Get your Crapdogs and VD in Kiev

There are plenty of foreign names that look funny to an outsider – I found a few in Kiev.

What looks like 'Crapdogs' is actually 'Stardogs'

What looks like ‘Crapdogs’ is actually ‘Stardogs’ in Ukrainian – the Cyrillic script shares enough characters to throw off a native reader of Latin script.

Unfortunately named store 'VD One' in Kiev

But I can’t explain this unfortunately named men’s clothing store 'VD One'.

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‘You break it, you buy it’ at Russian restaurants

Restaurant menus around the world are usually pretty simple, but in Russia and other post-Soviet countries restaurants often include something extra – a section titled «бой посуды» (“battle dishes”).

'Killfish Discount Bar' doesn't sound dodgy at all!

I first noticed it on the menu for a Russian chain called “Killfish Discount Bar”.


Контейнер для соуса 5 р.
Ланч-бокс 7 р.
Контейнер для супа 7 р.
Бутылка пластиковая 1л 15 р.
Бой посуды 100 р.

Translated to English.


Sauce container 5 р.
Lunch box 7 р.
Soup container 7 р.
1L plastic bottle 15 р.
Fight dishes 100 р.

But I soon found more examples of “battle dishes” online – like this restaurant with a complete price listing of different pieces of crockery and glassware.


A glass of wine 100 rubles.
Champagne glass 100 rubles.
salad bowl 100 rubles.
Set dllya spices 200 rubles.
Plate curly 150 rubles.
Plate Pie Shop 150 rubles.
Hot Plate (large) 200 rubles.
coffee pair 150 rubles.
Tea pair 150 rubles.
kremanki 100 rubles.
Juice jug 150 rubles.
Martinka, cognac glass 100 rubles.
High ball 100 rubles.
pile 50 rubles.
A glass of beer 0.33 100 rubles.
Beer Mug 0.5 100 rubles.

And another:

Fight dishes
Name Count Price
Martini glass 1 PC. 200 rubles.
Glass 1 PC. 50 rubles.
Brandy glass 1 PC. 200 rubles.
Wine glass 1 PC. 150 rubles.
Champagne glass 1 PC. 150 rubles.
Glass 1 PC. 100 rubles.
Plate small (square) 1 PC. 300 rubles.
Plate large (square) 1 PC. 450 rubles.
salad bowl square 1 PC. 350 rubles.
Plate small (round) 1 PC. 150 rubles.
Plate large (round) 1 PC. 200 rubles.
oval Dish 1 PC. 450 rubles.
tureen large 1 PC. 250 rubles.
tureen small 1 PC. 200 rubles.
Pot roast under 1 PC. 150 rubles.
Decanters 1 PC. 250 rubles.
Ceramic teapot 1 PC. 350 rubles.
Teapot with a candle 1 PC. 1500 rubles.
Beer mug 1 PC. 130 rubles.
Tea pair 1 PC. 300 rubles.
Coffee pair 1 PC. 200 rubles.

So the meaning of “battle dishes” is now clearer – it’s a ‘you break it, you buy it’ rule that restaurants in post-Soviet countries apply to customers who damage glassware or crockery.

Belarusian news agency Интерфакс-Запад has an article on the topic:

Restaurant “embarrassment”: who is responsible for the broken dishes and lost numbered?

The broken glass at a restaurant, or a lost ticket for a nightclub can cause numerous problems for the originator of “embarrassment.” We asked for advice from the chief legal adviser of the Center of legal services Alexey Nesterenko , which gave answers to vital questions.

When a visitor to blame?

If you broke an ashtray, a broken chair or table, floor or walls spoiled institutions, which have come to rest, then reimburse such damage to you will be required to complete the program. Especially if your wine is discreet in your actions. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that wine can be expressed in the form of intent, as well as in the form of negligence. And even if you are carried away in conversation and, waving his hands over the table, knocked over a glass on the floor, then the damage will be considered as caused by negligence. But it’s your fault, too. The arguments that you did it by accident, do not release you from the responsibility for the damage caused.

Who will prove the guilt?

