Moscow Metro trains on display

Plenty of cities have railway museums filled with old trains on display, but on the 80th anniversary of the Moscow Metro they did something different – they brought the museum pieces to the people.

Wikimedia Commons has more about the exhibition.

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Moscow Metro, from 15-19 May 2015, two exhibitions of unique rolling stock of the metro took place on the centre track at Партизанская (Partizanskaya) station.

During the first exhibition, on May 15 and 16, decommissioned historic cars were displayed at the station, which were stored for the future exhibition at the Metro Museum and restored at the beginning of the exhibition. During the exposition, cars of types A type No. 1 (motor car) and 1031 (trailer), G No. 530, UM5 No. 806, D No. 2037, E No. 3605 and a battery-powered electric locomotive VEKA-001 were presented.

During the second exhibition, held on May 18 and 19, service and maintenance vehicles were exhibited at the station.

Type ‘A’ motor carriage 1 and trailer 1031.

Type ‘D’ carriage 2037.

Type ‘E’ carriage 3605.

Type ‘G’ carriage 530.

Moscow Metro sump pump vehicle ЗУМПФ 06.

КМП-65М railway crane №4.

МКЗ-01 track fixing machine.

УМ5 track measurement car 806.

Maintenance railcar AS1-19.

Battery electric railcar ВЭКА-001.

And АГМС diesel shunting locomotive №983.


Partizanskaya station is one of two three-track Moscow Metro stations, the other is Полежаевская (Polezhayevskaya).

Posted in Trains | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t drive into the River Volga!

Nizhny Novgorod is a historic Russian city located where the Oka River meets the Volga.

Looking west over the Oka River in Nizhny Novgorod

As you might expect, many roads lead to the water.

Warning signs on a road leading down to the Volga River

In the middle of winter there is no difference between snow and ice, so signs warn motorists not to drive out into the river.

But my favourite touch is this pair of signs.


Н. Новгород

р. Во́лга

Which translates to.

End Nizhny Novgorod

Start River Volga


Posted in Everyday life | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Hidden tracks of the Kiev Metro

The Kiev Metro is a relatively simple system – three independent metro lines running across the city, with passengers changing between them at one of three interchange stations. However trains do have a way of making their way between the lines, using hidden tracks that passenger services do not use.

Train arriving Khreshchatyk (Хрещатик) station on Line 1 of the Kiev Metro

Known as «Служебная соединительная ветвь» (service connecting branches) these single-track tunnels connect three Kiev Metro lines via a series of tight curves – their 150 metre radius is far shaper than the usual 300 metre minimum radius – resulting in a 40 km/h speed limit, with a recommended speed of 18 km/h.

Photo via

The first connection to open was «ССВ-1» in the mid-1970s, linking Khreshchatyk (Хрещатик) station on line 1 with the under construction line 2 at Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Майдан Незалежності) station; followed by «ССВ-2» in the late-1980s, connecting the new line 3 at Klovska (Кловська) station to the rest of the network via the «ССВ-1» tunnel.

Diagram by Олег Тоцкий

Trains using the connecting tunnels include:

  • transfers to the carriage repair plant at «ТЧ-1» Darnytsia from other depots;
  • delivery of new trains to «ТЧ-2» Obolon or «ТЧ-3» Kharkivske depots;
  • transport of new rail from the welding workshop at «ТЧ-2» Obolon depot;
  • until 2007, line 3 had no depot so trains were serviced at «ТЧ-2» Obolon depot;
  • until 1988, line 2 had no depot so trains were serviced at «ТЧ-1» Darnytsia depot;


Posted in Trains | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Catching the train deep under the Apennines

A major link in the Italian rail network is the 18.5 kilometre long Apennine Tunnel, passing under the Apennine Mountains to connect the railways of north Italy with those of Tuscany and central Italy. But it is notable for more than just length – second longest in the world when completed, and 16th longest today – but for a railway station located midway through the tunnel – “Stazione delle Precedenze”.

