Here’s How the Beijing Subway Will Look in the Near Future

By Alistair Baker-Brian, March 8, 2022

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Getting around Beijing is going to become more convenient over the next few years as the city’s subway network continues to expand. 

The approximate total length of the Beijing Subway has already reached a whopping 780 kilometers. If laid out in a straight line directly north from Beijing, the total length would take you somewhere around the China-Mongolia border. 

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The Beijing Subway network as it currently stands. Image via Weibo/@北京交通广播

The expansion is part of a 15-year plan, namely the ‘Comprehensive Beijing Rail Transit Network Plan (2020-2035),’ as reported by Beijing Daily.

Below are 10 exciting new lines and extensions, construction of which is either already under way, or due to start during 2022 and 2023.

Read below to find out if any of the new lines will benefit you. 


M101 Line

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Screengrab via Baidu Maps with edits by That's/Alistair Baker-Brian

Running north-south through Beijing’s Tongzhou district, this is a brand new line which will run from Tongzhou’s Commerce Park in the north to Zhangjiawan East in the south. Construction on the line will begin in the third quarter of 2022, as reported by Beijing Radio and Television Station. 

Good news for Tongzhou residents. 

Line 6 South Section Extension

The existing east-west line runs from Jin’anqiao in Shijingshan district to Lucheng in Tongzhou district. The line provides a link to many key areas of Beijing including Nanluoguxiang Hutong, the CBD and elsewhere. 

By extending Line 6 further south from Lucheng, commuters will be able to travel further into Tongzhou district to Dongxiaoying South. 

Line 16 Extension

The existing line already runs from Bei’an He station in the far northwest of Haidian district to Yuyuantan Dongmen, the east gate of Yuyuantan park in Xicheng district. 

From Yuyuantan Dongmen, the line will be extended to Yuanping Cheng in southern Fengtai district. The terminus station is next to the Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. 

The line will include an interchange with Lize Business District on Line 14. The area, also located in Fengtai district, is Beijing’s newly developed financial business district. 

Changping Line South Section Extension

The existing line already serves suburban Changping district, running north-south from Changping Xishankou nearby Beijing’s Ming Tombs to Qinghe Railway Station in Haidian district.

The extension will take the line further south into Haidian district to Jimenqiao.

Line 3

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Screengrab via Baidu Maps with edits by That's/Alistair Baker-Brian

It’s been a long time coming, but Line 3 will be here soon!

The line will run from Dongsishitiao in Dongcheng district where commuters can interchange to Line 2. The line will run east and include key stations such as Gongti (Worker’s Stadium), Tuanjiehu, Chaoyang Park and Chaoyang Station, Beijing’s recently opened high-speed railway station. 

The terminus station will be Caogezhuang Bei in an area approximately 10 kilometers south of Beijing Capital International Airport. The line is good news for those living in the more suburban areas of Chaoyang district and want a quick route into the city center. 

Line 17 North Section Extension 

The existing south section of Line 17 already serves suburban areas of Daxing district, running southeast to northwest from Jiahuihu to Shilihe where commuters can change to Line 10 or Line 14. 

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The interchange to recently opened Line 17 at Shilihe station. Image via Alistair Baker-Brian/That's  

The central and north sections of the line will run through Dongdaqiao, a key station in the Beijing CBD, as well as Gongti (Worker’s Stadium). The terminus station of the line will be in Future Science City (Weilai Kejicheng Bei) in Changping district. 

The line is especially good news for commuters living in parts of Changping or Daxing district who need to get to the CBD.

Daxing Airport Express Line North Section Extension

Beijing’s Daxing International Airport, which opened in 2019, already has an Express Line which connects the airport with Caoqiao station, an interchange station with Line 10.

The new extension will take the line further north to Lize Business District. Who will benefit from this extension? Most likely those on a business trip to Beijing who land in Daxing Airport and need to get to Lize Business District ASAP. 

Line 28

As another new line connecting the CBD with a more residential area of the city, Line 28 will run from Dongdaqiao to Guangqu Dong Lu in Chaoyang district. 

Another piece of good news for those who commute regularly to the CBD. 

Line 22 (Pinggu Line)

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Screengrab via Baidu Maps with edits by That's/Alistair Baker-Brian

As another line beginning at Dongdaqiao, Line 22 will run all the way east to remote Pinggu district, marking Pinggu’s first connection with the Beijing Subway. 

