Interchange stations on Soviet designed metro systems are a little odd for anyone accustomed to urban rail networks elsewhere in the world – the platforms for each line are treated as their own station, with their own street entrance, and their own name!
On the Moscow Metro the most complicated station is the four way interchange between lines 1, 3, 4 and 9.
Here the platforms on each of the four lines has a separate name:
- Line 1 / Biblioteka Imeni Lenina
- Line 3 / Arbatskaya
- Line 4 / Aleksandrovsky Sad
- Line 9 / Borovitskaya
And just to make this station complex even more confusing, there is no direct path between Borovitskaya and Aleksandrovsky Sad – passengers have to travel via one of the two other stations to interchange.
The same practice of uniquely naming each pair of platforms is repeated at other interchange locations across Moscow, such as the three way transfers at:
- Pushkinskaya, Chekhovskaya, Tverskaya
- Turgenevskaya, Chistye Prudy, Sretensky Bulvar
- Okhotny Ryad, Teatralnaya, Ploshchad Revolyutsii
As well as some of the two way interchanges:
- Dobryninskaya, Serpukhovskaya
- Sevastopolskay, Kakhovskaya
- Krestyanskaya Zastava, Proletarskaya
But just to confuse matters, some two way interchange stations have a common name on both lines.
- Prospekt Mira
- Park Kultury
There are also some oddities where the platforms for two lines are named as one station, while the platforms for a third line have a different name:
- Marksistskaya and Taganskaya (x2)
- Chkalovskaya and Kurskaya (x2)
- Novokuznetskaya and Tretyakovskaya (x2)
Then there is the station at Kiyevskaya – which serves has three lines but has a single name!
Saint Petersburg Metro
The naming conventions for interchange stations on the Saint Petersburg Metro are far more consistent.
The platforms for each line are always given their own name, with only two exceptions:
- Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskogo – the line 3 platforms are called ‘Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskogo I’ while those on line 4 are called ‘Ploshchad Alexandra Nevskogo II’.
- Tekhnologichesky Institut – a cross platform interchange is provided between line 1 and 2.
The Kiev Metro is a lot simpler to understand.
There are three transfer stations, each serving two lines, with each platform having a separate name.
- Zoloti Vorota / Teatralna (Green Line – Red Line)
- Maidan Nezalezhnosti / Khreschatyk (Blue Line – Red Line)
- Palats Sportu / Ploshcha Lva Tolstoho (Green Line – Blue Line)
Why separate names?
The use of separate names for each line starts to make sense when you look at the standard design of Soviet metro stations – two tracks, an island platform in the middle, and a single escalator incline leading to the surface.
While simple, this design was quite limiting if the station needed to be expanded into interchange facility, so instead a second parallel station would be built alongside for the new line, with underground walkways provided so that passengers can move between the two platforms.
These passageways are usually located one level above the station platforms, linked with stairs passing over the train tracks.
The number of staircases between platform and passageway varies.
But in all cases, a footbridge is required to carry passengers over the tracks.
Another way to link interchange passageways with trains is via a staircase in the middle of the platform.
Again, the width of the staircase can vary.
With some busier stations having escalators to move the crowds.
But no matter which way the stairs go, there are always transfer corridors.
They often curve along the way.
Along with changes in grade.
But keep going and going.
Until they eventually emerge at a railway station with a different name.
Cross platform interchanges
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.
There are six examples on the Moscow Metro:
- Kitay-gorod, between Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya and Kaluzhsko-Rizhskaya lines.
- Tretyakovskaya, between Kaluzhsko-Rizhskaya and Kalininsko-Solntsevskaya lines.
- Kuntsevskaya, between westbound Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line platform and termination platform of Filyovskaya line.
- Kashirskaya, between Zamoskvoretskaya and Kakhovskaya lines.
- Park Pobedy, between Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya and Kalininsko-Solntsevskaya lines
- Petrovsko-Razumovskaya, between Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya and Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya lines.
While the Nizhny Novgorod Metro has a unique arrangement – two island platforms located a single cavern, allowing passengers to change between lines 1 and 2, with a footbridge in the middle also allows for them to change direction.
A common pattern in Soviet metro systems is a ‘triangle’ network topology – the ‘Pedestrian Observations’ blog describes their benefits.
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