Appendix 8:
Classification: Ambiguities (and Mistranslations)
Various urban transport projects in Korea (KR), described by English-language sources as "light rail transit," "LRT" or "light railway," are in fact AGT systems, using vehicles with pneumatic tyres (rubber tires).
 輕量電鐵 gyeongnyang jeoncheol
Gyeongnyang jeoncheol (hangeul script above, hanja characters below, "Revised Romanization of Korean" at right) has the nominal meaning "lightweight electric railway." This term is used by Korean-language sources with reference to AGT systems. The (KR) Construction and Transportation Ministry funded a six-year (1999 January - 2005 December) project by the Korean Railroad Research Institute to develop a "Korean standard light rail transit (LRT) system." This is in fact AGT and is also known as Korean Automated Guideway Transit (K-AGT):
 韓國輕電鐵 hanguk gyeongcheon-cheol
(literally "Korea [i.e. developed in Korea] electric light railway").
AGT systems are obviously not compatible with operation over in-street trackage and are therefore tabulated as "Metro and Suburban Rail" systems.
In contrast, the Jeonju (KR) "LRT" project consists of surface-level lines built mostly on reservation (street medians). This has been described as the first "light rail transit" project in Korea. The authors have tabulated it together with other tramway, light railway and LRT systems.
Chinese has an unambiguous term for "monorail" (and for "light rail"), but several terms for each are in common use. Recently opened elevated metro and monorail lines have been labeled "elevated light rail" or "light rail." The potential for confusion should be obvious, in particular, when photographs are not available (e.g. lines in planning).
The new Chongqing monorail (opened for full commercial service on 2005 June 18) was described - consistently and exclusively - as "elevated light rail" by a November 2004 People’s Daily Online news report (in English). The headline, "Elevated light rail makes debut in Chongqing," appeared immediately above a photo of a monorail train.
The authors acknowledge the possibility of "mistranslation" but discount this explanation in the case above. Unambiguous Chinese terms for "monorail" or "light rail" do exist (as in Japan, where the written language makes extensive use of Chinese characters). The apparent obfuscation described above might be related to a State Council decision, announced early in 2003, to suspend all new "subway" projects. (The State Council imposed at least one previous "moratorium" on "subway" construction.) Another possible explanation: current Russian practice - at least in Moskva - uses the term "light metro" (Лёгкое метро, Lyogkoye metro, an apparent Russification of the French term métro léger) to describe metro lines built primarily at ground-level or on viaduct, avoiding tunneling to reduce costs. (The term "light" - in this case - does not refer to LRT, nor to small-profile metros, but to construction cost.)
 电车 diànchē
Dianche ("traditional" characters above, "simplified" characters below, hanyu pinyin romanization at right) has the nominal meaning "electric car " or "electric train," and was used historically in reference to electric tramcars (streetcars). However, "dianche" is more widely recognized in China today as "trolleybus."
 无軌电车 wúgǔi diànchē
Wugui dianche ("without-track electric car," i.e. "trolleybus") is commonly abbreviated to dianche. Moreover, trolleybuses operated in many Chinese cities that did not have electric tramways. A small number of cities retained tramway lines for some years after the start of trolleybus service, creating potential for confusion.
 有軌电车 yǒugǔi diànchē
Yougui dianche ("with-track electric car") was used with reference to "classic" urban tramway lines in Anshan, Changchun, Dalian and Harbin (and perhaps in other cities). Note that this term facilitates clarity with reference to "tramcar" and "trolleybus."
 地下铁路 dìxià tiělù
 地铁 dìtiě
Dixia means “underground,” and tielu means “railway.” Dixia tielu means “underground railway.” This may be abbreviated to ditie.
 地方铁路 dìfāng tiělù
 地铁 dìtiě
Difang means "region" (or "regional"). Difang tielu refers to local or regional railways - and may also be abbreviated to ditie. Therefore, ditie refers to urban and regional railways in general, and does not refer exclusively to underground metro lines.
 城市铁路 chéngshì tiělù
Chéngshì means "city" (or "urban"). Chengshi tielu has the nominal meaning "urban railway," "metropolitan railway" - or "CityRail," a label applied to two metro lines in Beijing that are built primarily on viaduct. These lines (and others) are also referred to in English as "city light railway," "light railway" and "light rail." The authors believe these are are misleading translations of chengshi tielu.
 單軌铁路 dāngǔi tiělù
Dāngǔi means "single-track," and tielu, as noted above, means "railway." Dāngǔi tiělù means "single-track [e.g. single-rail] railway." This is the "general" Chinese term for "monorail."
 轻便轨道 qīngbiàn gǔidào
Qingbian means "light," i.e. light duty or lightweight, and guidao means "tramway." Qingbian guidao has the nominal meaning "light railway," not necessarily limited to urban light rail transit.
 轻轨 qīnggǔi
Qinggui, an abbreviation of qingbian guidao, is used with reference to the new light rail line in Changchun. This line has low platforms and uses vehicles that appear compatible with in-street operation. Changchun also has a surviving "classic" urban tramway line. Planned light rail lines in Kaohsiung (Gaoxiong), Taiwan, are also described as qinggui.
 轨道交通 gǔidào jiāotōng
Guidao jiaotong has the nominal meaning "tramway transport" and is used with reference to urban rail ("mass transport" or "rapid transit") networks in general. In Chongqing, guidao jiaotong refers to the new monorail line. Other cities have described new metro lines built on viaduct as guidao jiaotong. Although described in English as "light rail" or "LRT," such lines are not compatible with in-street operation and are therefore better described as "light metro."
 快速 kuàisù
Kuaisu means "rapid."
 快速轨道 kuàisù gǔidào
Kuaisu guidao has the nominal meaning "express tramway." This term is used in Dalian with reference to the upgraded "classic" tramway. In Chongqing, this term refers to the monorail.
 快轨 kuàigǔi
Kuaigui, an abbreviation of kuaisu guidao, is used in Dalian with reference to the remaining (upgraded) tramway line.
kuàisù gǔidào jiāotōng
Kuaisu guidao jiaotong has the nominal meaning "express tramway transport." This term is used in Chongqing with reference to the monorail.