The economic boom in Shanghai, which has a population of around 19 million and growing (UN estimates 23.4 million by 2015), caused a surge in traffic that was beginning to overwhelm the transportation system by the end of the 1980s.

The city’s authorities, happy to seek advice from Western Europe and North America, decided in favour of a 40-year phased programme that would include 11 metro lines covering over 325km.

Five routes are already carrying more than 1.9 million passengers every day and with the opening of the northern extension to Line 3 in December 2006, that number continues to grow. A further six lines are due to be opened by 2009. The metro has slashed cross-city travel times from over an hour to a few minutes.

Further extensions are planned on all of the planned 11 basic routes to continue the reduction in journey times.

With the opening of Line 5, the operation of the system has been split between two companies, Shanghai Metro Operation Company and Shanghai Modern Rail Transit Company.

The project

After six years of construction and preparation work, Line 1 opened to considerable fanfares in April 1995, connecting the northern and southern districts of the city, and a 5.25km extension was added in 1996.

The early projects were delivered under a comprehensive contract between the corporation and its chosen consortium, Adtranz (now Bombardier) and Siemens.

The first phase of Line 2 was inaugurated in June 2000, and when completed it will link Hong Qiao International Airport and the new Pudong International Airport. The 25km Line 3, the Pearl Line, opened for revenue service in 2001.

Line 4 joined the network in January 2006 and will become a circular line in 2007. Part of Line 5 has opened and further extensions to the first set of routes are under construction together with Lines 6–11.

Infrastructure

Line 1, which has 16 stations, starts in the southern district at Xin Zhuang, and travels underneath the city centre to the central railway station, a total of 21.4km.

Following an extension, Line 2 is currently 19.2km long running from Zhongshan Park to Zhangjiang, an industrial zone. When finally complete, Line 2 will be 55km-long and stretch from Hong Qiao Airport, passing under a number of residential areas, public parks and the Huangpu River, to Pudong International Airport.

Line 3, the 19-station Pearl Line, also has the main station as its focal point, but loops northwards on elevation from Shanghai South station to Zhongshan Park and terminates at Jiangwan Zhen. Starting with 25km and 19 stations, the line was extended by 14km with the opening of the 10-station northern extension to Jiangyang. It will eventually be 62km in length.

Part of the future circular Line 4 has been opened, with part of the route overlapping with Line 3. The first exclusive tracks of Line 4 opened in 2006. Line 5 is also being built progressively with 17.2km already open.

Further lines under construction include the 28.8km Line 6 (due to open in 2007), the 35km Line 7 (2009), a 22.6km alignment for Line 8 (2007), the first and second phases of Line 9 totalling 61km (2009), the first phase of Line 10 and the first stretches of the main and branch lines of the 120km Line 11 (2009).

A construction contract was awarded to Faiveley Transport’s Chinese Subsidiary SFRT and CBRC to supply Saloon HVAC systems and Cab HVAC systems for Line 9.

The interiors of stations aim to make it easy for passengers to distinguish between lines. Hanging lamps and lattice flooring are constant themes but different styles of beams and columns, and individual styles of decoration have been adopted.

Power is fed from the city’s 110kV main supply, via two infeed stations, which feed seven sub-stations along the route.

Unusually for a metro system current collection is provided by overhead catenary supplied at 1,500V DC.

To help cope with passenger handling, platform safety doors were built for Line 4 onwards and a programme for retrofitting older lines is in place. Some stations are having more space allocated for passenger movement in a bid to cope with the intense demand on the service.

Rolling stock

Three major railway car manufacturers have contributed rolling stock for Shanghai Metro. Line 1 was initially operated by trains built by the German Shanghai Metro Group which included Adtranz (now Bombardier) and Siemens together with AEG Westinghouse and Düwag.

“To help cope with passenger handling, platform safety doors were built for Line 4 onwards and a programme for retro-fitting older lines is in place.”

Further orders have been placed with Bombardier, although the largest part of the fleet is from Alstom who have supplied 348 trains.

The fleet is broken down to include: 60 six-car Bombardier Movia 456 sets for Lines 1 and 5; 37 trains from the German Shanghai Metro Group for Lines 1 and 2; 28 Alstom built Megapolis six-car sets for Line 3; and a further 320 cars are being built by Alstom.

With the network continually expanding, Shanghai Metro is investing in new rolling stock. Line 9 is due to open in 2009 and in November 2006 an order for 51 Movia trains (306 cars in total) was placed with Bombardier Transportation.

The order is worth €257m split between Bombardier and China-based Changchun Bombardier Railway Vehicles Co Ltd (CBRC). The fleet is due to be delivered from the second quarter of 2008 with completion in 2009.

Hard on the heels of a February 2007 contract for 500 freight locomotives for China, in May 2007 Bombardier announced another order for 192 MOVIA metro cars (32 six-car trains) for use on Line 7. The contract, valued at approximately €150m ($204m), was awarded to Bombardier Transportation together with CBRC and Bombardier CPC Propulsion System Co Ltd, with a 2009 completion date. Assembly is by CBRC at Changchun.

Signalling and communications

Signalling installations are being provided by Alstom under the comprehensive contract it has been awarded for the development and construction of Line 3.

The motor car of each train has equipment which can detect and monitor faults, and pass on such information to the driver. The diagnostic signals are also stored so that these faults can be easily pinpointed when a train returns to the maintenance depot.

Plasma screens on platforms show passengers when the next two trains are coming. Platform screens indicate trains due and on-board screens provide next stop information, supplemented by announcements in Mandarin and English.

The future

An ambitious plan adopted by the Shanghai Metro Corporation for 2025 envisages a comprehensive network of 11 lines over 325km, supported by seven light rail routes (136km).

Line 1 is being further extended from the current terminal at Shanghai railway station to Baoshan district in the northern part of the city. The Pearl Line will link Minghang District in the southwest and Baoshan in the north.

Six lines are under construction and further phases will see the network develop to its planned potential over the next two decades completing the Shanghai Metro Corporation’s 40-year development plan.

To bring consistency and greater meaning to line designations, a new naming system is under consideration for when the current round of construction is complete. The new line numbers will feature an identifying letter to indicate the type of service.