Shanghai’s Subway Appears to New York, however Not for Every little thing – New York Occasions

Staff and Machines

What actually separates the Shanghai subway, and people of different Chinese language cities, from many Western counterparts is the velocity of development.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has used six big tunnel-boring machines in recent times throughout the subway community. Shanghai has 60 such units engaged on simply one of many many new strains it’s constructing or extending.

“Our working progress is quicker than in Western nations — perhaps we solely take one or two years to complete” a activity, stated Zhou Xisheng, a 49-year-old deputy chief engineer for Shanghai Metro. “Nevertheless, in overseas nations, it might take 5 to 10 years.”

Shanghai doesn’t simply have extra gear, it additionally has cheaper labor. Heavy gear operators earn about $1,000 a month right here, a small fraction of what comparable staff earn in New York.

The general impact is hanging: China has accomplished extra miles of subways than the remainder of the world in every of the final two years, in line with the Brussels-based Worldwide Affiliation of Public Transport.

To be truthful, a easy rely of tunnel-boring machines and laborers just isn’t sufficient to match the challenges every metropolis faces in constructing subway strains.

For starters, not all of New York’s subway development even makes use of tunnel-boring machines: A few of it’s carried out by slicing a really deep trench within the floor, laying the brand new line after which masking it.

A much bigger distinction is that New York has to chop via strong rock to make new tunnels, whereas Shanghai is digging via comparatively delicate, solidified mud left by rivers winding throughout the Yangtze River delta for hundreds of thousands of years. (However that mud creates one other hazard that’s much less of a fear in New York’s agency bedrock: ensuring that the roofs of Shanghai’s subway tunnels don’t sag or leak water.)


New York Metropolis subway map and Shanghai Metro map.

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Squares and Diagonals

Shanghai’s subway might carry almost twice as many individuals as New York’s, regardless that it has 1 / 4 fewer stations. However on a day-to-day foundation, the most important distinction between the 2 networks lies within the complexity of every metropolis’s stations.

The sprawling Occasions Sq. station, for instance, and its 42nd Road extension have 12 strains, though a number of of them share tracks. Throughout New York’s subway map, no line is rigidly straight all through.

Shanghai, then again, has a subway map that appears extra like an oblong grid — strains run north to south, and east to west, with few exceptions. In consequence, most switch stations contain simply two strains, a number of have three strains and just one station in all the community has 4.

The shortage of “diagonal” strains signifies that journeys are typically barely longer and sometimes contain a switch — riders in impact go round a sq. to succeed in a vacation spot, and have to vary trains on the corners.

Line 14, the most recent addition to Shanghai’s community, is a notable exception. It is going to run diagonally alongside a part of its route when it lastly opens.

However confronted with a metropolis with 3 times the inhabitants of New York, and frightened of overcrowding, Shanghai subway officers say that they like the simplicity.

“We attempt to keep away from four-line hubs,” stated Li Yingfeng, the chief of the Shanghai subway’s operation administration middle, “as a result of we now have a a lot greater ridership than the New York Metropolis system.”

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