Often the question is whether or not the visitor guilt of causing any damage to the institution is quite controversial. Each side insists on its right. If a visitor refuses to compensate for the damage caused on a voluntary basis, the institution may apply to the court with a claim for damages. In court, the institution will have to prove the fact of causing damage to the visitor, and the visitor, respectively, the absence of guilt in causing harm.

How much you have to pay for the broken glass?

Another question that often arises in such cases, – the size of the material requirements, claimed as redress. In some schools, you can see the inscription that for broken dishes visitor pays double (triple) cost of broken dishes. According to Part. 1, Art. 933 of the Civil Code of Belarus the harm caused to the person or property of the citizen, as well as damage caused to the property of a legal entity shall be compensated in full by the person who caused the damage. This means that the damage to be compensated in the amount of actual damage caused, but no more.

The requirement places for damages in a larger size is not based on legal norms. If the visitor has pleaded guilty to causing harm, but does not agree with the size requirements of the claimed institution, it may refuse to reimburse the damages in the amount specified. In this case, the institution will have to be in court to confirm the validity of the claimed size requirements.

What if I need the money for the broken plate?

In any case, if you have something broken, broken, or messed up and did not find a common language with the administration of places, remember that force you to force to pay the amount of compensation for harm anyone (including the police) can not otherwise by the court.

If you disagree with the requirements of the institution, then proceed as follows:

– Require the Book of comments and suggestions, leave it in the record of the incident;
– Demand from the administration of the institution making the act of property damage with an indication of its value, which is required to describe their vision of the incident, as well as the reasons and arguments of his innocence ;
– Enlist the support of at least two witnesses to the incident;
– Inform the institution that you are not going to compensate the damage voluntarily (or plan only if your guilt is proven in court).

And if the administration institution considers it necessary, it may apply to the court. Also, remember that you are not required to give any (except the police), and furthermore pledge his passport. If the staff places will let you leave it, the use of physical force immediately call up the police.

In the above situation, it is important to behave in a correct and very reserved to employees of institutions have failed to give your actions for bullying and that to civil law does not conflict joined the administrative or criminal law.

What threatens the deliberate fight for utensils?

If you are carousing in a restaurant, we decided to entertain his friends fireworks of broken glass, it should be remembered that according to the Code of the Republic of Belarus “On Administrative Offences” intentional destruction or damage to property caused damage in a small amount, is an administrative offense entailing a fine of from thirty to fifty base units.

If the loss of a significant size, then your actions fall under the article of the Criminal Code providing for a sentence of community service, or a fine, or correctional labor for up to two years, or arrest for up to three months, or restriction of freedom for up to two years . Moreover, depending on the circumstances, your actions can be classified as hooliganism, which also entails criminal liability.

I also found this piece on the “battle dishes” practice, written by a Ukrainian restaurant equipment company.

Fight dishes in the restaurant who beats who pays?

Fight dishes in catering establishments is inevitable, of course, if we do not take into account small snack or point of fast food, which is used exclusively cardboard or plastic, not porcelain or glass. Fight dishes – it’s always unplanned expenses and waste, because without tableware glass and the bar is not exactly do in a restaurant.

For the restaurateur:

Fight ware entails a number of issues: the account settings, write-off, and, of course, damages. In each institution, these problems can be solved in different ways, some places completely repaid at a restaurant, at the same time “price list battlefield ware” may be included in the menu along with dishes, utensils or payment bat separately for a specified sum.

In some restaurants the battle of dishes restaurant paid independently by debiting. In such cases, the amount can in a certain amount of partially charged to the waiters or the amount depends on the “guilt” of staff.
If the restaurant introduced a fight payment dishes waiters, in such cases, usually the managers responsibility to keep track of how many counts each employee glasses and plates.

A number of restaurants operating a combined compensation mode utensils battle. If blame the waiter in the broken glasses or plates, it shall reimburse the amount if the guest is to blame for this fight, returns damage to a guest.

