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Moscow Metro,(Russian:Моско́вский метрополите́н) which spans almost the entire Russian capital, is one of the world's most heavily used metro systems. It is well known for the ornate design of many of its stations, which contain beautiful examples of socialist realist art.

Description of the Metro[edit | edit source]

In total, the Moscow Metro has 278.8 km of route length, 12 lines and 172 stations; on a normal weekday it carries 8.2 million passengers. Passenger traffic is considerably lower on weekends bringing the average daily passenger traffic during the year to 7.1 million passengers per day. The Moscow Metro is a state-owned enterprise.

Each line is identified by an alphanumeric index (usually consisting of just a number), a name, and a color. The voice announcements refer to lines by name, while in colloquial usage they are mostly referred to by color, except the Lyublinskaya Line (number 10) and the Kakhovskaya Line (number 11) which have been assigned shades of green similar to that of the Zamoskvoretskaya Line (number 2). Most lines run radially through the city, except the Koltsevaya Line (number 5), which is a 20-km-long ring connecting all the radial lines and a few smaller lines outside. On all lines, travellers can determine the direction of the train by the gender of the announcer: on the ring line, a male voice indicates clockwise travel, and a female voice counter-clockwise. On the radial lines, travellers heading toward the centre of Moscow will hear male-voiced announcements, and travellers heading away will hear female-voiced announcements (a good mnemonic rule here is: ‘your boss calls you to work; your wife calls you home’). In addition, there is an abundance of signs showing all the stations that can be reached in a given direction.

The system was built almost entirely underground, although some lines (numbers 1, 2 and 4) cross the Moskva river, while line number 1 also crosses the Yauza River by bridge. Other exceptions include the Filyovskaya Line, which has a long surface section (seven stations) between Kievskaya and Molodyozhnaya stations, and the Butovskaya Light Metro Line (L1) with 4 elevated stations. Two more stations exist on surface level on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line and on the Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya Line

The Moscow Metro is open from about 5:30 until 1:00 (the opening time may vary at different stations according to first train schedule but all stations close for entrance simultaneously at 1:00). During peak hours, trains run roughly every 90 seconds on most lines. At other times during the day, they run about every two to three and a half minutes, and every six to ten minutes late at night. As trains are so frequent, there is no timetable available to passengers.

The Lines of the Moscow Metro[edit | edit source]

The colours in the table correspond to the colours of the lines in the map above.

Metro lines[edit | edit source]

Name Number
and colour
Cyrillic Name Line
Newest station
Length Stations
Sokolnicheskaya 1 Template:Lang 1935 1990 26.2 km 19
Zamoskvoretskaya 2 Template:Lang 1938 1985 36.9 km 20
Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya 3 Template:Lang 1938 2003 22.6 km 13
Filyovskaya 4 Template:Lang 1958 1 2006 19.0 km 15
Koltsevaya 5 Template:Lang 1950 1954 19.4 km 12
Kaluzhsko-Rizhskaya 6 Template:Lang 1958 1990 37.6 km 24
Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya 7 Template:Lang 1966 1975 35.9 km 19
Kalininskaya 8 Template:Lang 1979 1986 13.1 km 7
Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya 9 Template:Lang 1983 2002 41.5 km 25
Lyublinskaya 10 Template:Lang 1995 1999 17.6 km 10
Kakhovskaya 11 Template:Lang 1995 2 1969 3.4 km 3
Butovskaya L1* Template:Lang 2003 2003 5.5 km 5
Total: 278.8 km 172

Notes[edit | edit source]

1 – four central stations of Filyovskaya Line – Komintern, Arbatskaya, Smolenskaya and Kievskaya – were originally opened in 1935/37, when they were a branch of Sokolnicheskaya Line. Between 1938 and 1953, they were part of Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line. The stations were closed between 1953 and 1958 and then reopened as part of the (new) Filyovskaya Line.

2 – All 3 stations of the Kakhovskaya Line were built in 1969; initially, they were an integral part of the Zamoskovoretskaya Line until 1983, becoming a branch of it until 1995. In 1995, they were split off from the Zamoskovoretskaya Line and used to form the Kakhovskaya Line.

* – L in L1 does not stand for Light Rail but, somewhat confusingly, for "Light Metro" — lines that are built mainly above-ground. These lines, as a result, do not need expensive tunneling and are supposed to be financially "light". However, "light" and "normal" metro lines use interoperable rolling stock. See Butovskaya Light Metro Line for further explanation.

