After 60 years of preparation and discussion, construction finally began on Line 3 of the Beijing subway on April 20. The line will fully open to traffic in 2020 and run across the districts of Dongcheng and Chaoyang from Dongsishitiao to Caogezhuang.
Many of the stations within that stretch, such as Xizhimen Station, were partially completed when the second phase of the Beijing Subway Project began 40 years ago.
From 1957 to 2015, the Beijing Subway went through 10 phases of development. The earliest plan was drafted by Russian experts in 1957 using many older location names.
Subway Line 3 first appeared on the 1957 map, running from north to south and passing through Deshengmen. Since then, the proposed route of Subway Line 3 has been repeatedly adjusted, with one version sending Line 3 to the Fragrant Hill in 1983, and then another to Wangjing in 1993.
In the 1990s, Subway Line 3 returned to the agenda under the name “Xiyi Line.” The report said Line 3 would break ground in 1995 and be finished in 2000. But Document No. 222 from the Planning Department sidelined that, favoring an express line connecting Xizhimen, Huilongguan and Dongzhimen – known as Line 13 today.
Wanxuehong, vice president of the Beijing Urban Planning and Design Institute, said lines are built according to the development plan of a city and not the actual transportation needs of existing people.
The Beijing Subway had developed rapidly in design, construction and operation during the last 60 years. Initially, Line 3 was absorbed into the 6B subway.
Subway management has stated that the plan for line Line 3 is finalized, and it will be an automatic line that runs without the aid of a driver.