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Line 7, Metro's latest, set to go

2009. 3 December

( City'S Metro Line 7 will make its debut on Saturday, pleasing passengers who have been anticipating the new subway since its original opening date was delayed in November.

"Finally I can say goodbye to the bus and take a subway to work," said Huo Fujie, who lives near a Line 7 station in Baoshan District.

Shanghai Shentong Group, the subway operator, had delayed the opening because some stations weren't yet finished.

The new line - 34.38 kilometers running from the city's northern Baoshan to Pudong New Area - will be Shanghai's ninth subway.

Some passengers have nicknamed it "the Expo line," because five stations are on the site of the 2010 World Expo.

The city's Metro network, which opened its first line in 1995, will boast 280 kilometers of track by year's end. Two more lines - Line 11, and the second phase of Line 9 - are scheduled to open before the Expo's start in May.

Line 7 will operate on a pilot basis for a year, Shentong said, and will begin with a short daily schedule, 9am to 4pm. Within three months, the hours will be extended: 5:30am to 11pm.

"We need further testing for all the equipment to set it in perfect conditions," said Zhang Lingxiang, a Shentong operation manager.

Zhang said if the line were to run more hours at the start, it would deny time for testing, increasing the risk of breakdowns.

The line will put 24 six-carriage trains in service, each carrying up to 2,500 people. Another 10 trains will be added before the Expo.

The time between each train will be set at six minutes. The interval will be shortened as new trains arrive.

The line connects with seven other subway lines on eight stations. Riders will be able to take the line to the south-east side of the Expo site.

Line 7 will have 26 stations opening on Saturday, with two others to open before the Expo, said the operator. Five more will be added after the event.

The line is expected to carry more than 500,000 passengers a day when it's done and the passenger turnout should steadily rise next year, said the operator.

Passengers with big pieces of luggage will be able to pass through 52 ticket-detector gates controlled by infrared rays, rather than turnstiles.