Shenzhen/Guangzhou: Welcome to Metroland!

A few months ago in Shenzhen, the new city to airport Line 11 was opened. Not long after that lines 7 and 9 followed. Meanwhile Guangzhou’s own metro opened Line 7 and an expansion of 6 but sadly as yet no 9 which would be useful as it will link Huadu with the ever mysterious Guangzhou North mainline station (which not many are aware of) and with one change – Baiyun airport (even though it is in Huadu).

So let’s take a look. Over to Shenzhen first, Line 11 links Futian (in all but name Shenzhen Central) with the airport travelling via Houhai and Nanshan after which it comes up for air – one of the few lines in Shenzhen to have an elevated section through Bao’an. It’s back underground for the airport stop from which it travels further north to Bitou. The systems in Shenzhen and Guangzhou now travel so far north and south respectively they almost connect (if not for the pearl river estuary).

The only thing to be weary of with Line 11 is the addition of business class seats much like the Hong Kong line from Luhou into Kowloon which yours truly got stung on by an over zealous employee desperate to make his mark (when it was pretty pointless and obvious I wasn’t a local unsuspecting of such a thing on a metro train!). In Shenzhen it’s a little better in that the business class is bright yellow and not hard to miss, unlike HK. The other thing is that trains are only running at a 10 minute interval but this will change in time.

Shenzhen Line 7 links Xili Lake via the until recently sleepy idyll of Antuo Hill with Chegongmiao (which equally had only one line but now has 4 traversing through it), Fumin (near Futian Checkpoint) and then shifts northward then east connecting Tianbei on the blue line (3) with Tai’an on the purple line (5). Quite a way then.

Likewise Line 9 snakes its way from Wenbin (east of Luohu) through Hongling, Chegongmiao across the bay to Hongshuwan South (halfway to Houhai). Eventually this line will continue west connecting the southern reaches of both Hi-Tech Park and the University to Book City whereafter it will split into two branches; one south to Sea World and the other looping up in a northwesterly direction to reach Qianwan. Phew, these are both lengthy jaunts when you take into consideration the, shall we say, less than comfy silver seats.

In Guangzhou Line 7 serves as a sneaky run for students and possibly professors from the Higher Education Mega-Centre (South) to Guangzhou South. And as always the Chinese can’t wait to show you the new map which is displayed in stations days BEFORE the new lines are operational. Aside these oriental quirks it does offer a slight in good fortune to those of us based on Line 3 as it means we can do away with the stretch west on Line 8 to connect onto the dark blue Line 2 – hitherto the only one servicing south station. Still there? Confused? Well hang on, there’s one more to inform you about. Line 6 now expands east beyond Tianhe Coach Station and Changban to Xiangxue. Pity that the only stop of interest to me is Botanical Garden which in keeping with Chinese anomalies isn’t finished yet.

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