For waiters:

In each restaurant, as we have already pointed out, the waiter compensated battle dishes differently, it all depends on the restaurant or cafe policy. In one institution fixed amount that must be paid for the battle of dishes, regardless of the actual damage, the other waiters pay only brought damage to the restaurant, and the waiters do not have to in the third restaurant to return the money at all.

For diners:

With respect to the price list on the battle of dishes in the restaurant’s menu is not always unambiguous for all guests. Visiting various forums on the Internet, you may encounter the opposite opinion. Some believe that the menu at the battle of dishes – a sign of status places, while others say – it’s a sign of bad taste restaurateur.

From a legal point of view, the guest is obliged to pay for the damaged property, to pay damages. Of course, if you deny the fact that the battle of dishes your fault, restaurant staff must provide evidence of your guilt. It may be witnesses or video. If the evidence is not will – the guest is obliged to pay is not.

A most curious situation, and one that seems to be limited to post-Soviet countries.

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Farewell to the Chernobyl sarcophagus

For thirty years Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant has lay beneath a massive steel and concrete sarcophagus, protecting the outside world from any further radioactive contamination following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. But 2016 has seen this iconic scene change forever, with the completion of the New Safe Confinement structure.

Approaching the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant complex from the south

Wikipedia has a history of the sarcophagus.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sarcophagus or Shelter Object (Ukrainian: Об’єкт “Укриття”) is a massive steel and concrete structure covering the nuclear reactor No. 4 building of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The design of the sarcophagus started on May 20, 1986, 24 days after the disaster. Subsequent construction lasted for 206 days, from June to late November of the same year.

The Object Shelter was never intended to be a permanent containment structure. On December 22, 1988, Soviet scientists announced that the sarcophagus would only last 20–30 years before requiring restorative maintenance work.

In 1998, with the help of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a conservation programme was completed which included securing the roof beams from collapsing. Nonetheless the rain-induced corrosion of supporting beams still threatens the sarcophagus’s integrity.

When I visited Chernobyl in 2012 the Object Shelter was still in place, with work well underway on the replacement New Safe Confinement structure.

Standing 300 metres from the sarcophagus over Chernobyl reactor 4

History of the New Safe Confinement.

The NSC is designed to contain the radioactive remains of Chernobyl Unit 4 for the next 100 years. It is also intended to allow the present sarcophagus to be dismantled.

In 1992, Ukraine’s government held an international competition for proposals to replace the hastily constructed sarcophagus. The study selected a sliding arch proposal as the best solution for further investigations and recommendations, primarily to reduce the chance of the construction workers receiving a harmful dose of radiation.

The New Safe Confinement (NSC) was originally intended to be completed in 2005, but the project has suffered lengthy delays. In June 2003 the projected completion date was slated for February 2008.

An international tender for NSC design and construction was announced in 2004, with a French consortium named Novarka winning the deal in 2007, with construction commencing in 2010.

By 2015 the structure was well underway.

New Safe Confinement under construction in April 2015. Seen are the two sections joined together and nearing completion (Tim Porter, via Wikimedia Commons)
Tim Porter, via Wikimedia Commons

November 2016 saw completion of the New Safe Confinement structure, with it being moved into place over the sarcophagus over a fifteen day period.

Farewell to the Chernobyl sarcophagus, and onto the next stage of the cleanup process.

Further reading

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Mobile coffee trucks on the streets of Kiev

Before I visited Kiev I never thought that it would be a city that takes coffee seriously, but it appears that the local residents love to drink the stuff – coffee trucks fill the streets.

Another mobile coffee truck in Kiev

Outside metro stations, beside parks, and in residents streets – there was no end to where I found them!

Food and coffee trucks parked outside a suburban Metro station

In 2012 Forbes listed coffee in their top five things to do in Ukraine.

You can get really good coffee in Ukraine, Turkish style, Americana, or whatever you prefer. These days you can see random coffee trucks in the streets selling real cappuccino and espresso drinks, in addition to regular coffee.

With coffee trucks also noted by the reporter from the Chicago Tribune who visited Kiev in 2015.

It is impossible to walk more than a block along any commercial street in Kiev without encountering at least two — but more often four or more coffee trucks or kiosks and cafes in a row.

