Building an underground station while trains pass by

This is the story of Tverskaya station on the Moscow Metro – retrofitted to the existing Zamoskvoretskaya line during the 1970s, while trains continued to pass through the neighbouring tunnels.

Early history

Originally called Gorkovskaya, Tverskaya station featured in the initial 1932 plans for the Moscow Metro, located between Teatralnaya (Театральная) and Mayakovskaya (Маяковская) stations on the the Gorkovsko–Zamoskvoretskaya line (Line 2), but was dropped in 1935 to save money and speed up construction. Completion of the station was included in 1957 “fifth stage” plan, but no real progress was made.

In the 1970s interest in completing the station re-emerged, when the the extension of the Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya line (Line 7) to Pushkinskaya Square was floated. To provide a transfer from it to the Gorky-Zamoskvoretskaya line, and the proposed Serpukhovsko–Timiryazevskaya line (Line 9), it was necessary to build a station on the existing Mayakovskaya – Teatralnaya line, resulting in a three station complex.

Magazine «Метрострой» – issue 4, 1979

The first stage of the project to be completed was Pushkinskaya station on Line 7, opened to passengers in 1975. The initial plans for Tverskaya station required the construction through a new surface shaft, with trains bypassing the construction site via temporary tunnels.

Magazine «Метрострой» – issue 4, 1979

Allowing the construction of a conventional deep pylon station.

Magazine «Метрострой» – issue 4, 1979

However dense development at ground level prevented the creation of a new shaft, and adverse geological conditions made the construction of bypass tunnels difficult . As a result, it was decided to expand the existing Zamoskvoretskaya line tunnels to include a platform.

Magazine «Метрострой» – issue 4, 1979

Expanding the existing 3.00 metre radius tunnels to 4.75 metre radius.

Magazine «Метрострой» – issue 4, 1979

With construction access provided to Tverskaya (bottom) by the existing shaft at Pushkinskaya station (top).

Magazine «Метрострой» – issue 4, 1979

Widening a tunnel while trains are still running

We start with two parallel tunnels.

First the middle station tunnel was constructed, which will later become the central hall of the station.

Adits were excavated beneath the arches of the side station tunnels.

They are then filled in with concrete.

The side tunnels are then excavated down to the heel of the arches.

The new tunnels are then tied back to the original running tunnels.

Connections between the track and station tunnels are then excavated, and platforms installed.

Allowing the original tunnel linings to be removed, and completion of the platforms.

And finally, the finishing touches.

With Tverskaya station opening on July 20, 1979.

Digging around existing tunnels, then pulling it down

Two special pieces of equipment were needed to complete the Tverskaya station project – a travelling scaffold that would pass between the new and old tunnel linings.

Magazine «Метрострой» – issue 4, 1979

To enable excavation work to be completed in the confined space.

And a rail mounted travelling crane.

Magazine «Метрострой» – issue 4, 1979

Which could pass through the new station.

And disassemble the redundant tunnel linings once the wider tunnels were complete.


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Retrofitting an underground station to the Kiev Metro

How does one go about retrofitting a station to an existing underground railway? It was was problem that Ukrainian engineers solved in the 1970s, when Teatralna (Театральна) was added to the Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska Line of the Kiev Metro system.

Some history

The first section of the Sviatoshynsko–Brovarska line opened in 1960, running between Vokzalna and Dnipro stations. Early plans included a station serving the National Opera, but it was dropped, leaving a gap of more than 1.5 kilometres between Universytet and Khreshchatyk stations.

Photo via

In the years that followed the Kiev Metro was further expanded, and by the 1970s a third line was being planned – the Syretsko-Pecherska line.

An interchange between the new and old lines was required, but since the new route didn’t pass through any existing stations, the decision was made to retrofit a new station to the existing Sviatoshynsko-Brovarska line – to be named Teatralna.

Work started on 23 February 1983 with a projected completion date in 1986, but was delayed due to the economic state of the Soviet Union.

Building it

To avoid disrupting metro services, construction of the new interchange station was broken up into three stages:

Diagram via

  1. Just two single track tunnels.
  2. Teatralna station and tunnels built south of the existing tunnels.
  3. Old tunnels blocked up and new tunnels connected, Teatralna station opened.
  4. Zoloti Vorota station opened on new Syretsko-Pecherska Line.

