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Eastern Block!
 
 
For Beijing expats arriving back from the Christmas and New Year break, even after just a couple of weeks out of town, the city had irrevocably changed.  The massive subway expansion at the end of December has in many ways altered the face of the city.
 
Starting with line 10, the important transport link through the CBD and the east of the city, which used to be a fairly relaxed journey,  passengers embarking at Jinsong on the end of the line were guaranteed a seat up through the popular expat area of Shuangjing , Guomao for the CBD, Tuanjiehu for nightlife in Sanlitun and up to Sanyuaqiao for the airport express.
 
Now it’s become one of the busiest lines on the whole network and at peak hours not all trains stop at some stations. It’s set to become a complete circle line within months when a final link between Shaujingmao and Xiju is completed.
 
The new line 6, which runs above Line 1 and parallel to it, is the compensation. Bail out from your packed carriage on line 10 at Hujialou to reach it. It’s eased congestion on the notoriously crowded line 1 and made many parts of the city much more accessible- including tourist spots such Nanluoguxiang and Houhai Lake. The zoo and the popular markets that surround it are also just a few stops away after a change to line 4 at Pinganli.
 
Meanwhile, Shunyi in the airport area, with its international schools and many overseas residents, has now opened up on line 15 but it’s a long trek!
 
Even regular subway travellers are still finding it difficult to absorb the changes to their daily journeys. An up to date map and considerable patience are now key requirements for any Beijing subway trip.
 
 
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