Above ground sections of the Moscow Metro

When asked to think of the Moscow Metro, deep tunnels and ornately decorated stations are what usually come to mind. However the network is a big one, and there are always exceptions. So where does the Moscow Metro run above ground?

Moscow Metro train departs Студенческая (Studencheskaya) station

Line 1 emerges from the underworld at two locations:

  • Preobrazhensky Bridge over the Yauza River, near Preobrazhenskaya Ploshchad station north of Moscow
  • Luzhniki Bridge over the Moskva River, at Vorobyovy Gory station

Vorobyovy Gory station is located on the bridge, with windows looking out on the Moskva River below.

A train speeds out of the platform

Line 2 reaches the surface for an extended period south of Avtozavodskaya station, where it crosses the Moskva River via the Nagatinsky Bridge.

My hotel in Moscow was located next door to Avtozavodskaya station, so I went for a long walk through the surrounding industrial area until I found the actual tunnel portal.

Type 81-717/714 train on the Moscow Metro returns to the surface

It was the middle of winter, so the tracks were dusted with a layer of snow.

Third rail running down the middle of the two tracks

But the third-rail powered trains didn’t seem to be having any trouble with the weather.

Moscow Metro train running at surface level

Line 3 hits the surface at three locations:

  • An above ground interchange with line 4 at Kuntsevskaya
  • Mitinsky Bridge across the Moskva River near Myakinino station
  • An above ground station at Izmaylovskaya

The station at Kuntsevskaya provided a great vantage point to see the trains out in the open air.

Moscow Metro train on line 3 arrives at Кунцевская (Kuntsevskaya) station

The station architecture would be best described as spartan.

Moscow Metro train on line 3 arrives at Кунцевская (Kuntsevskaya) station

Line 7 has two oddities:

  • An above ground interchange station with the suburban rail network at Vykhino
  • Above ground track between Volgogradsky Prospekt and Tekstilshchiki stations

Line 12 is a one-off line: the last four stations are located on an above viaduct.

Finally, we have Line 4 – as well as the Smolensky Bridge over the Moskva River at Smolenskaya, the end of the line is completely above ground, with seven stations open to the air.

Some parts of the Moscow Metro run above ground

The line parallels the mainline railway outside Киевский вокзал (Kievskiy vokzal).

Moscow Metro train paralleling the mainline railway outside Киевский вокзал (Kievskiy vokzal)

Along the way are a number of crossovers.

Moscow Metro train at ground level near Пионерская (Pionerskaya) station

As well as a maintenance depot.

Looking across the Moscow Metro depot at Фили (Fili)

The signals along the route are easy to see.

Colour light signals along the Moscow Metro tracks

Each station has a pair of side platforms that flank the tracks, instead of the usual ‘island’ platform in the middle.

Up and down trains pass above ground at Фили (Fili) station

But beneath the concourses, many of the stations appear dark and dank.

Train arrives into the surface level station of Филёвский парк (Filyovsky Park)

But no matter where you are standing, it is still frigid cold waiting for a train during a Russian winter.

Ground level station on the Moscow Metro at Фили (Fili)

It is little wonder that above ground stations are uncommon on the Moscow Metro.


According to Wikipedia Vorobyovy Gory holds two records for the Moscow Metro – longest platform at 282 metres (925 feet), and highest station with an elevation of 15 metres (49 feet).

Looking out from the station to the river that passes below

Further reading

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