The changeover between old and new tunnel was completed between April 1 to October 1 1987, with the metro line between Universytet and Khreshchatyk stations closed to passengers. At each tie-in point, 580 meters of the existing tunnel was filled in, allowing the replacement tunnel to be excavated on the new alignment, without risk of ground subsidence or tunnel collapse.

Photo via

While the work was being completed, trains ran in two sections: Lisova to Khreshchatyk and from Sviatoshyn to Vokzalna, along with a shuttle train running between Vokzalna to Universytet via a single track. The disrupted metro line normally carried 400,000 people per day, so four new bus and three new trolleybus routes were opened bridging the closed section; five bus and two tram routes received additional rolling stock; and four trolleybus routes were temporarily rerouted.

The job was originally planned to take 700 people nine months, but with additional staff working around the clock, the changeover was completed in six months. Metro services on the line resumed on October 1, and the new station at Teatralna opened a month later on November 6 – the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Great October Revolution.

Once the new tunnels were in use, part of the old tunnels needed to be dismantled to make room for the station vault at Zoloti Vorota station on the Syretsko-Pecherska line. This station was located 90 degrees to the existing line with the upper level of the station vault passing through the disused tunnels, so a short section was filled with concrete, leaving just a narrow walkway through them.

Diagram via

Work could then continue on Zoloti Vorota station and the Syretsko-Pecherska line in the normal way, with the line opening on December 31, 1989.


The track and rail has since been removed from the redundant section of tunnel, but they are still maintained, forming part of the ventilation system for the metro system.

Photo via

But in 2014 Kiev urban explorer Олег Тоцкий suggested turning the tunnels into a metro museum.

How many of you have been to the Kiev metro museum? And how many of those who were not in it know where it is and how to get into it? Unfortunately, visiting the current museum of the Kiev metro is not so simple. Due to a number of organizational issues, this can be done only on weekdays and only by appointment. But there is something to see and listen to in the museum. Once upon a time there were ideas in the air about moving the museum to the building of the former depot near the Dnipro metro station, but they still remained unrealized, and the depot building was already gone.

But this is not about that at all. In Kiev, there is a place that asks for a metro museum. Why is there a museum: the place itself is very unusual and could become one of the most interesting tourist points in Kiev. Some of the readers have probably already guessed that the place in question is the old tunnels of the Universytet-Khreshchatyk section, which were later replaced by the Teatralna station.

These tunnels were built back in the 50s and were part of the very first section of the Kiev metro. If you put the tunnels in order and organize a civilized entrance in them, they can become a very cool tourist feature of Kiev. Well, the idea of ​​a metro museum somehow asks itself for this place.

Here you can place a unique and interesting exhibition dedicated to the Kiev metro; virtually the same project”Metro, which is not” , but created on a whole new level. The exposition can be significantly expanded compared to the current museum, in which space is now extremely limited. You can install mock-ups and samples of various metro equipment that is not available to passengers in everyday life.

The practical implementation of this idea has only one uncertain point: how to organize a safe and convenient entrance to the tunnels for visitors. Now access to the waste tunnels is possible from five points. Three of them are operating tunnels along which trains run, one more is the office premises of the Golden Gate station, and the fifth point is wentshacht No. 5. That is, there are very few options and it is possible that you will have to build a separate entrance. And this is a significant investment.

The idea was picked up by local media, including DreamKyiv and Segodnya, but unfortunately the idea never led to anything.


On Wikipedia:

Photo essays by Олег Тоцкий:

And a piece at the Metroworld website.

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Bending a tram like a banana

Modern low floor trams are made up of multiple articulated segments, which allow these long vehicles to make their way around sharp corners. But this 2018 crash in the German city of Bochum shows another thing these trams can do – bend like a banana.

Bochum Fire Department photo

Bochum Fire Department photo

Bochum Fire Department photo

This media release by the Bochum Fire Department explains how this tram came to be in such a precarious position.

Traffic accident between truck and tram calls for 11 injured persons

5 December 2018

At 1:33 pm, the Bochum Fire Department was alerted to a traffic accident on Wittener Straße in the crossing area “Alte Wittener Straße”. A truck car transporter collided there for unknown reasons with a Bogestra railway.

