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Shanghai’s Subway Looks to New York, but Not for Everything
Only two lines — the Lexington Avenue subway and the Queens Boulevard line — are
able to offer trains every two minutes, and other lines can be much slower.
Shanghai’s subway system, like most such networks around the world, does not have separate local
and express tunnels, so the entire system has to stop every night for maintenance.
So subway cars can take turns during the night running through the local tunnels
and the express tunnels, with maintenance conducted on whichever tunnel is not in use.
While the New York system is aging, it still shows the soaring ambition of its original creators
in its bold design — express tunnels and stations bring together up to a dozen lines.
The New York system was built with express train tunnels in addition to local train tunnels.
Shanghai’s subway may carry nearly twice as many people as New York’s, even though it has a quarter fewer stations.
New York’s subway struggles with chronic delays, partly because of mechanical breakdowns
but also because of debris on the tracks and even people falling off platforms.