The 4.7 km, 6 station monorail line between Timiryazevskaya and VDNKh is currently in "excursion mode": trains leave once every 20 minutes, tickets cost about four times more than usual (50 roubles - about $1.70), and the hours of operation are 8:00-20:05. It is not yet known when (or whether) it will become fully operational.

Ticketing[edit | edit source]

Tickets are available for a fixed number of journeys, irrespective of the distance of travel and the number of lines changed. Monthly and yearly tickets are also available.

The Moscow Metro uses magnetic cards (contact cards) for tickets with a fixed number of journeys (up to 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 60 and 70 journeys for 30 days from the day of the first journey). Magnetic cards were introduced in 1993 as a test and were used as unlimited tickets between 1996 and 1998. The sale of magnetic cards will stop in 2008. In January 2007, Moscow Metropolitan began replacing magnetic cards with fixed number of journeys by contacless cards. Since January 20 2007 contacless cards are available for 10, 20 and 60 journeys versions. Smartcards are being used in Moscow Metro since 1998 and are called Transport Cards. Transport Cards was available as 'unlimited' and 'social' tickets. The unlimited card can be programmed for 30, 90, and 365 days. The social cards are free for pensioners and other privileged citizens of the City of Moscow; they are available to school pupils and students at a heavily reduced price. Transport Cards were introduced in 1998 along with a new type of magnetic card. The Moscow Metro became the first metro system in Europe to fully implement smartcards on September 1 1998. The sale of tokens ended on 1 January 1999 and they stopped being accepted in February 1999.

History[edit | edit source]

File:Russia Moscow Metro Oktiabrskaja.jpg

Kurskaya Koltsevaya Station

The Moscow Metro was initially built under the 1930s Moscow general plan designed by Lazar Kaganovich and was named after him ("Metropoliten im. L.M. Kaganovicha").[1]

The first line opened on 15 May 1935 between Sokolniki and Park Kultury with a branch to Smolenskaya which reached Kievskaya in April 1937 (crossing the Moskva river by bridge). The construction of the first stations was based on other underground systems, and only a few original designs were allowed: (Krasniye Vorota, Okhotniy Ryad and Kropotkinskaya). Kievskaya station was the first to use national motifs.

File:Soldiers moscow metro.jpg

Soldiers helping with construction of the Metro

The second stage was completed before the war. In March 1938 the Arbatskaya branch was split in two and extended to Kurskaya station (now the dark-blue Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line). In September 1938 the Gorkovskaya Line opened between Sokol and Teatralnaya. Here the architecture was based on the most popular of the stations already in existence (Krasniye Vorota, Okhotnyi Ryad and Kropotkinskaya) and the compositions followed the popular art deco style, though merging it with socialist visions. The first deep level Column station Mayakovskaya was built at the same time.

Building work on the third stage was delayed but not interrupted during the World War II, and two Metro sections were put into service: Teatralnaya - Avtozavodskaya (3 stations, crossing the Moskva river in a deep tunnel) and Kurskaya - Partizanskaya (4 stations) were inaugurated in 1943 and 1944 respectively. War motifs replaced socialist visions in the architectural design of the stations.

During the Siege of Moscow, in the autumn and winter of 1941, metro stations were used as air-raid shelters and the Council of Ministers moved its offices to the platforms of Mayakovskaya, where Stalin made public speeches on several occasions. Chistiye Prudy station was also walled off and the headquarters of the Air Defence installed there.

After the war, construction started on the fourth stage of the Metro, which included the Koltsevaya Line and a deep part of the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line from Ploshchad Revolyutsii to Kievskaya, and a surface extension to Pervomaiskaya in the early 1950s. The exquisite decoration and design of so much of the Moscow Metro is considered to have reached its peak in these stations.

The Koltsevaya Line was planned first as a line running under the Sadovoye Koltso (Garden Ring), a wide avenue encircling the borders of Moscow's city centre. The first part of the line - from Park Kultury to Kurskaya (1950) - follows this avenue. But later plans were changed and the northern part of the ring line deviates 1-1.5 km outside the Sadovoye Koltso, thus providing service for 7 (out of 9) rail terminals. The next part of the Koltsevaya line opened in 1952 (Kurskaya - Belorusskaya) and in 1954 the ring line was completed.

There is an interesting urban legend about the origin of the ring line. A group of engineers approached Stalin with plans for the Metro, to inform him of current progress and of what was being done at that moment. As he looked at the drawings, Stalin poured himself some coffee and spilt a small amount over the edge of the cup. When he was asked whether or not he liked the project so far, he put his cup down on the centre of the Metro blueprints and left in silence. The bottom of the cup left a brown circle on the drawings. The planners looked at it and realized that it was exactly what they had been missing. Taking it as a sign of Stalin's genius, they gave orders for the building of the ring line, which on the plans was always printed in brown. This legend, of course, may be attributed to Stalin's cult of personality.