The line will run through Tongzhou district, and even make stops in Sanhe city in neighboring Hebei province, before ending up in Pinggu. 

Pinggu might not be a Beijing hotspot, but perhaps you’d consider going there for some natural scenery and a break from the city center. 

Line 12

This line is similar to Line 3 in that it will connect more remote and suburban areas of Chaoyang district with more centrally located areas of Beijing. 

However, instead of heading to the CBD, Line 12 runs from Guanzhuang Xi Lukou (not far from the terminus of Line 3) through Sanyuan Qiao (interchange with Line 10 and Capital Airport Express Line) and out towards west Beijing’s Haidian district. 


40 Years in the Making

Having first opened to the public in 1971, the Beijing Subway is the oldest subway network on the Chinese mainland. 

With over 40 years of history, a lot of changes have occurred within the subway network in addition to mere expansion. 

One of the more recent changes noted by commuters was the addition of convenience stores within the subway stations. The last time this happened was in 2004. However, a policy change meant that stores had to close. 

Fast forward to July, 2021, and Beijing Subway convenience stores were up and running once again. Just remember that if you buy a sandwich, coffee etc., wait until you're outside to eat and drink so that you don’t break the Beijing Subway rules. Plus, it’s difficult to eat or drink while wearing a mask. 

READ MORE: Noticed a Change in Beijing Subway Stations Recently?

Aesthetically, certain subway stations are at the top of their game. In Yongdingmenwai station, an interchange between Line 8 and Line 14, commuters can take the time to admire the small but culturally rich Central Axis Art Museum; Yongdingmen marks the most southerly part of Beijing’s historic Central Axis.

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The Central Axis Art Museum in Yongdingmenwai station. Image via That's/Alistair Baker-Brian

The Beijing Subway captured the attention of YouTuber Iain Robertson who has a travel channel by the name of ‘For All Life’s Adventures.’ 

Originally from Scotland in the UK, Robertson has worked in the Chinese capital for five years. 

With international travel currently off the cards, Robertson decided to focus his channel on China and in a couple of recent videos, took the opportunity to explore the Beijing Subway network. 

“I think the subway system is easy to navigate, and the connectivity means that you can quickly get to all the key locations with minimum stress,” Robertson tells That’s.  

“The cost is exceptionally low compared to many other subway systems I have experienced. The cleanliness and the continuous drive to keep improving the quality of the experience give the feeling that there is real pride in the service within the people working for the Beijing Metro.”

“Probably the best in the world” is how Robertson describes the Beijing Subway in one of his videos. 

Robertson explores the Beijing Subway with the one and only Bruce Connelly, a photographer with more than 30 years of experience exploring China and a familiar name amongst That’s readers. 

In the video, Connelly talks about how far the Subway network has come – from the old stations of Line 1 and Line 2, which he says resemble the Moscow metro, to the Beijing Subway’s present-day “consumer-focused” network. 

READ MORE: Photos of Beijing Capture 34 Years of Change in China's Capital

That’s not to suggest that the network is perfect, of course. 

In December 2021, authorities implemented a trial of fast lanes which would supposedly allow commuters to enter stations more quickly during peak hours. 

Commuters were able to register using real-name authentication. 

Five stations were chosen for the trial, all of which were located in suburban Changping district – the idea being that the so called “fast lanes” would make the commute quicker for those travelling from suburban areas to the CBD or elsewhere for work. 

READ MORE: Are These 'Fast Lanes' the Future of Beijing Subway Stations

Beijing Daily reported that the lanes could cut down entry into the stations by around two minutes. However, some commuters sharing their experience on Weibo claimed that as many had not registered for the “fast lanes,” this caused longer lines in the regular lanes meaning it took longer to enter the stations. 

It’s not clear whether or not the lanes will be rolled out in other parts of the Beijing Subway. 

Nonetheless, for the most part, positives of the Beijing Subway largely outweigh any negatives – a network set to expand to even more areas of the city, relatively cheap commuting fares and convenience stores within the stations. 

After more than 40 years of history, it looks like the Beijing Subway still has a bright future. 


[Cover image via Alistair Baker-Brian/That's]

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