On a street leading to St. Michael’s Cathedral in the administrative sector of the city, I counted 12 coffee trucks lined up in less than half a city block. I encountered three parked in front of a small playground; and four on a street flanking Kiev’s Golden Gate Museum, which was the western city gate when it was built in the 11th century.

But the granddaddy of them all was a double-decker coffee bus painted with cafe scenes that was parked just off Lavivska Square off busy Artema Street, a location that links business and residential districts.

But in December 2015 city hall cracked down on the vendors.

The Ukrainian capital is a coffee-lovers’ paradise, with the streets dotted with more than 1,500 trucks serving drinks to a city with a growing love of caffeine.

But officials in Kiev have recently tightened the regulations, increasing red tape and running costs for these roadside baristas in a move which could put many of them out of business.

Maxim Rozhin had been selling coffee for 18 months when officials turned up and seized the vehicle without any explanation.

“It was 4:00 pm. The truck was parked when about 10 people arrived. They surrounded it and took it away,” the 34-year-old told AFP.

Rozhin said he had submitted all the necessary documents to operate his coffee truck but said the authorities “were asking for more” — namely, a sticker ‘proving’ that he had gone through a newly-established auction procedure in order to be able to trade there.

In August , new regulations came into force requiring coffee truck owners to bid for the rights to sell at a certain spot, in a move the city hopes will help fill its coffers.

“If we want Kiev to be a European city, then there needs to be clear regulations,” Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said in a statement.

“Coffee trucks and kiosks cannot just set up wherever they want and not contribute to the budget.”

So far, more than 230 spots have been sold in two rounds of actions, with prices running from 4,388 to 361,000 hryvnias ($200 to $16,000/175 to 14,500 euros) per spot, city hall said.

Until the new measures came in to place, traders paid nothing and only a small amount in tax, with city hall earning a modest 500,000 hryvnias ($22,000/20,000 euros) from the coffee business over the past three years.

Now it is expecting to bring in millions.

But the crackdown was short lived – the scene as of June 2016 was a stalemate between the two sides.

Now the pink snails and other coffee trucks — licensed and unlicensed — are returning to city sidewalks. So far local authorities have refrained from another crackdown, and some baristas have become more mobile, changing spots regularly.


According to this piece, coffee trucks first appeared on the streets of the Kiev in 2008. They sure spread fast!

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Smoking in the former Soviet Union

Cigarettes are dirt cheap all across the former Soviet Union, hence why smoking is so prolific.

Cigarettes for sale in Kiev, around 7 and 30 Ukrainian hryvnia a packet

In Kiev I found cigarette packs for sale between 7 and 30 Ukrainian hryvnia – about US$0.85 to US$3.70!

Cigarette displays above the cash registers in a Russian supermarket

And cigarette displays were in prime positing is stores – such as above the cash registers in this Saint Petersburg supermarket.

But the final oddity was the promo girls spruiking cigarettes in Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport.

Russian promo girls spruik cigarettes

Have you tried the fresh new taste of our latest cancer sticks?

"Have you tried the fresh new taste of our latest cancer sticks?"

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Graffitied trains on the Bucharest Metro

When I rode the metro system in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, there was one thing that struck me about the trains – how graffiti covered they are.

Line M4 passengers change for line M1 trains at Basarab station

I initially through it was a deliberate decision by Metrorex, who operate the network, but turns out they are just too cheap to clean up the mess.

Craig Turp, author of the Bucharest Life blog, had this to say in 2012:

Romanian cable news channel Digi 24 recently broadcast a documentary film about the vandals responsible for defacing Bucharest’s metro trains.

There are a number of genuinely shocking things about the film, not the least of which is the fact that vandals are coming from far and wide to piss all over the Bucharest metro: two little hooligans interviewed in the film came from France with the sole purpose of vandalising metro trains. While we welcome all tourists to Bucharest, we would rather they carried out legal activities.

Secondly, the boss of Metrorex – which operates the metro – Gheorghe Udriste, admits in the film that the authorities have had to stop cleaning the defaced metro carriages, as the cost of doing so is too high.

