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Beijing Subway

Beijing's expanding subway is the best way to get around the capital-if it goes where you're going. Currently Beijing has two subway lines and one light rail. The light rail is referred to as Line 13 which has led residents co wonder where the other 11 lines are, or where they will go once they're constructed. Line 13 will eventually carry visitors out to the site of the 2008 Olympics, well north of the city.

The Loop Line follows the Second Ring Road, which follows where Beijing's city walls once stood. For the visitor, the subway stops at places such as Jianguomen, the Beijing central business district; Yong He Gong, or the Lama Temple, once the second

most important Buddhist temple in China; the Beijing Railway Station, which connects to many cities in northern and southern China; and Qianmen, a historic district at the south end of Tiananmen Square.

The East-West Line connects the eastern and western extremes of the city, from Sihui East to Apple Garden (Pingguoyuan) in the west, near the Fragrant Hills. Along the way, it alights at helpful stops including the World Trade Center (Guo Mao); Jianguomen; Wangfujing, Beijing's best known shopping street; Tiananmen Square, on both the east and west sides of the square; and the Military Museum, which is about 300 meters north of Beijing West Railway Station, the capital's largest rail juncture.

These two lines join in two places: Jianguomen Station and Fuxingmen Station.

Passengers may switch between the lines at no additional cost. Signs in English indicate the direction to the other line and distinguish it from the exits.

Tickets are three yuan for any trip, with trains running every five minutes or so from 5.00 a.m. - 11.00 p.m. Platforms are simply bi-directional and station names are posted in both character form and pinyin on signposts affixed to pillars facing the tracks. Maps on the tunnel wall indicate the name of the next station down the line. Once aboard, announcements are made via a bilingual recording. Overall, the Beijing subway is one of the easiest to use in the world.

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