Above photos courtesy
Allen Zagel

Metro, heritage tram,  maglev

Beijing's subway serves this 10 million population capital (oops, my mistake - capitol) with fifteen lines totaling 527 km and 234 stations. It is the longest subway on the planet.

The system is expanding faster than an intestine full of week old crab rangoon. Many,
many more lines are on the way. Eighteen new lines totaling 408 kilometers are either planned or under construction. By 2015, the system will have over 568 km of track length. Four new lines are expected to open in 2012. The lines are certified by the government to be safe from nuclear and poison gas attacks, but to be certain, a few extra nukes they have lying around along with several canisters of poison gas will be dropped on the new lines on opening day.

Line 1 opened in 1969. It serves the western suburbs and is also known as the Fu Ba Line. Until 1980, the line was forbidden to all but Chinese. And speaking of forbidden, the line runs right underneath the forbidden city, but you aren't allowed to go there either. You can, however, get out at Tiananmen Square, but don't forget to bring your tear gas and protective eyewear.

Line two, opened in 1971, is a 23.1 km, 18 statiom city circle line which runs beneath Beijing's second ring road. It's stops carry the names of the ancient city gates, some of which still stand.

Line 13 , referred to as "City Rail" or "Airport Railway", opened in 2002. It runs for 40.9 km, of which 3.7 km are in subway. Fifteen of its 16 stations are on the planet's surface.

The 18.9 km, 13 station
Batong Line (go ahead, say it. Its fun to say) opened in 2003. Also known as the Pearl Line, it is completely elevated and runs in part in the median of the Beiging Tongzhou Expressway. Having a multiple personality, it is also known as Line 8T, yet has no relation to Line 8. In bedrooms and behind other closed doors in the PRC, it is referred to as a wannabe, or sometimes, "the Pearl Necklace". It is also referred to as a light rail line as opposed to a subway since it is primarily above ground. Given the types of rolling stock, the distances between stations and frequencies, it would be considered a "surface metro" by most urban rail students in the west.

In 2004, three of the Pearl Line's stations
were closed because the ground was sinking.

In 2008, we saw the openings of three new lines: Line 8-i (4 stations and 4.5 km, the Olympic Village branch of Line 8),
Line 10 (also known as the Olympic Line, 24,7 km and 22 stations, all underground), and the mighty Airport Express, which has nothing to do with Line 13, the Airport Railway.  Also in 2008 was the opening of the first line of Bejing's  suburban rail network.

Line 13

In December 2010, Beijing added a whopping 100 km and four new lines. December 2011 added the new Line 9, plus extensions to Lines 8, 15 and the
Fangshan Line The system is world class and on a tear.

According to
Beijing Scene, "it is an open secret that there are subway lines under the city utilized only by the armed forces"

Beijing Metro Unofficial Home Page
Suburban Railway on Wikipedia
Bejing metro page (in Chinese only)
A Map
Allen Zagel's
China By Rail - great images of the Beijng subway
of light rail station under construction
Light rail proposal for Beijing from clearthinking.com
Beijing metro feature
from the Discovery Channel
Line 14 opens (2014, Railway Gazette)

In January 2011, Beijing opened a 10 km test route of Maglev Light Rail Line S1. As you may know, the Eastern definition of light rail is an above ground metro. Beijing lines designated with an "S" are part of the

Despite it's small size, the Beijing's light rail maglev is expected to be .popular with dwarves and ordinary-sized citizens alike.

Line 4

Line 4 cab

Awesome Architecture

Line 14

Never one to outdo itself, Beijing was said to be building a 115 mile long 3D Bus, a tracked bus designed to go over cars.  The mutated BRT-car ferry line turned out to be a hoax.

A heritage trolley replica runs along Quianmen Street in Beijing

Subway ride