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Transit 'convenience and happiness'
By Wing Tan

METRO Line 9 linking Songjiang to downtown Shanghai was recently extended south to reach ancient towns and new urban development deeper in the district.

Locals call it the "line of convenience and happiness" because of the time and trouble it saves for travelers and commuters.

The 2.2-billion-yuan (US$353 million) extension was the biggest public works project in Songjiang's history. It encompasses the Songjiang High-Speed South Railway Station, a vital link in Shanghai's new transportation hub, which has Hongqiao International Airport as its core.

Three new underground Metro stations in Songjiang went into full operation on the last day of 2012: the Sports Stadium Station, the Zuibai Pond Park Station and the South Railway Station.

"It takes me about 10 minutes to walk from home to the nearest station," said passenger Fu Baosheng, who lives in the Minle Community. "It does bring us greater convenience."

The Metro extension line, which took about five years to construct, is 5.4 kilometers long. During its construction, great care was taken to preserve ancient architecture and heritage sites along the route.

A passenger named Xie Yong, disembarking from a Metro train after a rail trip from the city of Nanjing in Jiangsu Province, marveled at the construction.

"I had planned to take a taxi from the railway station," he said. "I had no idea that the Metro extension was finished so soon. It saves a lot of time and trouble for frequent business travelers like me who come to Songjiang."

The line's route follows Jiasong Road S. to the south, passes the G60 Highway to Jiufeng Road, and then at the Ledu Road intersection, it shifts to Renmin Road, past the Shanghai-Hangzhou Railway that crosses overhead.

After that, the route continues along the Yanping Road S., ending at the Shanghai-Hangzhou Railway Station.

The new rail line is expected to be a boon to the district's economy, especially the development of Songjiang New City in the south.

Development on both sides of the new Metro line is proceeding apace. About 22 projects are under construction now and seven of them, including a grand plaza near the Shanghai-Hangzhou Railway Station and new trunk roads, are nearing completion.

Underground parking at the Songjiang Sports Stadium Station has proven to be very popular.

The full Metro Line 9, more than 48 kilometers long, connects Yanggao Road in the Pudong New Area with Songjiang.

The line is sometimes called Shanghai's "time tunnel" because it traverses several historic towns and scenic spots, including Qibao Old Town in Minhang District, and Sheshan Hill and Zuibai Pond Park in Songjiang.

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