The first railway connecting these Bologna and Florence opened in 1864, via a steep and winding single track route over the Apennines.

However increasing rail traffic saw the need for a more direct route, so a double track “direttissima” (most direct) route was approved. Construction of the Apennine Tunnel commenced on this route in 1923, from three locations – the two tunnel portals, as well the middle.

The central shaft was located at the village of Cà di Landino.

With a funicular railway running through two 500 metre long shafts on a 27 degree incline to the tunnel itself.

On 5 December 1929 a ceremony was held at Stazione delle Precedenze to mark the breakthrough of the tunnel.

With the tunnel opening to trains on 22 April 1934.

Due to the length of the tunnel, the decision was made to build a station in the middle – “Stazione delle Precedenze”.

Two crossovers were provided in the station cavern to allow trains to change tracks, and two 450 metre long siding tracks beside the main double track tunnel, so that slow or failed trains would not delay other services.

All controlled by a signal panel.

Passenger platforms were also provided for the residents of Cà di Landino.

Accessed via 1863 steps!

Trains still used the Apennine Tunnel today, but Stazione delle Precedenze was closed to passengers in the 1960s – equipment rooms now occupying the site, the passing tracks having been dismantled, and the crossover points converted to remote control.

Further reading

Posted in Trains | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turning a locomotive on a reversing star

There are many ways for a locomotive to be turned – reversing loops, turntables, and triangular junctions. But there is one bizarre track configuration that can also do the same job – a reversing star.

Google Maps

How they work

Reversing stars were common on the railways of Italy, where they are known as Stella di inversioneItilian language Wikipedia describes them further.

The reversing star is configuration of railway tracks in the shape of a five pointed star that allows the reversing of an asymmetrical rail vehicle, such as a steam locomotive, in a limited space.

The reversing star is functionally equivalent to a turntable or return loop. Identical functionality can be obtained through a star configuration with an arbitrary number of points, as long as they are odd. In reality, in addition to the pentagram inversion star, only the reversing triangle is used.

Being a fixed installation, the reversing star requires less maintenance than the turntable and therefore was for this reason preferred to it in some cases. Compared to the reversing triangle, more widespread in the United States , the number of manoeuvres required is greater, but the space occupied is much smaller. The dimensions are also much smaller compared to the return loop, but it has the advantage of being able to reverse an entire train.

And how they are used to turn a train.

The star consists of five segments, two of which are usually connected to the main track for entry and exit, while the other three are dead ends. Alternatively, a single entry / exit track can be provided with four dead end tracks. There are a total of five sets of points, one at each vertex of the star, as well as three diamond crossings.

The locomotive coming from the mainline enters the star from the access track and proceeds on the first leg. After switching the points, the locomotive moves back to the second leg, then advances on the next leg and then moves back onto the exit track, returning to the mainline with the front facing the direction opposite to the one at the entrance.

At least five reversing stars were built on the railways of Italy.

Malles Venosta

Malles Venosta is in South Tyrol, and opened in 1906 as the terminus of the newly built Val Venosta railway. It closed in 1990, but reopened in 2005. The reversing star was built in 1930, and is still operational today for the use of tourist trains.

With at least one HO scale model version also existing.

Carbonia Stato

Carbonia Stato station in Sardinia opened as the terminus of the Villamassargia-Carbonia railway in 1956, with a reversing star provided instead of a turntable.

Google Maps

Today the line is used by tourist trains.

With steam locomotives using the reversing star.


Oristano station in Sardinia opened as the terminus of the San Gavino Monreale railway in 1872. A reversing star was provided by World War II, with the remaining in place until 2013, when the tracks were dismantled.

Google Maps

San Candido and Brennero

Reversing stars were installed at stations of Brennero and San Candido following World War I, when the division of Tyrol under the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which created a need for locomotives to be turned at the new national borders.

