Capital Airport Express

The Capital Airport Express[1] of the Beijing Subway (Chinese: 北京地铁首都机场线[1]; pinyin: Běijīng Dìtiě Shǒudū Jīchǎng Xiàn), also known by the initials ABC, Airport Beijing City, is an airport rail link from Beixingqiao station to the Beijing Capital International Airport.[6] The line became operational on July 19, 2008. On subway maps, the Capital Airport Express' color is Pantone 666C.[7]

Capital Airport Express[1]
BJS Capital Airport Express icon.svg
L1-105 leaving Terminal 3 (20210108145502).jpg
A Capital Airport Express train leaving Terminal 3 station with a landing Boeing 737-700 on the background
Other name(s)M34[2]/L1[3] (planned name)
LocaleDongcheng, Chaoyang, and Shunyi districts
TypeAirport rail link
SystemBeijing Subway
Operator(s)Beijing Capital Metro Corp., Ltd.
Rolling stock4-car Type LB (QKZ5 - CNR/CRRC Changchun–Bombardier Innovia ART 200)
Daily ridership31,300 (2014 Avg.)
49,100 (2014 Peak)[4]
Opened19 July 2008; 14 years ago (2008-07-19)
Line length29.9 km (18.6 mi)
CharacterUnderground and elevated
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Electrification750 V DC third rail linear induction motor
Operating speed110 km/h (68 mph)[5]
Route map

Terminal 2
Terminal 3
Tianzhu depot
Wenyu River
Jingshen HSR crossing
Beixiao River
Line 14 crossing
Ba River
Left arrow line 10 outer
Line 10 Line 12 (to be opened 2023)
Left arrow line 12 Sijiqing
line 10 inner Right arrow
Left arrow outer-inner Right arrow
Capital Airport Express
Simplified Chinese北京地铁首都机场线
Traditional Chinese北京地鐵首都機場線


Capital Airport Express trains first depart Beixinqiao, stop at Dongzhimen and Sanyuanqiao, then stop at Terminal 3. Trains then reverse at Terminal 3 and head to Terminal 2. Trains reverse again and proceed to Beixinqiao, stopping at Sanyuanqiao and Dongzhimen along the way.

A one-way fare on the Capital Airport Express costs RMB(¥) 25, with no free transfers from other lines.[8]


Station Name Connections Nearby Bus Stops Distance
English Chinese
Beixinqiao 北新桥  5  13 82 84 106 107 116 117 135 612 夜6 夜10 0.000 0.000 Dongcheng
Dongzhimen 东直门  2   13  3 18 24 44 75 106 107 117 123 130 132 135 142 200 359 401 404 413 416 418 612 850 850快 852 915 915快 916 916快 918 935 935快 942快 966 980 980快 夜6 夜10 夜20 夜32 1.822[10] 1.822
Sanyuanqiao 三元桥  10  18 95 104 132 300 300快 302 359 368 379 401 403 404 419 536 604 641 671 847 850 850快 852 915 915快 916 916快 918 935 935快 939 980 980快 夜18 夜30 3.022 4.844 Chaoyang
3 Hao Hangzhanlou (Terminal 3) 3号航站楼   PEK 18.322 23.166 Shunyi
2 Hao Hangzhanlou (Terminal 2) 2号航站楼   PEK 7.243 30.409 Chaoyang


The Airport Express was originally planned to run non-stop between Dongzhimen and the Capital Airport. An intermediate stop at Sanyuanqiao was subsequently added for the convenience of passengers connecting to Line 10.[11][12]

Designers for the new line considered several types of technology for the Airport Express, including:

The linear motor option was ultimately decided upon.[11][13]

Planning accelerated after the city won the bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, which included a promise to connect the airport to the Olympic village by subway.[11] The project cost ¥5.4bn and involved a consortium of companies led by the Beijing Dongzhimen Airport Express Rail Company.[14]

