The long-awaited subway line in Taiyuan will be put into service on Saturday, Taiyuan Rail Transit Corp announced recently.
Trial operation of the first subway line in the provincial capital of Shanxi began on Monday, with 1,000 local passengers experiencing their maiden rides.
Cui Zhe, a resident from Shanxi Comprehensive Reform Demonstration Zone, was among the lucky candidates for the trial ride after he made a reservation several days before.
"It takes about 46 minutes to cover the whole trip connecting the south and north of Taiyuan," Cui said. "This must be the fastest transportation means in the city."
The current line－the first phase of Taiyuan Subway Line 2－has 23 stations. Construction on the project began in 2016.
During the trip, Cui said he was most impressed with the interior design of each station.
Also riding the subway was Li Zhiyang, an senior architect from Beijing Construction Engineering Architecture Design Institute and the chief designer of the Taiyuan Subway Line 2 stations.
He told passengers that the stations' design has incorporated the cultural and natural elements of Taiyuan and Shanxi province.
"We drew inspiration from Taiyuan's ancient buildings and modern landmarks when designing the stations," Li said.
The Jinyang Street Station, for instance, features pictures of ancient buildings.
The lower parts of the walls are decorated with well-arranged wooden boards resembling the silhouette of old houses and streets, Li said, adding that the red lanterns hanging in the station hall also render a sense of urban life in ancient Taiyuan.
Changfeng Street Station has adopted a modern, fashionable design to echo the area's characteristics as the central business district of Taiyuan.
The station hall features a huge arched moon gate, which Li said signifies "consummation" in Chinese culture.
"The moon gate is decorated with LED lights, which can generate different lighting effects for specific occasions, for instance, Spring Festival, Christmas and Valentine's Day," Li said.
Among the 23 stations, there are four "naked stations" as Li calls them. There are no decorations and exposed concrete walls and pipes can be seen.
"The design style is not only meant to save resources and facilitate maintenance, but also meant to meet the aesthetics of modern people," Li said.
The designer explained that such a design aims to reflect a post-modernist style.
With Taiyuan residents pinning high hopes on the subway line improving their lives, the city's administrators expect the project to bring new development opportunities.
"The subway project can create new space for urbanization, as more remote areas can be included in Taiyuan's urban planning and new urban centers will be formed," said Wang Fenglian, chief planner at Taiyuan Rail Transit Corp.