File:Moscow Metro, Kievskaya station.jpg

Kievskaya Koltsevaya station

The beginning of the Cold War led to the construction of a deep part of the Arbatskiy line. The stations on this line are very deep and were planned as shelters in the event of nuclear war. After finishing the line in 1953, the upper tracks between Ploshchad Revolyutsii' and Kievskaya were closed and later reopened in 1958 as a part of the Filyovskaya Line. In the further development of the Metro, the term "stages" was not used any more, although sometimes the stations opened in 1957-1959 are referred to as the "fifth stage".

During the late 1950s, the architectural extravagance of new metro stations was significantly toned down, and decorations at some stations, like VDNKh and Alexeyevskaya, were greatly simplified compared with original plans. This was done on the orders of Nikita Khrushchev, who favoured a more spartan decoration scheme. A typical layout (which quickly became known as "Sorokonozhka" ("centipede")) was developed for all new stations, and the stations were built to look almost identical, differing from each other only in colours of the marble and ceramic tiles. Most of these stations were very poorly built. It was not until the mid-1970s that architectural extravagance was restored, and original designs once again became popular.

Since September 2005, the Filyovskaya Line has had a branch to the Moscow International Business Center. The first station of the branch, Delovoy Tsentr, opened in September 2005; the second station, Mezhdunarodnaya, opened in September 2006.

Interesting facts about the system[edit | edit source]

File:Train in Moscow metro.jpg

The ornate museum-like interiors of Arbatskaya Station on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line.

The Moscow Metro has a broad gauge of 1520 mm, like ordinary Russian railways, and a third rail supply of 825V AC. The average distance between stations is 1800 m, the shortest (502 metres) section being between Delovoy Center and Mezhdunarodnaya and the longest (3,413 metres) between Volgogradskiy Prospekt and Tekstilshchiki. The long distances between stations have the positive effect of a commercial cruising speed of 41.6 km/h.

Since the beginning of Moscow metro, platforms have been built to be at least 155 m long, so as to accommodate for 8-car trains. The only exceptions are certain stations of Filyovskaya line: Delovoi Tsentr, Mezhdunarodnaya, Studencheskaya, Kutuzovskaya, Fili, Bagrationovskaya, Filyovsky Park, Pionerskaya, which only allow for six-car trains (note that this list includes all of ground-level stations of Filyovskaya line, except Kuntsevskaya).

Trains on lines 2, 6, 7 and 9 consist of 8 cars, on lines 1, 3, 8, 10 of 7 cars and on lines 4, 5 and 11 of 6 cars. All cars (both older E-series and newer 81-series) are 19.6 m long with four doors on either side.

The Moscow Metro train is identical to those used in all other ex-Soviet Metro cities (St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Minsk, Kiev, Kharkov, etc.) and in Budapest, Prague, Sofia and Warsaw.

Line L1 is called the "Light metro". It was designed to its own standards and has shorter (96 m) platforms. It employs newer Rusich trains, which consist of 3 articulated cars, but it can also be served by traditional 4-car trains. Rolling stock on the Filyovskaya Line is also replaced with 4-car Rusich trains.


Originally developed for the Light Metro lines, the Rusich trains, on the left, now can be found on the oldest stations, among the oldest serving E-series cars

The Moscow metro currently comprises 172 stations, of which 71 are deep-level, and 87 are shallow. Of the deep stations, 54 are pylon-type, 16 are column-type and one is "single-vault" (Leningrad technology). The shallow stations compromise 65 of the pillar-type (a large portion of them following the infamous "sorokonozhka" design), 19 "single-vaults" (Kharkov technology) and 3 single-decked. In addition there are ten ground-level stations and four above ground. Two of the stations exist as double halls, and two have three tracks. Five of the stations have side platforms (only one of them-subterranean). The station Vorobyovy Gory is situated on a bridge. Three other metro bridges exist, but are covered or hidden. In addition there are two closed stations and one that is derelict.

There are also 4 stations, reserved for future service: Volokolamskaya of Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya line, Delovoy Center of Kalininskaya and Solntsevskaya lines and Park Pobedy of Solntsevskaya line. Besides these, there are also 2 abandoned stations: old Kaluzhskaya and old Pervomayskaya.

Numbers of Moscow Metro[edit | edit source]

Latest numbers from official site.