The project operated under a tight delivery schedule, initially with very limited public disclosure.[14][15] During construction, officials from both the Beijing Dongzhimen Airport Express Rail Co. and Bombardier expressed concerns about whether the project would be completed, as originally planned, by the end of 2007, with test operations to start in April 2008.[15] At the time, Zhang Jianwei, chief country representative for Bombardier, called the short timetable for a project of this type unprecedented. Zhang expressed confidence that Bombardier would meet its responsibilities as its Chinese contractors routinely worked 24 hours a day, something not possible in other countries. He also noted, however, that even if the line were to open on time, the need for haste could compromise the quality of construction.[15]

There was also considerable uncertainty over the progress of the project, the identity of contractors and its operational arrangement. Construction was reported to have begun on June 14, 2005, but aspects of the project still awaited the central government's approval.[16] Local media reported in January 2005 that the train supplier had been “basically decided”, but was not officially selected and announced until March 2006.[15]

Track-laying began in March 2007 and was completed by November 2007.[17] Testing using empty trains commenced in April 2008 and official operations started on July 19 of that year, in time for the opening of the Summer Olympic Games on August 8, 2008.[18][19] The line delivered 2.17 million rides in 2008.[20]

A 1.8 km (1.1 mi) western extension to Beixinqiao station was opened for service on 31 December 2021.[21]

Segment Commencement Length Station(s) Name
Dongzhimen — Terminal 3 / Terminal 2 19 July 2008 28.1 km (17.5 mi) 4 Initial phase
Dongzhimen — Beixinqiao 31 December 2021 1.8 km (1.1 mi)[10] 1 Western extension

Infrastructure and rolling stockEdit

The Airport Express line adopts Advanced Rapid Transit (since renamed Innovia Metro) technology from Bombardier Transportation, with a fleet of 10 QKZ5 trains assembled by Changchun Railway Vehicles (CRV, now part of CRRC Corporation) under a technology transfer agreement.[22] The vehicles were based on those used on AirTrain JFK in New York City, with Bombardier providing bogies as well as the electrical, propulsion and brake systems, which were assembled by CRV.

As with the majority of Beijing Subway trains, the Airport Express trains use a 750 V third rail power supply, and have a maximum speed of 110 kilometers per hour.[5] Trains are configured in fixed sets of four cars with a total of 230 seats, arranged in a longitudinal layout to maximize their quantity.

The line uses Alstom's "Urbalis" communications-based train control system, which is capable of driving trains automatically, although staff still monitor the trains from the front (Grade of Automation level 2).[23] At the time of opening, this system made the Airport Express the first rapid transit line with automated operation in China, and the second such rail line of any kind, after the people mover in Terminal 3 at the airport, which was also supplied by Bombardier.[15]

Since January 2020, the interiors of the QKZ5 trains were being renovated. The LCD TV display in the passenger compartment has been changed to a 27-inch smart multimedia display that can display flight information and the static paper route map above the door has also been replaced by dynamic LCD screens showing maps and passenger information.[24]

New Capital Airport Express Trains, note set L1 114 has a different livery.

In September 2018, an announcement requesting an 8 additional linear motor trainsets was made.[25] CRRC Changchun won the bid in November of the same year.[26] In 2021, the first train was delivered.[27] The new trains have a blue livery was delivered, equipped with wider seats and mobile phone charging sockets.[28][29]

Model Image Manufacturer Year Built Amount in Service Fleet Numbers Depot
QKZ5   CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles
Bombardier Transportation
2007 10 (2007) L1 101–L1 110 (2007) Tianzhu
CCD3004   CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles 2021 5 (2022) L1 111–L1 115 (2021) Tianzhu

Future developmentEdit

Infill stationEdit

Reserved space for an infill station at Wangjingnan, where the Capital Airport Express intersects with Line 14, is also part of long-term plans.[30]


