Shanghai Marvels: Impossible To Beat

Did you know it was once considered impossible to build a metro system in Shanghai?
If you’ve taken the Shanghai subway before, you know that it’s fast, convenient, and can also be gasping-for-air crowded. It’s hard to imagine that such a frequently used transportation system was once an unreachable dream.



Since the construction of Line 1 in 1990, the Shanghai metro has come a long way. The 17 lines of the metro now span over 700 kilometers, transporting millions of passengers from place to place every single day. So why did people think it was impossible and how did Shanghai overcome those challenges?



Shanghai began exploring the possibility of building a metro system in the 1950s, and asked overseas experts for help in making it a reality. However, after geological tests on Shanghai’s soil conditions, it was deemed impossible due to the soil being too soft. The difficulty was compared to “drilling holes in tofu”. That’s when Liu Jianhang came in. He and his colleagues decided not to give up on this dream, and after 30 years of research and experimentation, construction of Line 1 finally began.


Thanks to the dedication, intelligence, and courage of this team of engineers, Line 1 began operation in April 1995 and Shanghai finally had its own metro. It has been three decades since Liu began construction of city’s first subway line, and what was once unimaginable is now a great reality.


Editor: Zoey/ Lannie(intern)