For me the odd bit was that only the older Astra IVA trains (built between 1976 and 1992) were covered in graffiti.

Astra IVA train arrives into the line M4 platforms at Basarab

While the newer Bombardier Movia trains (delivered between 2002 and 2008) are spotless.

Bombardier Movia 346 train #2110 arrives into Dristor 2 station

The same contrast is seen inside the trains – old and dirty.

Cab end of the Astra IVA train saloon on the Bucharest Metro

Versus new and clean.

Looking down a Bombardier Movia 346 trainset on the Bucharest Metro

I wonder why there is such a contrast between the two types – perhaps the older trains are just resigned to their fate?

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When bike paths meet a railway level crossing

Recently I asked myself the question – how does a bike path cross a railway? When a road does the same thing, a level crossing has to be built – but I had to look to the Netherlands – world leader in cycling infrastructure – to see what a level crossing for bikes looks like.

Railway level crossing in the Dutch town of Maastricht (photo by Mark Ahsmann, via Wikimedia Commons)
Photo by Mark Ahsmann, via Wikimedia Commons

Our first example is at Wezep, a town in the Dutch province of Gelderland. Here the two lane road is flanked by a bidirectional off-road bike path on both sides, with a pair of ‘half’ boom barriers blocking motorists driving on the right hand side of the road, with an additional four sets of flashing lights and boom barriers in place to warn cyclists.

And here is a second example, again at Wezep. Resembling a scaled down road level crossing, this facility is for the exclusive use of pedestrians and cyclists, with bollards preventing large vehicles from proceeding across the tracks.

So now you know!

Some more examples

Some more photo of bike lanes at Dutch level crossings:

Meanwhile in Australia

At home in Melbourne, Australia level crossings are built for cars and pedestrians, but not cyclists.

Unprotected level crossings force users to zig zag their way through a series of fences, forcing them to look for trains.

Willis Street pedestrian crossing between Ginifer and St Albans stations

A handful of crossings have scaled down boom barriers.

Pedestrian boom barriers at the entrance to Ringwood East station

While the remainder have automatic gates that swing shut.

Pedestrian crossing still in place at Willis Street, but with automatic gates added

In all cases cyclists are forced to dismount – a necessity given how narrow the crossings are.

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Building blocks of a Soviet metro station

In cities of the former Soviet Union such as Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Kiev, you will find an metro networks filled with ornately decorated underground stations, none of which look the same. But if you look a little deeper at the strcture of each, you will find that each of these stations actually have a common set of building blocks that they all follow.

Ornate decorations at platform level

Platform caverns

The first is the layout of the underground platforms. The geology and geography of each city and each station is different, leading to different technical challenges when building underground, as well as influencing the depth that the platforms will be built at.

The first design is the Колонная станция мелкого заложения (Shallow column station).

Up and down trains pass at Автозаводская (Avtozavodskaya)

This design is suited to shallow stations built by cut and cover means. Nicknamed “centipede” these stations are built of precast concrete, with platforms 102 to 169 meters long, ceiling height 4 metres, a 10 metre wide platform, and two rows of columns spaced 4 to 6 meters apart.

In ground conditions where the roof doesn’t need as strong support, the Однопролётная станция (single beam) design is a cheaper alternative. The columns are omitted, and instead precast concrete girders are used to roof the platform cavern.

Next is the Односводчатая станция мелкого заложения (shallow vaulted station) design.

Train arrives at Zhytomyrska (Житомирська) station

These vaulted stations are built at depths still achievable with cut and cover methods, but where difficult ground conditions require an arched structure to support the higher loads. The arch itself can be cast in place, or made up of prefabricated segments installed on a cast foundation.

As we head deeper underground, things look much the same with the Односводчатая станция глубокого заложения (deep vaulted station) design.

North and southbound trains pass at Тимирязевская (Timiryazevskaya)

These deep level vaulted stations look just like their shallower cousins, but are much rarer – they can only be tunnelled out of area of solid rock, and cannot be retrofitted to existing metro lines. Saint Petersburg is the home of the most examples, with the only example in Moscow being Timiryazevskaya (Тимиря́зевская) station.