Both stations remain open to trains today, but the reversing stars have been removed.

Verona Porta Nuova

This one isn’t a true reversing star, but a complex arrangement of track to the west of Verona Porta Nuova station that allow a complete train to be reversed.

Google Maps

Further reading

Posted in Trains | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Moscow Metro curved, side and triple track stations

Each of the 232 stations on the Moscow Metro might have a unique look, but there is one design feature the majority share – two tracks flanking a central island platform. But how about the exceptions?

Ornately decorated central passage of the platform, with chandeliers above

Adopting a standard

Russian-language Wikipedia describes how the ‘standard’ station design came to be.

On 15 June 1931 at the meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union it was decided to build the Moscow Metro to improve the transport situation in the city. In November 1931, construction began on the first experimental site on Rusakovskaya Street. During the design, a debate arose about the type of future metro stations: whether they will have island or side platforms. It was decided to adopt a three-vaulted station with island platform design.

And so the design spread across the Soviet Union in the decades that followed.

Train streaks out of the platform

But what of the exceptions?

Side platforms

Eight Moscow Metro stations have side platforms, but only one of which is underground – Алекса́ндровский сад (Aleksandrovsky Sad).

Excluded from the initial plans for the first stage of the Moscow Metro, it was decided to build the station once the route had been decided, so the tunnel was expanded in size to allow curved platforms to be built beside the tracks.

Curved platforms at Александровский сад (Aleksandrovsky Sad) station

Four more stations with side platforms are located on the above ground section of Line 4Кутузовская (Kutuzovskaya), Студенческая (Studencheskaya), Фили (Fili) and Кунцевская (Kuntsevskaya).

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

Vykhino (Выхино) was built as an above ground station with side platforms.

Мякининo (Myakinino) was constructed on the second floor of a shopping mall.

And finally we have Технопарк (Tekhnopark) – an above ground station retrofitted to an already operational stretch of the Zamoskvoretskaya line.

Curved platforms

Six Moscow Metro stations have platforms located in a curve, and we’ve covered two already – Алекса́ндровский сад (Aleksandrovsky Sad) and Кутузовская (Kutuzovskaya).

Международная (Mezhdunarodnaya) and Выставочная (Vystavochnaya) stations were designed to “light metro” standards, but changed during construction to handle normal sized trains, requiring platform extensions alongside curved tunnels.

While Пя́тницкое шоссе́ (Pyatnitskoye Shosse) and Зя́бликово (Zyablikovo) were built from scratch with slight curves.

Triple track stations

And finally, the strangest station design – three tracks served by four platforms.

Партизанская (Partizanskaya) was built with such a configuration to handle crowds headed to a nearby stadium that was planned but never built.

While Полежаевская (Polezhayevskaya) was built as a junction station for a never constructed branch line.


Meanwhile on the Nizhny Novgorod Metro there is a platform arrangement not found anywhere else in Russia – two island platforms and four tracks located in a single station cavern.

Московская (Moskovskaya) station: the only station with this layout in Russia

Posted in Trains | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rubber stamping Russian restaurant menus

As I travelled across Russia, there was peculiar on the menu at every restaurant I ate at – each page had a rubber stamp on it.

ресторан sign on the roof

Featuring what seemed to be the name of the restaurant, and a signature.

Official looking stamp on a Russian restaurant menu

So why stamp each page?

Another Russian restaurant menu with a stamp on every page

The only reason I could think of was to prevent fraud, but I could only find one reference to restaurant menu seals online, in an article on Russian Railways dining cars.

Each dining car has an approved menu with prices and list of dishes, but I have not seen a single dining car which works on this way – the directors print their own menu, forge the seal on it and work on it, of course the prices are 30- 50% higher from this menu.

So who is responsible for approving the restaurant menus?