As a result of the collision, the track was lifted completely out of the rails and thrown sideways. 11 people, including 5 teenagers, were injured in the impact. 6 people suffered severe, but no life-threatening injuries, 5 others were slightly injured. The fire brigade was deployed with 55 forces. The crew of 5 ambulances, two ambulances and two emergency doctors provided the injured on the spot before they were transported to various hospitals. Rescue operations were coordinated by a senior emergency physician.

The employment of the fire-brigade was finished at 15.45 o’clock. The recovery of the railway was initiated by the Bogestra and will take several hours. During this time, Wittener Straße is completely closed in the area of ​​the accident site.

The police have started the investigation into the cause of the accident.

The affected tram was Variobahn #114 on route 302. You can see the site of the crash on Google Street View – the tram route runs in the median strip of a divided highway.

Trams in Bochum are operated by BOGESTRA, with their fleet of Stadler Variobahn trams entered service between 2010 and 2018.

Further reading

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Reversing a tram in Düsseldorf, Germany

On the tram network of Düsseldorf, Germany is a curious terminus arrangement – a turning wye that crosses over itself!

Google Street View

This triangle is found at the route 706 terminus in Hamm, at the corner of Auf den Kuhlen and Kuhstraße.

Google Maps

And is needed so that Düsseldorf’s single ended trams can change direction, before their return journey to the city.

Arriving trams take the left leg of the triangle.

Google Street View

Head into the first dead end stub.

Google Street View

Then change direction and reverse through the loop, which crosses over the inbound track.

Google Street View

Before ending in the second track stub, where the tram can now head forward again.

Confused? You can watch a tram traversing the triangle here.

And I’ve marked the route on Open Street Map!

Open Street Map

So why is such a convoluted terminus arrangement needed? Linie D (Arbeitsgemeinschaft historischer Nahverkehr Düsseldorf) explain why in this history of trams in Hamm (German language):

There has been a tram connection to Hamm since 1924, when the line 8 of the Hafenamtsstraße (today’s area Franziusstraße) was extended. The line designation 8 (708) belonged until the year 2016 firmly to Hamm, only in connection with the new line network of the Wehrhahnlinie changed the line number on the 706.

Today the journey is a varied tour out into the country. In the last section fields are passed through and also the terminal is a special feature, because here is the last track triangle in the Rheinbahn network.

The then line “8” was one of the last Rheinbahn routes still using two-axle trams. However following the 1965 introduction of new Düwag articulated trams, which had doors only on one side of the wagon, the Kuppelendstelle (stub terminus) just before the railway embankment at the end of Kuhstraße was not sufficient. Due to a lack of space for a new turning loop between the fields, a turning triangle with a “creative” track layout was created instead.



The German word for a railway triangle is Gleisdreieck.

You can find route 706 to the bottom left of this diagram of the Düsseldorf tram network.

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Trams and freight trains share the road in Bremen

I’ve written about freight trams before, but in the city of Bremen in northeast Germany freight there is something a little different – a freight siding that shares the tram tracks.

The freight siding joins the route 3 tram tracks on Eduard-Schopf-Allee via a level crossing.

Road traffic is protected by boom barriers and flashing lights.

Google Street View

As is the parallel bike path.

Google Street View

The combined single directional tram track and the bidirectional freight siding then continue west as four rail gauntlet track along Eduard-Schopf-Allee and Auf der Muggenburg.

Google Street View

Until they reach the Kellog’s factory.

Google Street View

Where the freight siding leaves the tram tracks.

This time without any boom barriers and flashing lights for cars.

Google Street View

The gauntlet track is marked in blue.

Derived from this diagram by Maximilian Dörrbecker

And in relation to the wider Bremen tram network:

The German-language Wikipedia article on Straßenbahn Bremen explains why it was built:

Line 3: The new route through the Überseestadt , between Hansator and Faulenstraße, parallel to the previously existing route was opened in December 2006. The inland track was built over a distance of about 800 meters as a four-track track, because here in addition to the tram and the freight trains to Kellogg’s company operate in the bidirectional operation. The previous route in Hans-Böckler-Straße has been preserved as operating route.

It also has a history of the Überseestadt district:

The urban development project Überseestadt includes the district Überseestadt (formerly Handelshäfen) and belonging to the district Steffensweg Waller Wied. It extends between the districts Mitte and Gröpelingen along the Weser. The area is 4.5 kilometers long and one kilometer wide. On the land side, it is bounded by Hans-Böckler-Straße / Nordstraße / Bremerhavener Straße.

