Interchange stations on Soviet metro systems

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!

Moscow Metro

On the Moscow Metro the most complicated station is the four way interchange between lines 1, 3, 4 and 9.

Replica of the Moscow Metro's first train arrives into Библиотека имени Ленина (Biblioteka Imeni Lenina)

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
  • Belorusskaya
  • Park Kultury
  • Oktyabrskaya
  • Paveletskaya

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.

Cross platform interchange between Line 1 and 2 at Tekhnologichesky Institut (Технологи́ческий институ́т)

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.

Kiev Metro

The Kiev Metro is a lot simpler to understand.

Zhytomyrska (Житомирська) station and waiting passengers

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.

Sviatoshyn (Святошин) station on the Kiev Metro

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.

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.

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

But in all cases, a footbridge is required to carry passengers over the tracks.

Train streaks out of the platform

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

Until they eventually emerge at a railway station with a different name.

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

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.

Looking down from the footbridge at Московская (Moskovskaya)


A common pattern in Soviet metro systems is a ‘triangle’ network topology – the ‘Pedestrian Observations’ blog describes their benefits.

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4 Responses to Interchange stations on Soviet metro systems

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