The route of Line 4 was actually first considered as far back as 1950. However, construction only began in August 2004 and It started operations on September 28, 2009. It runs from north to south, through Haidian, Xicheng and Fengtai Districts in the western half of the city. It is 28.2 km long and has 24 stations.
The Daxing Line extends Line 4 southwards and is 21.7 km in length, of which 18 km are underground. Full-scale onstruction began in 2007 and the line was opened just over a year after Line 4 – on December 30, 2010. To all intents and purposes, although classified as two separate lines, they run as one, and passengers can travel on Line 4 and the Daxing Line without having to make any transfer, although there are some trains that stop at the ‘border’ during peak times.
Unlike most of the other lines of the Beijing Subway, which are completely state-owned and operated, Line 4 was built and is managed by a three-way joint-venture including the Hong Kong MTR Corporation, the Beijing Capital Group, and the Beijing Infrastructure Investment Co. The Hong Kong MTR and the state-owned BCG each holds a 49% stake in the venture.
To users of the subway system, there is little difference between Line 4 and other lines, except for one anomaly: Line 4 (as well as Lines 14 and 16, which are operated by the same joint venture) bans food and drink consumption inside its trains and stations, just as in Hong Kong. No such ban exists for other Beijing subway lines.
This JV probably also explains the preponderance of mosaic tiles on many of Line 4’s stations – almost as if there was an excess of such tiles extensively used on the Hong Kong MTR and this was an effective way of using up the surplus!
Line 4 marked a new departure in the development of art on Beijing’s met-ro system. In 2008 the management company entrusted the China Mural Association with the design work for the line. The next year Daxing district asked Beijing Dunhuang Art Company to plan the art for the Daxing Line.
As you can see on the following pages, the designs represented a major breakthrough from the artwork found on earlier lines. The paintings and sculptures are themed around the landscape, a cultural heritage or a landmark building in the vicinity of the stations.
The following stations on Line 4/Daxing have artwork:
East Gate of Peking University
Beijing South Railway Station
Huangcun Railway Station