Zhuhai’s Mayor, Yao Yisheng, turned a few heads at the Guangdong provincial congress’ media session yesterday when he called out to Guangzhou’s deputy mayor, saying “I want to connect with you!”
He was not referring to their personal guanxi, of course, but to the stalled plan for Guangzhou’s Line 18 to be extended further southwards once it opens in Nansha later this year. Zhuhai and Zhongshan have been eagerly awaiting news of progress on the line, which has not been forthcoming since around September last year, according to local media.
Metro Line 18 is not a normal subway line. It runs from the northern areas of Guangzhou through the city center and will soon extend all the way down to Nansha, on the city’s southernmost tip. In the more urbanized areas it runs at 120km/h (most metros run at 80km/h), while in the rural areas it gets up to 160 km/h, same as an Intercity Railway. (High-Speed Railways run at 250-350 km/h.)
Zhuhai really wants to be better connected to the rest of the Greater Bay Area by railway. The current Guangzhou-Zhuhai Intercity Railway runs from Guangzhou South Station through Zhongshan and down to Gongbei, and its new extension will take passengers out to Hengqin when it opens sometime in Q1. But this railway cuts out the vital node of Nansha, which is why Zhuhai and Zhongshan want to be connected via an extension of Line 18.
After Guangzhou’s deputy mayor, Chen Zhiying, gave nothing but a grin in response, Yao underlined his point: “Radiation from the core of Guangzhou cannot be complete without Zhuhai! Metro Line 18 extension must begin!”
Here is a link to a map showing how the various lines run through the western side of the Bay.
Here is a backgrounder on Line 18 (in Chinese).