Record Breaking Metro System of the Day: Beijing

With an end-of-year expansion, it is now the world's longest subway system.

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Jason Lee/Reuters

A new year, a new world's largest metro system.

On December 30th, Beijing opened 43.4 miles of track, including one brand-new line, making its metro system the longest in the world. The Chinese capital now has 275 miles of track; the previous record-holder, Shanghai, has 272.

If you laid the metro system of Beijing end to end, it would be substantially longer than the distance between New York City and Washington D.C. And that's literally only half of it -- the 32-year-old system plans to put a new line into operation in each of the next three years. By 2020, the system is projected to extend over 600 miles. That's three times the length of the New York City subway.

But as in heavyweight boxing, there are several belts to be won, and New York City still holds one -- it has the most stations of any system in the world, at 421.

Photo: Jason Lee/Reuters.

About the Author

  • Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.