A train carries out a test run on Beijing Subway's Yanfang Line on Dec 15. The driverless subway will be put into operation on Saturday. (Wei Tong/For China Daily)
Beijing will further expand its subway system with the opening of three new lines on Saturday.
The two high-tech lines and one conventional tram will bring the number of lines in the capital to 22, covering a total of 608 kilometers, the Beijing Commission of Transport said.
The 10.2-km S1 Line will be Beijing's first mid-to low-speed Maglev line, and has a top speed of 100 km/h. It will link the city's western districts of Mentougou and Shijingshan, and passengers can ride the entire line in less than 20 minutes.
Maglev trains rely on electromagnetic forces that elevate carriages about 1 centimeter above the tracks, considerably reducing friction and providing a smooth ride.
The 16.6-km Yanfang Line is the Chinese mainland's first domestically made driverless subway. It has a seating capacity of 960 and a top speed of 80 km/h.
The line connects Beijing's southwestern Yanshan and Fangshan areas, aiming to facilitate development.
Beijing's first modern tram, which will operate in Haidian district on the city's west side, will also welcome passengers on Saturday.
Known as the Xijiao Line, it will be popular for sightseeing because it passes eight attractions, including the Summer Palace, Beijing Botanical Garden and Fragrant Hills Park. It runs mainly at ground level, but may rise or go underground as the road system requires.
"In addition to the increase of lines, we will also raise the comfort level of railways," said Zhou Zhengyu, director of the commission.
"For instance, we plan to add two business class carriages to Line 19, which can ensure a seat for each passenger."