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Official: Urban light rail construction to begin in August

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Despite construction work having already begun, it is now official: Kunming will soon have its own urban light rail network.

The city's light rail system was approved by the State Council in Beijing on June 8th of this year and construction is formally set to begin in August, although China Railway Construction Construction signs have been surrounding construction sites around Kunming for the last several weeks and some work is already underway.

According to city planning officials, Kunming's light rail network will consist of a total of six lines made up of three main lines (lines one through three) and three auxiliary lines (four through six). The three main lines will combine to cover 62.6 kilometers, serving a total of 47 stations. All told, the six lines will cover 162.6 kilometers.

The first phase of construction, which will include lines one and two, is scheduled for completion at the end of 2012.

Here's a rough summary of the different lines:

One: will span 34 kilometers, connecting downtown Kunming with Chenggong new city

Two: will connect north and south Kunming.

Three: will connect east and west Kunming primarily via Dongfeng Lu and Renmin Lu

Four and Five: will serve as feeder lines for the main lines

Six: will connect Kunming's new airport, currently under construction, with the city

In addition to relieving pressure on Kunming's notoriously inefficient road network, the subway and elevated rail stations are expected to have a positive effect on nearby residential and commercial property values.

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