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Qingdao Tram


Qingdao (Tsingtao), a city in eastern Shandong province, has some 2.7 million inhabitants.

Construction of a 25 km subway line (M3) with 22 stations started in June 2009. The first section opened in Dec 2015. Meanwhile, a second line has been added.


 Line 2

10 Dec 2017: Zhiquanlu - Licun Gongyuan (21.2 km)


Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro


 Line 3

16 Dec 2015: Qingdao Beizhan (North Railway Station) - Shuangshan (12 km)
18 Dec 2016: Shuangshan - Qingdao Zhan (Qingdao Railway Station) (12.8 km)


Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro


 Line 11

Suburban metro line (previously referred to as R1) - Miaoling Road - Aoshan Bay (58 km, 22 stations)

23 April 2018: Miaoling Road - Qiangu Mountain (54.6 km)


Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro



The city plans to build eight lines by 2050 with a total length of 231.5 km.



Qingdao Metro (Official Site)

Qingdao Metro at Wikipedia



Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Qingdao Metro Map


In May 2018, Craig Moore reports from Qingdao:

A German colony in the late 19th Century, Qingdao is famed as the home of the Tsingtao Brewery (Tsingtao is the Romanised name for Qingdao, which lasted until the 1990s). Urban rail, however, came quite late to this coastal city with the first service (Line 3) opening prior to Christmas 2015 as a 12km ‘half line’. Then, the line served only the north of the city with low patronage rates and 9min headways, but, as with many cities in China, the intervening period has brought significant expansion as well as some useful service enhancements. Today, the Qingdao Metro Corporation operates a three-line network of 99.4km (revenue km) (all third rail powered). In length, this puts the system up there with (ironically) Hamburg and Munich, however, as is the trend in several Chinese systems today, a significant part of the network is of suburban metro type and not fully urban.

The Network
Line 2 opened in late 2017 and is fully underground at 20.3km with 18 stations. It runs through the new CBD area (located to the east of the old town) and eastward along the coast before turning northwest after Shilaoren through the eastern suburbs to Licun Park. Services run from 0600-2230 with 5min peak headways lessening to 7/8min frequencies during the day and the journey takes 38mins. Street entrances and totem are dark green and have quite a unique, 19th century ornate style (Harbin has taken a similar approach), but the ‘heritage’ feel disappears once below ground in the ticket hall. These are constructed to the Chinese standard with ticket machines, security, barriers in the middle and ends, customer service office and central access points to platforms. Some stations have art works along the side walls and there are some differing ceiling designs (Fushansoa, Yanerdao and Hayou are good examples), but in the main there is little differentiation to the tried and tested station model. This approach also occurs at platform level where the island platforms are typical, being bordered by full screens crowned with strip map, and offering RTI, station information boards (see below), seating and solid wayfinding.

This line offers transfer to Line 3 at Wusi Guangchang (May 4th Square) and Licun. At the former, there is cross-platform transfer (west/west and east/east) with the two pairs of lines running parallel, separated by a central wall and lying beneath a broad ticket hall (transfer passengers have to travel up to the ticket hall and cross to opposite stairs to travel down to the other platform if an alternate direction is required). Licun, is a ‘V’ shaped station with Line 3 lying below Line 2 and transfer across a large space above the platforms is required. At Miaoling Road there is a simple transfer to Line 11 with the new westbound line lying perpendicular and below Line 3 platforms.

The stock is CRRC B type stock made up of six cars. The exterior is metallic with a yellow and orange side stripe which fragments to form various patters at the ends of the trains. There is a smart frontage with lights surrounding the large front window. The interior has dynamic strip maps, red and white lateral seating and dark wood veneer panelling at carriage ends. The lighting is also different, being made up of elongated ‘Os’ rather than long strips along the side of the carriage ceiling. This all makes for a dimmer feel than is the norm on China’s brightly lit metro trains.