An option for deep level stations in less favourable ground conditions is the Колонная станция глубокого заложения (deep column station) design.

Back at platform level on the Saint Petersburg Metro

At platform level these stations consist of three halls – two side halls for trains and platforms, and a central hall for passengers. Each hall has an arched roof, with the roof loads transmitted to ground via two rows of columns. This design results in a wide open area for waiting passengers, but requires the surrounding ground to be strong enough to be supported by narrow columns.

This leads us to the next design – the Пилонная станция (pylon station).

Northern platform for outbound trains

These stations consist of three separate tunnels – two side platforms to house trains and a central hall for waiting passengers, all linked by a series of cross passages. This separation allows the loads to be transmitted around the station caverns even in complex geological conditions, but the number and size of cross passages affects the passenger capacity of the station.

A variant also exist of this design – Станция с укороченным центральным залом (station with a shortened central hall). Tunnelling is expensive in hard ground conditions, and a full size central hall is wasted space in a station not expected to be overwhelmed by passengers. As a result some stations lack the full length central hall, instead truncating it soon after the escalators and platforms have been linked by cross passages.

Central concourse between the platforms at Vokzalna (Вокзальна) station

An extreme example of the above is the Двусводчатая (dvusvodchataya) design. Only found at Arsenalna (Арсенальна) station in Kiev, this station is the world’s deepest metro station and has only a single cross passage between central escalator hall and platforms.

Arsenalna (Арсенальна) station is so deep, two sets of ~50 metre long escalators are required to reach the surface

Continuing on the theme of specialist station designs, the Станция закрытого типа (horizontal lift) style is one found only in Saint Petersburg.

Russian version of platform screen doors at Mayakovskaya (Маяко́вская) station on Line 3

The distinctive feature of this design is the lack of trains, with the ‘horizontal lift’ nickname due to the station’s resemblance to the lobby of a multi-storey building! A solid wall runs along the full length of the platform, with regularly spaced steel doors located along the train to allow passengers to enter and exit.

Train ready to depart Mayakovskaya (Маяко́вская) station on Line 3

Structurally each station has three halls, two for trains and one for passengers. Trains must stop precisely at these station in order for the train and platform doors to line up, aired by a lamp and a photocell system called СОСД (светильник открытия станционных дверей).

These first station of this design opened on the Saint Petersburg Metro at Park Pobedy in 1961, and was the first implementation of platform screen doors in the world. Nine more stations of the same design followed in Saint Petersburg. The design has since fallen from favour, with none built since 1972, and metro systems overseas (such as Hong Kong) have standardised on the much simpler glazed platform screen door implementation.

Platform screen doors

Another one-off design from the Saint Petersburg Metro is the Двухъярусная пересадочная односводчатая станция (vaulted bunk interchange station).

Diagram of a vaulted bunk interchange station

Consisting of two stacked island platforms beneath a vaulted roof, you can see where the ‘bunk’ name comes from! Only one example exists so far – Sportivnaya (Спортивная) on on the Frunzensko-Primorskaya Line of the Saint Petersburg Metro.

Escalators and interchange passageways

An underground railway station is useless if passengers can’t reach it, so something needs to link them to the surface.

Platform level at Elektrosila (Электроси́ла) station on Line 2

Due to the depth of most stations across the former USSR, escalators were the method of choice.

Escalators back to surface level

Usually a single inclined tunnel houses the bank of escalators, which join the platforms at one end of the station.

Escalator adit at Baltiyskaya (Балти́йская) station on Line 1

A booth to house the escalator attendant is a standard feature.

Escalator attendant booth on the Kiev Metro

While deep level stations also have another feature – blast doors between the escalators and platform.

Blast doors guard the escalator adit at Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Майдан Незалежності) station

At stations where two metro lines intersect, standard practice saw each line provided with it’s own island platform, with underground walkways provided so that passengers can move between the two platforms.

Transfer corridor on the Saint Petersburg Metro

These passageways are usually located one level above the station platforms, linked with stairs passing over the train tracks.

