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Tianjin Subway Map © UrbanRail.Net

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Tianjin (Tientsin, Tenshin, 9.3 million inhabitants) has always been an important inland harbour, situated 40 km from the Yellow Sea (Bohai Gulf) and 130 km from Beijing (Peking).


 Subway Line 1

Tianjin was the second city in China to build an underground railway. Construction of the present line 1 started in 1970. It runs only 2-3 metres under the city's streets, partly using a driedout canal bed. The construction was interrupted by the 1976 earthquake and was resumed and finished between 1979 and 1984. The line started at Xin Hua Road (now Xiaobailou), and finished at the West Railway Station (Xizhan). The total length was 7.4 km. The Tianjin metro has 1435 mm gauge and it uses 825Vdc 3rd rail power supply. Most stations have side platforms.

The original Tianjin metro line closed in 2001 for reconstruction and extension. The extended line eventually opened in summer 2006.

10 Aug 1980: Xinanjiao - Xinhua Road (5.2 km)
28 Dec 1984: Xinanjiao - West Railway Station (2.2 km)
09 Oct 2001: Line 1 closed for reconstruction and extension

12 Jun 2006: Liuyuan - Shuanglin (26.2 km)

Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway
 Subway Line 2

East-west line initially operated in two sections, due to a construction accident on the central section. After completion of the central section in 2013, the line was 23.5 km long with 19 stations. A 4 km extension to Binhai International Airport (Terminal 2) was added in 2014.

01 July 2012: Caozhuang - Dongnanjiao and Tianjinzhan - Konggangjingjiqu
18 Nov 2012: + Jieyuan Xidao
28 Aug 2013: Dongnanjiao - Tianjinzhan (Tianjin Railway Station)
28 Aug 2014: Konggangjingjiqu - Binhaiguojijichang (Binhai Int'l Airport)


Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway
 Subway Line 3

North-south line, 34 km with 26 stations

01 Oct 2012: Xiaodian - Gaoxinqu
28 Dec 2013: Gaoxinqu - Nanzhan (South Railway Station)

Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway
 Subway Line 5

33 km with 28 stations when complete

22 Oct 2018: Danhebeidao - Zhongyiyifuyuan (~ 30km)

 Subway Line 6

45 km with 39 stations

06 Aug 2016: Changhong Gongyuan - Nancuiping
31 Dec 2016: Changhong Gongyuan - South Sunzhuang
26 Apr 2018: Nancuiping - Meilinlu (19 km)

Tianjin Subway Line 6 Tianjin Subway Line 6 Tianjin Subway Line 6
 Binhai Line (Line 9)

The TEDA (Tianjin Economic Developing Area) industrial zone has been Tianjin's fastest developing area. But commuting between downtown and TEDA has become a serious problem. Although there were already 3 express highways and 1 railway between them, a mass transit line was still required. With a sum of 5.92 billion Yuan (USD 0.71 billion) that was invested by the new company named Binhai Mass Transit Developing, the construction started in 2001. And it was finished in late October 2003. The original LRT Binhai line is 45.4 km long running from Zhongshanmen to Donghailu (Control Centre). Construction began in early 2004.

28 March 2004: Binhai Line Zhongshanmen - Donghailu (trial operation: only 6 stations opened for public, plus two - Hujiayuan and Huizhanzhongxin - for special occasions only)
25 May 2004: Yihaoqiao station added
18 Oct 2004: Shiminguangchang station added
27 March 2005: Huizhanzhongxin fully opened
28 April 2005: Erhaoqiao station added, and Yihaoqiao closed; two stations renamed: Yanghuoshichang > Tanggu, Dongtinglu > TEDA
01 June 2006: Yihaoqiao station reopened and Hujiayuan fully opened; New Xinlizhen, Xiaodongzhuang and Junliangcheng stations added
01 May 2011: Zhongshanmen - Shiyijinglu
15 Oct 2012: Shiyijinglu - Tianjinzhan (Tianjin Railway Station)

31 Dec 2016: Zhangguizhuang and Taihulu stations added

Tianjin Subway BMT Tianjin Subway BMT Tianjin Subway BMT
 TEDA Modern Guided Rail Tram

The TEDA (Tianjin Economic Developing Area) industrial zone is served by a Translohr rubber-tyred tram on an 8 km north-south line with 14 stops.

