Line 13, which used to be known as The City Rail Line, was ironically enough only the third subway line to be built in Beijing. It was the first Beijing Subway line to adopt Yikatong, the electronic farecard, at the end of 2003.
The western section between Xizhimen and Huoying was opened on September 28, 2002, while the eastern section from Huoying to Dongzhimen opened on January 28, 2003. Line 13 now has 17 stations (16 of which are on the surface) and 40.85 kms of tracks in operation.
The very first trainsets used were originally built in the early 1970s for the Pyongyang Metro in North Korea, prior to its opening in 1973. Some of them were subsequently returned to China in 1998 and were used on Line 13 when it opened in 2002, until they were eventually replaced by newer carriages.
In November 2018, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Planning and Natural Resources decided that the existing Line 13 will be split between Xi'erqi station and Huilongguan station, to form two "L"-shaped lines intersecting in the north of the city.Passengers will use a cross-platform interchange between Line 13A and Line 13B at a new station to the west of the Jingzang Expressway.
Line 13A will have a total length of 30.9 km with 18 stations, including 13 new stations. Line 13B will be 32.0 km with 15 stations, including 6 new ones.
Only Dongzhimen currently has any artwork on this line.