The Moscow Metro, with its elaborate station designs and intricate system may be considered a destination in itself. Second only to Tokyo’s subways in terms of usage and passenger numbers, the Moscow Metro truly reflects the culture and style of Russia’s capital.
Buried almost 85 metres underground, Park Pobedy (Victory Park), is one of the deepest stations in the world and is by far the deepest station in Moscow. Most other stations rarely exceed 50 meters. The deepest station in the world is Arsenalnaya Station on the Kiev Metro in Ukraine sitting 105.5 metres underground. Park Pobedy (Victory Park) is on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line and opened on May 6, 2003.
Sitting a mere 5 meters below the surface is Pechatniki station. Astoundingly even a part of its roof pokes out a few meters above ground. Although this may sound unsafe, extra care was taken to backfill the site during construction. The station hall is divided into a light-coloured pedestrian zone with white walls and a darker train zone with grey and black marble track walls.
Opened in 1959, Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills) is not only Moscow’s longest station but also the world’s first subway station to be built on top of a bridge over water. Including the approach corridors, Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills) on the Sokolniki line stretches 284 meters. It takes 4 minutes to walk from one end of the platform to the other.
Komsomolskaya station on the Circle line was conceived to serve as a gateway to Moscow. It was planned and built with the purpose of stunning an arriving visitors by the majesty and power of the Soviet capital. Therefore, no expense was spared; and so the extravagance can be seen everywhere. The diameter of the central tunnel, at 11.5 meters, exceeds the standard by a full 2 meters and the station has the highest ceiling in Moscow’s subway. The ceilings are decorated with eight mosaic panels made of smalt and precious stones.
Moscow Metro’s narrowest station of the Moscow Metro is Volgogradsky Prospect on the Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya line. The station has a non-standard platform width and distance between station columns of just 4 meters. As with many Moscow stations, the architecture is beautiful, Volgogradsky Prospect station features white marble columns, a grey granite floor and an embossed ceiling. The track walls are faced with white glazed ceramic tiles and decorated with metal panels depicting the Battle of Stalingrad of 1942–1943.
Alexandrovsky Sad on the Filevskaya line boasts a steep radius of curvature: a full 750 meters. The Moscow Metro is home to five other stations with arc-shaped platforms: Pyatnitskoe Shosse, Kutuzovskaya, Zyablikovo, Mezhdunarodnaya, and Vystavochnaya, but their curvature is less pronounced. Every time a train departs, the supervisor inspects the end of the train from the middle of the platform, because the rear compartments are not visible from the driver’s cab. The train can only depart when permission has been granted by the supervisor.
The frequent changes of political fortune in the 20th century led many stations to lose their names when a prominent figure would become an enemy of the people. The most frequent victim of the changes in the political elite was Okhotny Ryad station on the Sokolniki line. The station’s name has changed at least four times. After being Okhotny Ryad station for the first 20 years of its existence the name was changed in 1955 to Imeni Kaganovicha in honour of Lazar Kaganovich on a Stalin main associate. However, two years later, when Kaganovich was declared a member of an anti-Party group, the station was quickly renamed back to Okhotny Ryad. In 1961, as part of the renaming of several streets in Moscow, the station was renamed Prospekt Marksa in honour of Karl Marx. Finally, in June 1990 the original name was restored.
The Moscow Metro’s longest run exists between Strogino and Krylatskoe stations. Trains cover the 6.625 km stretch between them in 7 minutes.
The honour of being the busiest station belongs to Vykhino at the end of the Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya line. Official data, states that the passenger traffic exceeds 170,000 people a day. At rush hour, the entire station is packed, and passengers who manage to get to the platform generally have to wait for the second or third train before boarding.
Spartak station on the Tagansko-Kasnopresnenskaya line holds the record for the longest construction period. Laid almost 40 years ago in 1975, it still hasn’t been opened. Spartak station was originally intended to serve residents around Tushino airfield, but the housing project was abandoned and with its plans for the station. The Mayor’s Office decided to resume work on the construction of Spartak, which will now serve the new Open Arena soccer stadium. According to the construction plans, the station will carry its first passengers in March 2014.
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