The Bucharest Metro is a rail network with an interesting history, with the bizarrely narrow platforms at Piața Romană station being one example.
The bulk of the platform being less than a metre wide.
With passengers having to wait in the cross passages that lead to it.
The reason for the bizarre configuration – the station was built in secret against the wishes of Elena Ceaușescu, wife of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu – as Romanian magazine Historia explains.
The peril of narrow and curved platforms has made Piața Romană unique among the subway stations in Bucharest. It’s strange appearance we owe to Elena Ceausescu, who removed it from the map of the subway designers in 1985, for a bizarre reason.
“There are too many stations, stop them!” – this was the order of Elena Ceaușescu when she saw the project for the Berceni – Pipera subway section 2, one of the three designers of the station, Sorin Călinescu, told us. He argues, however, that this subway stop was built in secret, in violation of the comrade’s order, which was unwavering in her decision.
The problem raised by Elena Ceausescu was that both the working class and the youth “started to get fat” and needed to walk more, recall those who worked on the construction of the subway.
“We received an order from the Communist Party to exclude at least one station from the scheme, which was almost impossible because we were few and they gave us plans. We decided to eliminate, only on paper, the most important station, so that afterwards we would be obliged to replace it.” explained Călinescu, the current head of the consulting department Metroul SA.
Călinescu tells that when the works began on the Berceni-Pipera section, in 1986, the people who officially worked on the section of the University Square – Victoriei Square prepared the land in the area around Piața Romană. In a record time of three months, the builders made some tunnels behind the thick walls we see today, with the thought of being transformed into platforms later.
The line M2 tracks through Piața Romană station opened on 24 October 1987, as part of the 8.72 km long five station extension from Piata Unirii 2 – Pipera.
Initially trains passed through the incomplete station without stopping, but following pressure from the Bucharest residents the go ahead was given to complete the station. The remainder of the station was excavated, and the walls to the tunnel broken through, with Piața Romană station opened a year later on 28 November 1988.
- Piața Romană at Wikipedia
- Exploring Piata Romana station – a photo essay
- Piața Romană secretly built by the fear of Elena Ceausescu (Romanian language)