Posted in Everyday life | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Switching from right to left on the Wiener Straßenbahn

Trams on the Wiener Straßenbahn run on the right hand side just like every other road vehicle in Austria, but there is one exception – the elevated tracks of line 26.

E1 tram 4830 and trailer heads up Kaiserstraße at Westbahnstraße

Opened in 2013, the 4.7 kilometre long extension of tram route 26 links the U1 station at Kagraner Platz with U2 station at Hausfeldstrasse, running on a viaduct between Laaer Ostbahn and the Wiener Nordrand Schnellstraße.

With an elevated island tram stop at the Gewerbepark Stadlau industrial park.

Vienna uses unidirectional trams, which have doors on one side only.

ULF-B tram 635 passes a older E class tram and C class trailer combo at Westbahnhof

Which requires trams to run through the island platform on the left hand side.

Trams switching from right to left at the Süßenbrunner Str/Oberfeldgasse stop.

And then back again at the Forstnergasse stop.


Here is the view from route 26 tram – 3:35 to 7:10 covers the section of left-hand running.

Posted in Trams | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gothenburg tram swapping sides from left to right

In the Swedish city of Gothenburg the tram network has a curious section of track – a diamond crossing that swaps the left and right tracks around.

Sweden switched from driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right on 3 September 1967, the day being Dagen H or “Högertrafikomläggningen” (“The right-hand traffic diversion”).

Tram operator Göteborgs Spårvägar started planning for the change from 1964, with 27 trams, 24 trailers and a bus converted for right-hand traffic, and 53 new motor-buses for right-hand traffic purchased. In 1965, 30 new right-hand trams were added.

Another planned project of the 1960s was the conversion of the tramways to an underground rapid transit system, so new tram extensions were built to ‘premetro‘ standards.

Line 8 from Frölunda to Angered is one example, with tramway passing through city streets using traditional right-hand running.

But to save on construction costs in the underground section, it was decided to build an island platform at Hammarkullen, which required the single-directional trams to use left-hand running through the tunnels.

Which required trams to switch from left- to right-hand running partway along the route – at the Hjällbo stop.

The crossover is at grade, so only one tram can occupy it at a time.

Further reading

Posted in Trams | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lookalike Melbourne trams in Lisboa

I recently found a familiar looking trams in an unexpected location, when reading about about a new tram order for the Portuguese capital of Lisboa.

Railway Gazette has the back story:

CAF wins Lisboa tram tender
19 December 2019

Portugal: CAF has won a competition to supply 15 trams to Lisboa bus and tram operator Carris. CAF’s proposal was selected ahead of a bid from Stadler, whose offer was around €1·5m more.

The €45m procurement was launched in April 2018 and includes €5m for maintenance activity. The tender specifications stipulated that the trams needed to be ‘bigger and have more capacity’ then the current Carris fleet.

The first of the 15 vehicles is expected to enter service in 2021 with the remaining cars arriving over the course of 2022-23. The tram procurement is the first to be undertaken by Carris since 1995, when it ordered 10 articulated LRVs from Siemens.

This is that comes to mind when I think of a Lisboa tram.

But the tram in the mockup looks just like those that run in my home city of Melbourne, Australia.

E.6018 on a shakedown run heads west along La Trobe Street

The tram in question being a Melbourne E-class – a three-section, four-bogie articulated tram built by Bombardier’s Dandenong factory, based on the Flexity Swift design.

Given Bombardier didn’t appear to tender for the contract in Lisboa, how did a Melbourne tram end up in as a mockup?

I’m guessing that the tram operator or local government did the mockups themselves, without the involvement of a tram manufacturer, and their designer just picked whatever modern looking tram they liked as the base.


Believe it or now, but two Portuguese trams have visited Melbourne before – a Bombardier Eurotram from the Porto Metro in 2003, and the Siemens Combino Plus from Metro Transportes Sul do Tejo in 2007. Both were sent over by the manufactures, on promotional tours to win future tram orders.

Posted in Trams | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment