Due to delays in construction at the anticipated interchange (again, rumors, this time of unharmonious evictees) the line will only reach Guilin Rd, and buses are being prepared to shuttle passengers directly to Yishan Rd for a “seamless” interchange. Second, the planned Line 3/8 interchange at Hongkou Stadium has been put on hold until Cloud Nine Mall owner Tong Jinquan gets his act in order and finds more funding for his stalled Hongkou Cloud Nine project, through which the interchange was to take place. So when mapping out your December 28 (or 29!) maiden tour of the new metro lines, keep these absences in mind.
Regardless of the date, preparations are being made well in advance. ExploreShanghai has created a 2008 Shanghai Metro MapBeta with new fares and routes; UrbanRail.net has updated its Shanghai maps and line information, and of course the new Metro stations are busy putting up new signs, training staff, installing stores, and making test runs (since the 10th) in preparation for the big day.
Speaking of new signs, Shanghaiist reported last year on concerned city officials ordering all occurrences of “Century” in station names to be replaced with the pinyin “Shiji” This led to the fiasco of the then-new interchange between Lines 2 and 4 at Century Avenue having different English names on the two different platforms! As part of its move to standardize place names in the city, the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission Language Office has now asked the Metro company to switch all of its signs back to the original versions.The Language Commission has said that Chinese place names like Beijing, Wulumuqi (“Urumqi”) and Xizang (“Tibet”) would be spelled using Chinese pinyin, but that generic place names like Century Park could be translated back into the original English.
Watch out for a preview of the new signs from several of the new lines in a subsequent post!
Photo by vampirex.