The original line (Line 3) opened in two stages at the end of 2015 and 2016 and now connects Qingdao North Railway Station (CRH) and Qingdao Railway Station, taking a more direct route north than the more circuitous Line 2. The underground line is the busiest on the network and serves the old town before heading north under Nanjing Road to Licun and then running west to the massive Qingdaobei High Speed Station. Services run from 0600-2230 with identical service levels to Line 2. The 24.7km journey takes 46mins and includes 22 stations. Stations have smart glass entrances and they follow the basic model with only occasional evidence of station individuality. White and pale grey tiling is predominant throughout and platforms are all island type with the exception of the North Station which has side platforms (separated by a central wall between the tracks). This station is huge, lying underneath the rail station with 4 entrances converging in a huge underground piazza with numerous entrance and exit points.

CSR 6-car B type stock is used with white interiors and light-blue side seating, basic strip map and a more worn feel. The exterior has quite a bold livery with a broad dark turquoise band encasing the windows with a narrow orange band below. This line, like Line 2 is ‘heavy’ with advertising …. on platforms, entrance level and on trains.

Line 11 has barrierfree interchange with Line 2 and is a fully paid up member of the QMC family, but it does offer a different type of service. The 54.4km line runs between Laoshan and Jimo Districts but only the first 9 or 10km of the line can be described as urban. From leaving Miaoling Road the service has 4.6km of underground running (4 stations) before rising to an elevated structure just south of Zhangcun. From here the line soon begins to meander through hills, running alongside the Binhai highway as it heads northeast. Here Line 11 offers a distinctly semi-rural outlook as it passes various settlements/industrial areas in the Qingdao Oceantec Valley, such as International Expo, International Horticultural Expo, Ocean University of China and Qingdao University of Science and Technology. The entire line has only 21 stations and some of the distances between them are lengthy (5km to 6km- especially around Miaoshi) and so line speeds are good.

Being the terminus within the city, Miaoling Road is the busiest on the line but is small and cramped with narrow single platforms. The other underground stations are island type, and uninspiring, with many pillars, and a cluttered feel. The above-ground stations are smart, however, and have side platforms and half screens, with usual furnishings, and a lovely light wood bowed roof. The platforms also house glass-panelled ‘air conditioned waiting rooms’ which is a nice touch.

The line is surprisingly busy quite a way into the route and it operates 8 min headways from 0630-2130 - the trip takes around 1 hour. The 4-car sets of CRRC B type have streamlined frontages and are metallic with a blue stripe above the windows. The interior has identical lighting style to Line 3 stock but seating is a mix of lateral and paired, located opposite each other in a staggered fashion through the carriage. Again the dark wood veneer is in evidence at carriage ends.

Using the system
This is a simple system to use. Machines are easy to operate and dispense a card-type ticket (distance based fares 2-8 Yuan). Staff are charming and readily seek hard-copy information if none is available (only a few stations have hard-copy information). Entrance levels have useful route, location and station information and at platform level this is improved further. Here, at least 2 large back-lit information units are offered providing a schematic (which includes Line 13 across the bay), location information and detailed station map. These are very comprehensive and are complimented by the excellent wayfinding, easy transfer signage and plentiful on-train schematics (current operations only). All information (printed/audio/electronic) is bi-lingual. The audio uses particularly clear English and apart from the usual arrival and transfer information, it also advises alighting passengers to be aware of the height difference between train and platform (about 5cm). This is announced at most stations and I’m not sure how this situation arose – a calculation error somewhere?

The Qingdao metro is not a bad system. It is clean, speedy, cheap, easy to use, has good coverage and useful frequencies…but such is the boldness of Chinese Metro infrastructure now that any orthodox expansion seems a little underwhelming. And that is the case here. It is perfectly fine and does a good job but it doesn’t appear to have challenged itself like other systems have and there is nothing that surprises or excites for such recent openings.



2018 © C. Moore


2009 © Robert Schwandl (UrbanRail.Net)