Guangzhou Rail Transit Plan Includes 150 MPH Metro Lines

And track work begins on Istanbul's new airport metro line and more in this week's New Starts.

(Photo by Dan Nevill / CC BY-ND 2.0)

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Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.

Guangzhou Proposes Regional Network of Super-Fast Metro Lines

High-speed rail, meet rapid transit.

In a quest fo achieve an 80 percent share of the regional transport market, the Guangzhou municipal government is proposing a 15-year project that will dramatically expand both the extent and the speed of the world’s third-largest metro system.

According to a Railway Gazette International story, the plan calls for new lines in three categories: regular metro, “express metro” and “high-speed metro.”

Trains in that last system would run at speeds currently seen on only high-speed intercity trains at present: 250 km/h (155 mph). The plan includes three such lines, one of which would stretch 81.7 km (50.8 miles) from Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City station to Nansha, with seven stations; the other two lines would serve the Guangzhou airport and connect the city center with Conghua.

The proposed “express metro” lines will also run at speeds not yet seen on rapid transit lines: 160 km/h (99 mph). Work on the first two of these is already underway: Line 18, a nine-station line that will run 65.3 km (40.6 miles) from Guangzhou Dong Railway Station to Wanqingsha, and Line 22, a 31-km (19.3-mile), 10-station line running from Bai’etan to Wanqingsha.

When the proposed network is complete, travel times between cities in the Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Greater Macao Bay region will be no longer than 60 minutes.

Tracklaying Begins on New Istanbul Airport Line

Istanbul’s new airport, which opened last year, is designed to handle 200 million passengers a year. On Jan. 18, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, witnessed the welding in place of the first rail segment on the first metro line that will serve it.

Metro Report International reports that the line was supposed to have opened last November, but delays have pushed the opening to November 2021. Most of the work on the line’s structures is complete, including tunnels built using three different methods. The line’s nine stations are now being outfitted and communications and train control systems are being installed.

Work is being performed by a consortium of Kolin and Şenbay under a December 2016 contract valued at €999.8 million ($1.109 billion).

The airport will also be served by a second metro line that will connect to the Mamaray suburban rail line; work on that project began last September and will finish in 2022. Bids for construction of a third line, a mainline rail line running from Halkalı that will form part of an outer bypass of Istanbul, have yet to be solicited.

Rx for Overcrowded NYC Subway Stations: Reopen Closed Entrances

With New York City subway ridership on the rise again for the first time in four years, overcrowding on station platforms at times of high demand has become a serious problem. The New York Daily News reports that city Comptroller Scott Stringer is recommending a simple way to ease that overcrowding: reopen hundreds of closed subway station entrances.

In a Jan. 15 letter to MTA New York City Transit President Andy Byford, Stringer wrote, “As of 2015, NYC Transit reported that 298 street stairs were closed to the public at 119 unique stations. Many were shuttered in the 1970s, a period of dramatic decline for the city and the subway system. It is far past time to move beyond that era and invest in a more equitable and accessible transit system.”

Stringer asked Byford to provide detailed data on the closed entrances and a timetable for reopening them.

In response to the letter, MTA spokesperson Tim Minton said that the MTA would be willing to walk Stringer through the process by which it decides whether to open or close entrances. “The MTA makes decisions based on facts and data,” Minton told the Daily News. “We regularly monitor crowding and accessibility at all stations, making adjustments where necessary. As part of station upgrades, NYC Transit opened both previously used and new entrances in multiple boroughs during the last year.”

Know of a project that should be featured in this column? Send a Tweet with links to @MarketStEl using the hashtag #newstarts.

Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.

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Tags: new york citypublic transportationsubwayshigh-speed railchinaistanbul

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