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Beijing Subway Lines--for The Visitor


jiejie
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Update--Field Test Runs

Line 10--very nice line and stations (air conditioned!!!) and extremely useful for both residents, regular tourists, and Olympic visitors. The transfer station to the Olympic spur line (8) is open, but the transfer area in the station is barricaded with police guards, so the spur access to the Olympic Green area is not open to the public at this time. I couldn't quite tell, but the area where you would transfer from Line 10 to Olympic line is quite large, and presumably that is where they could do security checks before allowing you past the turnstiles into the Spur Line, which would be the "sterile" area.

Airport Express--A godsend. I transferred from Line 10 subway line to the Airport Express at the station by the 3rd Ring road (not the terminus which is by the 2nd Ring Road). Signage is very clear inside the station, and once you exit the regular subway system turnstiles, you are right at the ticket purchase area and turnstiles for the Airport Express. Cost (one-way) is RMB 25, very fair in my opinion. Trains today were running every 15 minutes. Trains are running a pattern of City-Terminal 3-Terminal 2-return to City. So, if you are airport-bound to Terminal 2, you just stay on during the Terminal 3 stop. Ditto on the reverse if you get on at Terminal 3 bound for the City--you just remain on board during the brief stop at Terminal 2. Terminal 1 is not served by the Airport Express, but regularly scheduled commercial flights are no longer going there, so it probably won't be an issue for anyone. Shuttle buses (free) do connect between the various airport terminals.

The trains are railway-style with upholstered seats. There are overhead shelves for smaller bags and some luggage rack areas. Everything is airconditioned. Timing: From Sanyuanqiao City Station (3rd Ring Road) to T3--14 minutes (high speed). From T3 to T2--10 minutes (low speed). From T2 back to Sanyuanqiao--14 minutes. Add an additional 4 minutes from Sanyuanqiao to Dongzhimen Terminus (3rd to 2nd ring roads, and vice versa). Station stops are only about 5 minutes, a bit longer at T3 due to volume of people getting on and off, and much less at return to City at Sanyuanqiao, as many get off but nobody gets on. The Dongzhimen terminus station is still a work in progress, and is a bit of a maze to navigate right now. Not sure how much better this is going to get in the next couple of weeks, but they are working on it.

If you travel relatively lightly, rolling bag, carryon, maybe a laptop, etc. you should be fine taking the Airport Express. However, if you are the type that likes to travel with steamer trunk + large suitcase + 2 carryons + live poodle, I'd suggest the taxis. Airport Express is easy to find. Assuming you are coming into international arrivals area B, upon exiting baggage claim and customs, the large hall leading to the Airport Express concourse is immediately ahead of you. Taxis, Airport to City Shuttle Buses (RMB 16 to fixed destinations), and the interterminal free shuttle buses, are at level(s) below. Things are well-signed. Regular information booths and special Olympic information booths are also in the immediate arrivals area after you exit Customs and get through the waiting mob. There are piles of Olympic volunteers in official uniform manning stations at the Airport, and also at many of the major subway stations.

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