Passengers 2603.2 million passengers
— paid a trip 1958.6 million passengers
Average number of passengers per day 7132.1 thousand passengers
Revenue from fares 15997.4 million rubles
Route length 278.8 km
Number of lines 12
Longest line Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Line (41.2 km)
Shortest line Kakhovskaya Line (3.3 km)
Longest section Volgogradskiy ProspektTekstilshchiki (3.4 km)
Shortest section Delovoy TsentrMezhdunarodnaya (502 m)
Number of stations 172
— transfer stations 57
— transfer points 26
— surface/elevated 14
Deepest station Park Pobedy (84 m)
Most shallow underground station Pechatniki
Station with the longest platform Vorobyevy Gory (282 m)
Number of stations with a single entrance 69
Total number of entrances 264
Number of turnstiles 2426
Number of escalators 616
— including Monorail stations 18
Total length of all escalator 65.1 km
Number of depots 15
Total number of train runs per day 9702
Average speed:  
— commercial 41.57 km/h
— technical 48.85 km/h
Total number of cars (average per day) 4415
Cars in service (average per day) 3379
Total run of cars 669.3 million car-kilometers
— with passengers 641.6 million car-kilometers
Average run of cars per day 542.6 car-kilometers
Average passengers per car 53 people
Longest escalator 126 m (Park Pobedy)
Total number of ventilation shafts 393
Number of local ventilation systems in use 4965
Number of medical assistance points 46
Total number of employees 35029 people
— males 17651 people
— females 17378 people
Timetable fulfillment 99.94 %
Minimum average interval 90 sec
Average passenger trip 13.0 km

Metro 2[edit | edit source]

Main article: Moscow Metro 2

Although this has not been officially confirmed, many independent studies suggest that a second, deeper metro system exists under military jurisdiction and is designed for emergency evacuation of key city personnel in case of attack. It is believed that it consists of a single track and connects the Kremlin, chief HQ (Genshtab), Lubyanka (FSB Headquarters) and the Ministry of Defence, as well as numerous other secret installations. There are also entrances Template:Fact to the system from several civilian buildings such as the Russian State Library, Moscow State University (MSU) and at least two stations of the regular metro.Template:Fact It is speculated that these would allow for the evacuation of a small number of randomly chosen civilians, in addition to most of the elite military personnel. The only known junction between the secret system and normal Metro is behind the station Sportivnaya of the Sokolnicheskaya Line. The final section of this system was completed in 1997.([2])

Fatal incidents[edit | edit source]

Although the Metro is a complex system, it has a very low rate of accidents. It is important to note, however, that the Soviet media very rarely reported disasters. For example, on March 30, 1983, several passengers were killed when two trains collided in the Belorusskaya station on the Koltsevaya Line. A senior official of the Moscow metro told foreign reporters there had been no accident and that the closing of the station had been due to a breakdown of rolling stock.

Terrorist bombing of 1977[edit | edit source]

On January 8, 1977, a bomb was reported to have killed seven and seriously injured 33. It went off on a crowded train passing the tunnel between Izmailovskaya and Pervomaiskaya stations [3] [4] [5]. Three Armenians were later arrested, charged and executed in connection with the incident. (Oberg 104).

Station fires of 1981[edit | edit source]

In June 1981, seven bodies were seen being taken out of Oktyabrskaya station during a fire at the station. A fire was also reported at Prospekt Mira station around that time. [1]

Escalator accident of 1982[edit | edit source]

A fatal accident took place on 17 February 1982 due to an escalator collapse at the Aviamotornaya station of the Kalininskaya Line. That day 8 people lost their lives, and 30 more were seriously injured, due to the pile-up caused by the faulty emergency brakes. [6]

As evening rush-hour approached, the escalator #4 was turned on at 16:30 Moscow time. As the first commuters began to use it to descend, a poorly attached step came loose, completing the cycle of coming all the way down and then back up on the opposite end of the chain. At 17:00 as it passed the upper mechanism, it got stuck and deformed the upper working gears and rods. This broke the clutch between the driving gears of the engine, and the thread, now free to move in any direction, began to accelerate from the weight of the passengers. Automatically the engine was immediately turned off and the brakes were applied. However, the standard working brakes lacked the strength to stop the momentum of the thread (heavily laden with passengers at this rush-hour), or even to reduce its acceleration.

For such a case, all escalators are equipped with additional emergency brakes, and Aviamotornaya's escalators had received completely new models three months prior. Moreover, two days before the accident, there had been a routine safety check, which found that the emergency brakes were incorrectly configured throughout; after necessary amendments, a simulation deemed all of the four escalators' emergency brakes to be satisfactory.

