The initial 12-station section of the north-south Line 1 runs for 16.5km from Urumqi Diwopu International Airport to Balou in the city centre. The 11km southern section of the line from Balou to Santunbei is still under construction.

The total budget for Line 1 is Yuan 21.7bn ($US 3.1bn) and construction began in March 2014.

Urumqi Urban Rail Group awarded CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive a contract in 2015 to supply 27 six-car Type A trains for the project.

A 19km east-west line is under construction and due to open next year. The two lines will intersect at Nanmen in the south of the city.

The second phase of the network was approved by China’s National Development and Reform Commission in October 2016 and this will expand the system to 88.8km by 2021.