Überseehafen and Europahafen were classic general cargo ports. In 1964, the time of the container began in Bremen. In 1966, the first container ship released in Europe, the Fairland, made its way to the overseas port. Since 1967, consisted in this port a temporary facility for RoRo ships. In the subsequent period, the cargo volume went back – the general cargo freight ended in the 1980s. New ships were built with more capacity and depth, so that the 19th-century ports, the associated storage areas and the Weser were too narrow for modern needs. Also the equipment of the two ports with RoRoTerminals in 1967 and 1972 could not stop their economic decline.

Due to considerable dilapidation of the wharves, the overseas port was closed in 1991. As there was no longer any need for the port and its security was too costly, the harbor basin was filled in 1998 with approximately 3.5 million cubic meters of sand, which came from dredging in the outer Weser. This was the basis for the urban development project “Überseestadt”.

The Bremen Senate decided in 2000 the “Development Concept for the Restructuring of the Old Port Districts in Bremen”. In 2003, the “Master Plan Überseestadt” was adopted. The Europahafen will continue to exist as a harbor basin, but there will be no harbor-typical use. The water surface is mainly used by recreational shipping, on the north side was the Marina Europahafen, The adjacent land is reserved for service and residential purposes.

And a few German railfans explain how trains and trams share the single track:

Because of the relatively low rail traffic (Kellog is the only remaining user of the rail connection) it was decided at the time of planning the new route, for reasons of space, for rail and tram to share.

Because of the same gauge the tram and railway could have run the same track; but that would have required a total of four switches, as there is a tram stop in the stretch. With only two train journeys every working day (once each way back and forth) the effort would have been too great, and so it was decided to invest in the four-track track.

Once the shunting has been completed, DB will report the intended passage to the BSAG tramway control center. There is a separate screen for this route, on which the events are monitored. The control center blocks the section for trams and releases the passage for the train (correctly, it should actually be called “shunting unit”). If the train has passed through the section completely, the route for the tram is released again.

The same procedure then takes place on the return journey.

The gauntlet track is slightly offset on the inside of the tram track to protect the stop to be passed on the way. On the siding, even parallel tram operation is possible thanks to sufficient track center distance, as long as the freight train has cleared the track crossing near the Oldenburg Railway! Everything is naturally signal-protected. The tram operation is thereby stopped only about 2-3 minutes.

But unfortunately for railfans this interesting operation is no more: Kellogg’s announced the closure of their Bremen plant in 2016, with the final trains running in 2018.

More photos

Further reading

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A change of pace

Eventually everything comes to an end, including this blog – I’ll no longer be posting new articles every fortnight.

Buffer stops at Gara de Nord station

I started Euro Gunzel back in 2013 following my month long trip to Europe, and since then I’ve been digging through my massive archive of train, tram and trolleybus photos to explore what makes the railways of Europe tick.

150 posts later and I’ve started to run out of fresh content to share, and with no new trips to Europe on the horizon, it’s time for me to slow down – I’ll only be posting new articles on the first Thursday of every month.

Posted in Housekeeping | 2 Comments

Cable hauled train at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport

Automated people movers between airport terminals are a common sight around the world, but the system at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport is a little different – the trains are hauled by cables.

It is called the Межтерминальный переход в Шереметьево (МТП) or “Interterminal Transfer at Sheremetyevo” and connects the newly completed north Terminal B to the existing southern Terminals D, E and F and the Aeroexpress railway station, via tunnels passing beneath the main runway.

Opened to passengers on 3 May 2018, the system is made up of two parallel tunnels 1,936 meters long, forming two automated transport systems:

– автоматизированной системы перевозки пассажиров (АСПП) for passengers
– автоматизированной системы транспортировки багажа (АСТБ) for baggage

Sheremetyevo Airport development report

It was the first system of its kind to be completed in Russia and airport management has claimed that it is the first system in the world to be tunnelled beneath existing runways.

The system is intended to transport 11.5 million passengers per year, with a capacity of 3,352 passengers per hour, the one way trip taking 5 minutes. The capacity of the luggage transport system is 5.9 million pieces of luggage per year, or 1,816 pieces of luggage per hour.

The stations are located beneath the passengers terminals.

