The expat enclave of Shunyi won't be such an isolated suburb of Beijing anymore with a new light rail public transportation system expected to begin operation in 2019.

Construction has officially begun on the T2 light rail line that will provide commuter service right through the heart of Shunyi, connecting to the Beijing Metro Line 15 as well as straight to Beijing Capital International Airport.

As the first private/public partnership for Beijing public transportation, the streetcar line will stretch 19.8 kilometers from the Friendship Hospital (友谊医院站) in the north to Terminal 3 of Beijing Airport. Commuters on the T2 line will be able to switch to the Line 15 subway at Hualikan Station and the China International Exhibition Station.

The environmentally friendly train will run at a maximum of 70 kilometers per hour with all but 3 kilometers of its track laid side-by-side. T2 stations will be situated closer together than those of a subway line, and an average distance of 893 meters apart

The T2 line will also serve as a public transportation access point for suburban commuters by constructing a car park 10 hectares in size.

Shunyi will continue to facilitate Beijing's need for a transportation conduit with future plans to construct an additional 11 major road and seven rail construction projects that include the future T1 and T3 lines, combining for a total streetcar rail length of 65.2 kilometers.

READ: Beijing Subway Line 12 to Open in 2020, Promises Transfers of Under 100 Meters

Additional plans say streetcars may also be coming to other Beijing suburbs like Daxing and Fengtai.

In other public transportation news of special interest to expats, construction for the future subway station in Sanlitun is still on track, but remains years away from opening.

Workers' Stadium Station (工人体育场地铁站) will be an interchange station where Beijing Metro Line 17 and 3 will meet, but the first stage of Line 3 isn't expected to open until 2021; construction on six of Line 3's stations is expected to commence by year's end.

All the same, it shouldn't be too long before the east end of Beijing features a streetcar system much like its west end. Here are the 22 T2 stations that have been announced so far (listed from north to south):

  • Friendship Hospital Station (友谊医院站)
  • Diya Manor Station (迪亚庄园站) 
  • Qinggang Gardens Station (青岗花园站)
  • Dingshi School Station (鼎石学校站)
  • City Gardens Station (城市花园站)
  • Aviation Base Station (航空基地站)
  • Antai Boulevard Station (安泰大街站)
  • Jixiang Gardens Station (吉祥花园站)
  • Hualikan Station – Interchange with Beijing Metro Line 15 (花梨坎站)
  • China International Exhibition Station – Interchange with Beijing Metro Line 15 (国展站)
  • Tianzhu Gardens Station (天竺花园站)
  • Tianzhu Middle School Station (天竺中学站)
  • Public Square North Station (广场北站)
  • Public Square Center Station (广场中心站)
  • Xingfu Street Station (幸福街站)
  • Tianzhu Home Station (天竺家园站)
  • Tianhaiyuan Station (天海苑站)
  • Gangshan South Station (岗山南站) 
  • Gangshan Station (岗山站)
  • Sijing Road Station (四经路站)
  • Terminal 3 Station (Beijing Capital International Airport) (T3航站楼)
  • Terminal West Station (Beijing Capital International Airport) (航站楼西站)

More stories from this author here.

Twitter: @Sinopath 

Images: SinaSohu, Tracy Wang

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