In the short term, there is little scope to increase the Capital Airport Express's capacity. The 4-car train sets used on the line have significantly lower capacity than those on other Beijing Subway lines, which operate 6-car or 8-car train sets.[31] Also, the Capital Airport Express track design requires trains from Terminal 3 to first travel to Terminal 2 before returning to the city. If trains were able to return directly from Terminal 3 to the city the capacity on the route could be increased.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "改名了!机场线更名为首都机场线". 2019-09-24.
  2. ^ "北京市朝阳区国民经济和社会发展第十四个五年规划和二〇三五年远景目标纲要". 2021-03-18. Archived from the original on 2021-03-20.
  3. ^ "北京市城市快速轨道交通建设规划(2007—2015)". 2015-03-24. Archived from the original on 2020-09-16.
  4. ^ (Chinese) Retrieved 2012-04-28 "北京地铁昨天全路网日客运量首破800万高达839.1万人次". Beijing Subway Corporation. 2012-04-28.
  5. ^ a b "首都机场快速轨道线首列直线电机车辆在长春下线". 2007-09-07. 最高运行速度110公里/小时
  6. ^ 地铁机场线今日开通 最大时速110公里用男乘务员 (in Simplified Chinese). Xinhua News. 2008-07-19. Archived from the original on July 23, 2008.
  7. ^ "公共交通客运标志 第2部分:城市轨道交通" (PDF). 2016-04-01. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-08-09.
  8. ^ "Airport Express". Retrieved 2021-08-19.
  9. ^ "首都机场线路网车站站间距信息". Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  10. ^ a b "北京地铁首都机场线西延左线洞通". China News Service (in Chinese). 2021-06-05. Archived from the original on 1 January 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2022. 机场线西延工程线路全长约1.822公里
  11. ^ a b c (Chinese) "全线运营点对点不建磁悬浮 机场轨道明年动工" 北京青年报 2003-12-14 [2012-08-25.
  12. ^ 北京机场轨道线再掀面纱 地下通道与十号线连接. 2005-03-25 [2012-08-25].
  13. ^ 5.0 5.1 北京市市政工程设计研究总院 北京市勘察设计研究院有限公司本卷主编.. 《再塑北京——市政与交通工程》. Beijing: 中国建筑工业出版社 [China Architectural and Industrial Press]. 2008. pp. 141-157. ISBN 978-7-112-09885-9.
  14. ^ a b "Beijing Olympic Village Rail Link Construction, China" Retrieved [2012-12-29
  15. ^ a b c d e Mure Dickie, "Fears over Beijing Olympic rail link" Financial Times 2006-08-18 Retrieved [2012-12-29]
  16. ^ 首都机场快速轨道首站开建 9月1日全线开工. 2005-06-15 [2012-08-25].
  17. ^ "Track laying completed for Beijing Subway Airport Line" The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Archived 2009-02-03 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ 首都机场轨道线试运行 市区18分钟内可达机场. 2008-04-27 [2012-08-25].
  19. ^ 北京地铁周末“三线齐发” 机场线票价尚未公布. 2008-07-18 [2012-08-25].
  20. ^ 北京地铁2008年运送乘客突破12亿人次 (in Simplified Chinese). Beijing Morning News. 2009-01-02.
  21. ^ "新线开通 最新版线路图及首末班车时刻表" [The new line opens the latest version of the route map and the first and last train schedule]. Sina Corporation Online (in Chinese). 1 January 2022. Archived from the original on 3 January 2022. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Bombardier Awarded Contract in China for the Beijing Capital International Airport Link With Connection to Summer 2008 Olympic Games Village" Business Wire Mar. 20, 2006
  23. ^ ^ 北京机场线将建无人驾驶地铁. 2006-08-08 [2012-08-25].
  24. ^ "北京市交通委员会". Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  25. ^ "北京市轨道交通机场线增购车辆工程车辆采购项目招标公告-采招网". Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  26. ^ "北京市轨道交通机场线增购车辆工程车辆采购项目中标结果_候选人". Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  27. ^ "能给手机充电,能放更大行李!机场线将添新车型"小蓝"". Beijing Daily (in Chinese). 2021-03-18. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  28. ^ "【新车到段】提前布局,车辆检修中心迎接新增购车到段". Weixin Official Accounts Platform. Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  29. ^ "能给手机充电,能放更大行李!机场线将添新车型"小蓝"". (in Chinese (China)). Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  30. ^ "关于首都国际机场线增加望京南站的提案" [Proposal on adding Wangjing South Station to the Capital International Airport Line]. Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (in Chinese). 2019-06-17. Archived from the original on 2021-03-06.
  31. ^ 4条地铁线将装屏蔽门 (in Simplified Chinese). 法制晚报. 2010-01-20.

External linksEdit