Passenger trains use Doppelmayr Cable Liner technology using a “Double Shuttle” layout. Two trains run side by side on a 2 kilometre long double guideway track, each with its own haul rope and drive machinery, with the two trains operating independently. Each train has four carriages, with two “landside” carriages for passengers yet to clear airport security, and two “airside” carriages for transfer passengers.

Baggage is moved using a Beumer Autover independent carrier system (ICS), which uses 187 automatic carriages with induction motors to move bags at up to 10 m/s along 4.8 kilometres of guideways, each carrying one piece of baggage.

Beumer Group photo

You can see the Interterminal Transfer at Sheremetyevo in action here:


Межтерминальный переход в Шереметьево article at Russian-language Wikipedia

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Delivering a crane by train

I’ve seen many interesting pieces of Russian heavy machinery, but this is a new one – a crawler crane that can be moved by rail.

The crane arrives at the Tyosovo Railway Museum in Novgorod Oblast on the back of a railway flat wagon. The end ramps are then lowered, allowing the crane to drive down to the ground and through the railway yard, where the crane is used to lift narrow gauge diesel locomotive TU2-155 off a road truck and onto the rails.

The crane itself is a Сокол 80M – which translated to “Falcon”.

The “Сокол-80” crane is designed as a mobile vehicle of large carrying capacity for railway emergencies, and it can also be used to move heavy loads in off-road conditions and in hard-to-reach areas.

Produced by OJSC Sokol in the city of Samara (formerly the Kuibyshev Mechanical Plant No. 1). The boom and pivot units are the same design as the Сокол-80 railway crane.

And here is the Сокол 80.01 railway crane variant.

Universal railway crane “Сокол 80.01” has a lifting capacity of 80 tons for the laying of РШР track panels and turnouts without the removal of the contact wire, and the construction of bridges. The boom and pivot units are the same design as the Сокол-80M tracked crane.

Seen at work in a similarly snow covered railway yard.

Further reading

Lego fan ‘Superkoala’ built a working model of a Сокол-80M crane using Lego Technic.

You can read more about the model as well as the prototype at SuperK’s Technic Center and the Eurobricks forum.

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‘Do Re Mi’ music as the train powers out of the station

It’s normal for electric locomotives to make some kind of ‘buzzing’ noise as their accelerate, due to the way that power is applied to their traction motors. But the Siemens EuroSprinter family of electric locomotives make an unexpected sound – a ‘Do Re Mi’ musical scale as they power away from the station.

Pacing ÖBB 1216 class electric locomotive 1216 005

You can listen to it yourself in this video of a ÖBB Class 1116 ‘Taurus’ locomotive departing Zürich HBF on a Railjet service.

And the freight version of the EuroSprinter also playing a similar tune.

Over on Reddit user ‘alltheacro’ explains the phenomenon.

The source is due to the variable frequency drive. You can’t apply full power to the motors suddenly because it would damage components, and the wheels would spin as well, causing damage to the wheels and track. So the power is switched on and off very quickly at different ratios (duty cycle) and different points on the motor’s rotation. Because there are hundreds of amps at high voltages involved, the magnetic fields are strong and anything carrying current – cables, the coils in the motors, etc), and other metal components near them, vibrate. There is also traction control on each individual bogie (ie set of wheels.) If one starts to slip, the train’s control system throttles it back, but the others can keep going. So we get a chorus of different musical notes.

But that isn’t all the train can do:

The same locomotive has an operator’s panel with Easter eggs for amusing sound effects, playing MIDI files, and a music keyboard mode

Those engineers at Siemens must have a lot of time on their hands. 😛

And another Easter egg

Turns out the Deutsche Bahn ICE3 train can play the German national anthem when placed into service mode.

You will definitely not find that anywhere else: Listen to how the power converters of the ICE3 hum the German national anthem !!! Note: In planning mode, this is not possible, but only with special Siemens software!

Which sounds like:

Further reading

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Transporting railway track by train

You can transport many things by train – but what about the railway tracks themselves?

Photo by Falk2, via Wikimedia Commons

Used to deliver pre-assembled pointwork or crossovers directly to the work site, the tilt mechanism ensures that the bulky sections of track won’t strike platforms, lineside signals, or trains on parallel tracks.

The German name for these wagons is “Weichentransportwagen” – in English they’re called “transport wagons” or “switch tilters“.

Swiss firm Matisa is one manufacturer.

And German firm Kirow is another.

With their wagons making an impressive sight as they roll past.

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