Interchange walkways between the two station halls

The number of staircases between platform and passageway varies, with one way traffic in place to separate conflicting passenger movements.

Interchange passageways between lines 6, 8 and 2 at Третьяковская (Tretyakovskaya)

Sometimes a single wide staircase is provided, or automatic gates are provided to enforce one way traffic.

Arriving at Nevsky Prospekt (Не́вский проспе́кт) station on Line 2 via the transfer corridor from Line 3

At the top of the staircase, a footbridge passes over the tracks.

Train streaks out of the platform

These bridges make a great vantage point.

Ornately decorated parapets along the overhead walkway

Another way to link interchange passageways with trains is via a staircase in the middle of the platform.

Intricately carved granite walls line the platform tunnel

Again, the width of the staircase can vary.

Staircase leads down from the Line 5 platform down to the interchange passageway for lines 2 and 4

With some busier stations having escalators to move the crowds.

Escalators lead down to the interchange passageway

But no matter which way the stairs go, there are always transfer corridors.

Still walking down the corridor towards Mayakovskaya (Маяко́вская) station on Line 3

They often curve along the way.

Yet another transfer corridor between lines of the Saint Petersburg Metro

Along with changes in grade.

Still walking along the interchange passageway

But keep going and going.

Long underground walkway linking the two metro lines

Cross-platform interchanges are a much more passenger friendly way of facilitating these movements, but are rare in Russia – Tekhnologichesky Institut on the Saint Petersburg Metro was the first in 1963, with only five examples on the Moscow Metro.


The Russian name for the inclined shaft that houses the escalators at a metro station is Наклонный ход (oblique stroke or inclined course), while the equipment room at the bottom of the escalator is the Натяжная камера (tensioning chamber).

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Ретропоезд – the heritage trains of Russia

In Russian there is a word for old time trains such as steam engines – «Ретропоезд». It roughly translates to “retro train”, and on my visit to Russia, I stumbled upon a handful of them.

View of Leningradsky station from Komsomolskaya Square

In Saint Petersburg I visited the October Railroad Museum (Музей Октябрьской железной дороги), which held a collection of over 80 steam, electric and diesel locomotives.

Collection of locomotives at the south end of the museum

While in Moscow at the railway yards outside Kiyevsky railway station, I spotted steam locomotive ЛВ-0192 hidden among much more modern electric locomotives.

Steam locomotives parked beside modern electric units

And on the Moscow Metro I stumbled upon a replica of an 1934-vintage train in passenger service.

Replica of the original 1934-vintage Moscow Metro train in service


From time to time steam trains operate on the mainline railways of Russia – they are operated by a private company called «Проект Ретропоезд» (Project Retropoezd).

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Icebreakers on the River Neva, Saint Petersburg

During cold Russian winters the River Neva through Saint Petersburg becomes covered with ice, with icebreakers required to keep the waterway open. On my visit to Saint Petersburg I saw them at work.

A few more chunks of ice to go

The icebreaker headed upriver through a clear channel.

Looking downstream to Дворцо́вый мост (Palace Bridge)

Until it encountered the first ice floe.

Heading upriver, the Peter and Paul Fortress in the background

The icebreaker lined up towards the ice.

Manoeuvring towards a large slab of ice

Then charged into it.

Breaking up slabs of ice on the River Neva

Crashing over the top.

Icebreaker mounting a slab of ice

And breaking up the slab.

Bow of the icebreaker breaking through another slab

Which then flowed downstream towards the Gulf of Finland.

Broken up ice flows downstream from Тро́ицкий мост (Trinity Bridge)


The icebreaker I watched was named ‘Минск’ (‘Minsk’) but there is at least one sister vessel – icebreaker ‘Одесса’ (‘Odessa’).

Icebreaker at work beneath Тро́ицкий мост (Trinity Bridge)

While downstream I saw the much larger oceangoing icebreaker ‘Красин’ (Krasin) – now a museum ship.

Icebreaker 'Красин' (Krasin) moored on the River Neva, now a museum ship

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