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04 Aug 2008
IOC News , Beijing 2008

Olympic icons and transport projects for Beijing’s future

Count down to Beijing 2008: today on the Olympic Games and infrastructure investment
The final countdown for the start of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad is almost complete. But while the Beijing Olympics themselves and the following Paralympics will only last a few weeks, the lasting impact they will have on the city and its people will be profound. Upwards of $40 billion has been invested in infrastructure in China’s capital, not only to construct the giant showpiece stadiums which will host the events but also to create a future-proof transportation system to serve the city’s population.

Beijing Airport’s new terminal wows visitors
Visitors get an immediate sense of the breathtaking scale of investment when they land at Beijing’s Capital International Airport and are ushered through the futuristic new Terminal 3. This engineering marvel, created by British architect Lord Foster, mimics China’s revered, mythical dragon in its design. The largest airport terminal in the world, and one of the world’s largest buildings, it will increase the airport’s capacity almost three-fold – from 35 million passengers per year to around 85 million.
Huge rail and subway investment programme
Public transport in Beijing has not been overlooked either. Three new subway lines have just opened, adding another 58km of track to Beijing’s subway to take it to eight lines and 200km. Investment in those alone totalling some $3.3 billion. They include a dedicated Airport Express Line to speed passengers into the city and an Olympic Line servicing Olympic Park and its iconic stadiums. Five more lines are planned by 2015, by which time the network will exceed London’s.
World’s fastest intercity railway
The world’s fastest intercity rail line, linking Beijing with Olympic football competition host city Tianjin, enters service today (1 August), again in time for the Olympics. Running at speeds of up to 350kph, the trains will cut the 120km journey from 70 minutes to 30.. There are five stations on the route, culminating in the imposing new Beijing South Railway Station.
Landmark buildings represent a new dawn
Other landmark architectural buildings are reshaping Beijing’s skyline. French architect Paul Andreu designed the controversial, ellipsoid city-centre National Grand Theatre, dubbed The Egg. Meanwhile the bizarrely-inclined CCTV Building is on schedule for completion in 2009. Then there are the Olympic sports arenas. Beijing alone has 31, led by the spectacular National Stadium, the Bird’s Nest, and the National Aquatics Centre, the Water Cube. These will be the focal points for the Olympics’ global audience. For Beijingers, however, they herald a brave new dawn, gifting them facilities to continue nurturing their sportsmen and women long into the future.
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