10 May 2007: TEDA (Line 9 station) - College District North

Tianjin TEDA Translohr tram Tianjin TEDA Translohr tram Tianjin TEDA Translohr tram


Several lines are under construction:

- Line 4
- Line 8



TRT (Tianjin Rail Transit - Official Site)

Tianjin Binhai Mass Transit Development Co. (LRT - Official Site)

Tianjin Metro at Wikipedia

TEDA Translohr Tram at Wikipedia

Tianjin Subway Map at Johomaps


Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway Tianjin Subway

Tianjin Metro Line Diagram


In May 2016, Craig Moore reports from Tianjin, with some new comments added in Jan. 2017:

As the port and traditional gateway for Beijing, Tianjin has long had a strategic and commercial importance. Today, this large city is one of four municipalities direct-controlled by the central government (not belonging to a Province). Within a Chinese context, Tianjin also has an urban rail legacy, being the second city (after Beijing) to develop and operate a subway. Opening in 1984 with a mere 7.4km service in the central area, the Tianjin Metro has not had a typically incremental expansion, but a rather fractured development. Despite a lengthy building process, Line 1 was constructed economically and, as other Metros in the near-region began operations, this small, unappealing system did not fare well in comparison. As a result, in 2001, just 16 years after opening, the system closed for 5 years for modernisation and expansion. During this period, the mainly elevated BMT Binhai Line (Line 9) opened. A second Tianjin Metro line (Line 2), opened in 2012, but suffered flooding and the line had to operate as two separate shuttles for a year. Since then however, operations have stabilised, Line 3 has opened, and there has been a small but steady expansion of existing lines (although the 2015 TEDA explosions have curtailed operations on part of the BMT line) with the system now offering 137.5km of urban rail within the Greater Tianjin area, hosting 68.8km of underground running.

Although there is joint ticketing, barrier free interchange and an integrated schematic map, the 4-line metro provision in Tianjin is operated by two companies. Tianjin Metro operates Lines 1-3, whilst Binhai Mass Transit (BMT) operates Line 9 and the TEDA tram.

Tianjin Metro
Line 1 is 26.2km in length and has a mix of underground (15.7km) in the central area and grade/elevated running in the periphery. The oldest and busiest of the lines, it uses third rail power on 1435 rails and operates from 5:30 to 22:30 with 5min base headways. The new stock is very smart with a red-black livery and, unusual for China, it has windows into the driver’s cab and some good views of the system. The stock is CNR and made up of 6-carriage sets. These have side seating and 8 doors per carriage, above which is an electronic strip map. Audio and electronic information is provided in Mandarin and English. Schematic maps are located in several areas of each carriage but they are quite small (with tiny font size on station names). The stations on Line 1 are quite standard, with the usual ticket hall layout. All platforms have half screens and next-train information and the underground stations have quite narrow platforms. The renovation of these stations has been done tastefully with lovely large grey/white tiling and large red Chinese characters mounted on the wall as station names (with smaller Latin text below). Transfer to Lines 2 and 3 are possible and are well signed.

As on Line 1, Line 2 operates 5min headways and uses CNR stock in 6-car rakes which has side seating. The line is third rail powered and runs east-west for 27.2km and is totally underground save a short 1.3km section at Konggangjingjiqu (side platforms) before heading south for the airport. The headhouses on this line are quite blocky and there is no totem, but the stations are smart and clean and very much of the Chinese template with full platform screens and information in Mandarin and English (electronic and audio). At Tianjinzhan (a huge station) the line provides cross-platform interchange with Line 9 (see below) but the interconnection to Line 3 involves a very long walk, such is the size of the station.

Line 3 is probably the most stylish of the lines and is the longest of the Tianjin Metro lines running from the north to southwest for 32.7km via third-rail power supply. There is a mix of alignments with a lengthy 21.5km underground section in the north and centre, and grade/elevated running in the far north and the southwest around Gaoxinqu. The headhouses are quite similar to line 2 but the underground station interiors are very stylish as are the elevated stations, with their huge canopied roofs. There is a mix of side and island platforms. Quite beautiful CSR Qingdao stock is used, in 6-car formations, although headways are 7mins and dwell times are longer on this line than others.

