Beijing is expected to put into operation the first domestically-developed unmanned subway line in China this year, according to local media (in Chinese).

The Yanfang Line (北京地铁燕房线) will be part of the capital city’s subway construction spree, as authorities said they are pressing ahead with the construction of 20 subway lines stretching around 350 kms this year (in Chinese).

The line connecting the city’s two suburbs Yanshan and Fangshan will play an important role in facilitating the economic development of the two suburbs while easing local residents’ travel.

The line, connecting Beijing suburbs Yanshan and Fangshan, will span roughly 16.6 km and run at a maximum speed of 100 km per hour. It will be the first to adopt subway systems exclusively made by manufacturers in mainland China, following the country’s indigenously-made unmanned subway train put into operation in Hong Kong last December.

Both the Yanfang fully automated subway system and the unmanned subway train in Hong Kong were developed by CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles.

In order to ensure the operation safety, the Yanfang line adopts the cutting-edge automatic train stop system that can automatically stop a train in case of derailments or meeting obstacles on the way.

In addition, Shanghai is slated to put into trial operation of unmanned subway trains at the third stage of its SubwayLine 8.

Since the world’s first unmanned subway was put into use in Copenhagen in 2002, other major metropolises have launched automatic driverless subway trains, including as Paris and Lyon in France, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Barcelona in Spain.

Sheila Yu is a Shanghai-based technology writer. She brings readers the biggest news from Chinese language tech media. Reach her at