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Kunming announces plans for urban rail network

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Its streets increasingly choked with traffic, its buses full and urban sprawl pushing development southward, Kunming is preparing to start construction on its first urban rail line, perhaps before the end of the year, according to local media reports citing Kunming Municipal Traffic Research Institute Director Lin Wei.

According to Lin, the Kunming Municipal High-Speed Rail Transportation Network Plan has already been completed. The plan includes a total of six high-speed rail lines covering a total of 162 kilometers (100 miles).

Pending governmental approval, it is hoped that phase one of the project will begin before the end of this year. The first phase of the network, Line 1, will connect downtown Kunming with the university campuses in the south of Chenggong, a county that is technically part of Kunming Municipality.

Shortly after approval is obtained and construction begins on Line 1, work is expected to begin on Line 2, which will connect Kunming's northern suburbs with the northern shore of Dianchi Lake. The two areas boast some of the city's highest concentrations of wealth with the north shore of Dianchi to become more economically dynamic via developer Shui On Land's Caohai Urban North Shore project, which is expected to cover 87 hectares and feature commercial and residential space as well as museums, theaters, an amphitheater and an "artist's community".

Other proposed lines include:

Line 3: Ma Jie (west Kunming) to Liangmian Temple (east Kunming)

Line 4: High-tech Park (northwest Kunming) through downtown Kunming and Kunming ETDZ to Chenggong New Area Bailongtan

Line 5: World Horticultural Expo Gardens (northeastern Kunming) through downtown Kunming to Dianchi Holiday Area (southwestern Kunming)

Line 6: Downtown Kunming to New Airport

Construction of Line 1 is expected to cost as much as 32 billion yuan (US$4.5 billion), with each kilometer of above-ground light rail costing around 250 million yuan and each kilometer of underground subway expected to cost between 400 million and 800 million yuan. According to Lin Wei, all rail lines within Erhuan Lu – Kunming's second ring road – will be underground.

No time schedules were provided for completion of the lines and no companies were mentioned with regards to supplying or building the network.

Shanghai subway image: New York Times

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Does anyone know if construction on the subway system has actually started or not? If so where?

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