The latest addition to the Tianjin Metro is Line 6; a 27.8km fully underground line that runs from the north east and skirts the outer areas of the western city before heading south to Nancuiping. It connects with the other three Tianjin Metro lines with straight forward transfer at 4 stations. Using smart new 6-car CRRC stock the line runs at lower frequencies than the other lines (10min) and the stations have quite a distinctive style with the stair walls on the platform being of brick form, as well as different motifs across various stations. The island platforms have full screens and are built for 8-car sets. I get the feeling the latest extension (opened as part of a batch in China on 28 December 2016) was rushed as it still has many teething problems, sections of platforms closed off, buckets for leaks, escalators not working etc.

Binhai Mass Transit (BMT)
BMT operates Line 9 of the Tianjin System and there is a very apparent difference in operations and style to the Tianjin Metro. The line runs from the centre of Tianjin to the Binhai Port area, via the TEDA economic zone. The 51.4km line is only underground within the Tianjin city area (5.7km underground). At the western terminus of Tianjinzhan the service pulls into a central single line with two island platforms on either side. Entry and exit is via either side and allows for cross platform interchange in either direction to Line 2 services. The underground section runs very slowly and the stations have a pale blue, slightly dated feel. Above ground, the train speed increases but the stations (all elevated with side platforms) also look slightly shabby and dated, with half platform screens, no next-train information and a very ugly strip map . These stations were built for 6-car lengths but the CNR sets on this service are powered by overhead lines and run as 4-car trains (6 doors per carriage). The stock is more unkempt than the metro lines and has its own styled schematic, although there is audio and electronic information in Mandarin and English. Until recently, the line was operating a shorter service, terminating at Dawufeng/Pipe Corporation due to disruption caused by the 2015 explosion. The line has now been fully re-instated. The strip map above the door and the map show that services on this line have still not fully recovered from the 2015 explosion, with the line currently operating a shorter service, terminating at Dawufeng/Pipe Corporation. This means there is no current interchange with the tram. Services run from 0600-22.30 at 8min intervals during off-peak periods, but this general lower capacity seems to more than adequately meet demand.

Using the system is generally easy with simple, barrier-free interchange across all lines and reasonable distance-based fares (2-8 Yuan). There are, however, some issues with the system which are all the more evident as other systems in China improve and simplify operations. The first issue is Tianjingzhang station. This is the largest and busiest station on the metro system and also the main rail station in the city for national rail services and so is the first point of access to the Tianjin Metro for many people. The subway station here hosts three lines (2/3/9) and is a huge circular structure lying below the main rail station. It is however, one of the most, if not ‘the’ most, frustrating metro station in China. Its cavernous pale surroundings create a very sterile hollow environment, void of any colour. It is a sea of barriers which steer passengers to a couple entry points at the peripheries of the space. Here the ticket machines are tucked away in little corners and there are too few for demand. Queues are made longer because, bizarrely, the machines only take bank notes and are very sensitive to any older notes being used and so people scrabble around for newer 5/10 yuan notes with which to purchase tokens. Once through security and ticket barriers the next issue is finding the appropriate line. Whilst there are ceiling signs to direct people to lines, these, along with platform access, are scattered at various points in the huge space and you can wonder around for a while trying to find the exact line and direction. There are no schematic maps of the system on this level (only on platforms) and secondly, the customer information centre, which is covered in advertising for other products and isn’t obvious, has no hard copy information (nor do any other booths in any station) and you are shown a tatty photocopy of the map and pointed to an area of the station where there is access to the appropriate platform. This is all the more frustrating in that all other stations have adequate schematic maps at entrance/ticket hall and platform levels. The platforms at this station are also very cold and interchange between lines involves crossing the vast space once again.

This links to the second issue that make things more frustrating. The lack of any hard copy information and the lack of uniformity of the platform maps. Trains have a smart portrait map which puts the BMT line in the south, whilst the BMT maps and those on platforms at all stations have landscape map which is more representative of the shape of the system (BMT line to the east). But the fact that there is not a single map, or that copies are not available is poor really in a country whose wayfinding signage and information provision has come on in leaps and bounds.

If you ignore these points and are journeying on other parts of the system, Tianjin has a good Metro offer but a couple of glaring problems spoil it for me.

Tianjin Subway Map Tianjin Subway Map Tianjin Subway Map
Click on maps to enlarge! (2016 © C. Moore)



2004 © Robert Schwandl (UrbanRail.Net)