However, that was not the case; the chief mechanic in charge had lacked the correct instructions on how to install the new brakes (which were being introduced on all escalators in the Metro at the time) on the particular escalator model that Aviamotornaya had. The resulting wrong configuration in both mechanism and circuitry did not allow for them to automatically turn on. Even when the escalator supervisor saw that the thread had accelerated to 2.4 times faster than its maximum rate and attempted to manually operate the brakes, nothing happened. 110 seconds after it began, the accident was over.

The state-controlled Soviet press with the exception of one newspaper made no reference to the event. This resulted in thousands of rumours and panic immediately spreading throughout the city. Despite their persistence, no person was actually sucked into the machine bay. All of the eight casualties were crushed at the base of the escalator by other passengers who did not have time to move away, forming a bundle. Some did attempt to jump out of the way by climbing onto the balustrade, but the thin plastic coating could not withstand the weight and collapsed (thus the rumours), yet those that did fall through would have hit a solid concrete foundation with no moving parts of any sort a few metres under the balustrade, with most suffering minor injuries.

As the wounded were carried off, at 17:10 the station was put on exit only and at 17:35 closed altogether. Immediately an investigation was launched, where it was determined that the speedometer was wrongly wired to the emergency brake and that all of the three other escalators at the station were prone to similar disaster.

Recent events[edit | edit source]

On February 6, 2004, an explosion wrecked a train between Avtozavodskaya and Paveletskaya stations on line 2 of the metro, killing 42 and wounding 250. Chechen terrorists were immediately blamed. Later investigation concluded that a Karachay-Cherkessian resident, an Islamic militant, had committed a suicide bombing.

On March 19, 2006 at 14:29msk (1129 GMT), a pile from the unauthorized construction of a billboard was driven into the tunnel and train between the Sokol and Voikovskaya stations on the Zamoskvoretskaya Line. No injuries were reported.

Expansion plans[edit | edit source]

Official site. As of 2007-2009 metro expansion program.

2007[edit | edit source]

Chkalovskaya - Trubnaya (Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya Line central section), 3.72km, 2 stations
Sretenskiy Bulvar

Park Pobedy - Strogino (Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line Strogino section), 11.5km, 2 stations

2008[edit | edit source]

Slavyanskiy Bulvar (Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line Strogino section), 1 station
— between Park Pobedy and Kuntsevskaya

Technopark (Zamoskvoretskaya Line), 1 station
— between Avtozavodskaya and Kolomenskaya

2009[edit | edit source]

Trubnaya - Marina Roshcha (Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya Line central section), 2.98km, 2 stations
Marina Roshcha

Strogino - Volokolamskaya (Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line Mitino section), 4.2km, 2 stations

2010[edit | edit source]

Ulitsa Starokachalovskaya - Bittsevsky Park (Butovskaya Line), 5.0km, 1 station

Marino - Zyablikovo (Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya Line), 4.33km, 3 stations

Krasnogvardeyskaya - Brateyevo (Zamoskvoretskaya Line), 2.9km, 1 station

2011[edit | edit source]

Volokolamskaya - Mitino (Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line Mitino section), 4.3km, 1 station

Novogireevo - Novokosino (Kalininskaya Line), 3.23km, 1 station

2012[edit | edit source]

Vykhino - Zhulebino (Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya Line), 3.38km, 1 station

2013[edit | edit source]

Marina Roshcha - Likhobory (Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya Line central section), 8.04km, 4 stations
Butyrskiy Khutor

Solntsevskaya Line, 11.95km, 6 stations

2014[edit | edit source]

Buninskaya Alleya - Novokuryanovo (Butovskaya Line), 5.0km, 3 stations
Ulitsa Staropotapovskaya
Ulitsa Ostafyevskya

See also[edit | edit source]

Primary source[edit | edit source]

  • Oberg, James E. Uncovering Soviet Disasters:Exploring the Limits of Glasnost. New York:Random House, 1988.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. UPI. "7 Die in Moscow Subway Fire" New York Times:12 Jun. 1981

External links[edit | edit source]

Template:Ru icon Official Website
Template:Ru icon — Information, history, maps, art
Template:Ru icon MetroWalks Moscow Photos of all metro station
Template:Ru icon — Lines, stations, plans, articles
Template:Ru icon Моё Метро ("My Metro") — Stations, cars, links
Template:Ru icon Metronews — News of Moscow metropolitan
Template:En icon Moscow Metro
Template:Hu icon 81-717 Pictures about 81-717 type trains
Template:En icon UrbanRail.Net
Template:En icon Moscow Metro Photos — "faithful rendering of the decorations of the Moscow metro, through some 450 photos and 27 panoramas"

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