Phase I of Chengdu Metro's new Line 3 in China has entered revenue service, with the launch of a panda-themed train.

The 20km phase includes 17 stations and runs from General Hospital of Chengdu Military Region to Taipingyuan, diagonally connecting Northeast Chengdu with Southwest Chengdu.

Line 3 is currently being built in three phases, amounting to a 50.4km track with 37 stations.

A total of 432 metro cars will be circulated on the line and of these, 144 will be operated on the phase I. The remainder 288 will run on phases II and III, which are expected to begin trial runs in 2018.

Carriages of the panda-themed train have handles shaped like panda heads, poles painted to resemble bamboo and bear footprints on the floor, according to media sources.

Alstom is providing its metro traction system OptONIX for all the three phases through its local joint venture Shanghai Alstom Transport Electrical Equipment SATEE in China.

"Line 3 is currently being built in three phases, amounting to a 50.4km track with 37 stations."

Tailored for the Chinese market, the high-performance, high-reliability OptONIX traction system is expected to improve operational performance, while reducing life cycle cost.

Alstom's China & East Asia managing director Ling Fang said: “We are pleased of the opening of the Chengdu metro line I. This will significantly shorten the commuting time of passengers through a transport solution that is reliable, efficient and environmentally friendly. 

“With the objective of developing greener transport solutions, Chengdu can rely on Alstom’s urban mobility solutions and its partnership through its valuable local JV SATEE, to achieve this goal.”

To date, Alstom has supplied traction solutions for 18 metro lines in eight cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Qingdao and Hong Kong.

Image: 144 metro cars equipped with Alstom’s traction systems will circulate on Phase I of Chengdu Metro's new Line 3. Photo: courtesy of ALSTOM.