Story from the Underground

PHOTO by RIA Novosti Archive
Eighty-two years ago, one of the world's most beautiful subway systems was launched in Moscow with only one line and 13 stations

On the eve of the 82nd anniversary of the Moscow Metro, a historic reconstruction launch of the first line in Moscow subway was created at Sokolniki station.

The mounted militia dressed in historical uniforms kept watch during the event, and a paperboy on the sidewalk distributed exact copies of the “Pravda” (“Truth”) newspaper issue of May 15, 1935. It was on this day when the first Moscow Metro structures were launched for the very first time. Moslenta decided to trace the story of one of the most beautiful subway systems in the world.

On June 15, 1931, it was officially decided to build a subway system in Moscow. It was expected that it would help to improve the transport situation in the capital and bring relief to crowded buses and trams. Following the decision, in August of the same year Metrostroy building company was created, and construction began at an impressive speed. Two years later, in 1933, the technical project of the first line of Moscow subway was agreed and approved.

The Moscow Metro was opened on May 15, 1935. The length of the first line, later called Sokolnicheskaya, was slightly more than 11 kilometres (today, the total length of the metro lines is about 300 kilometres). It consisted of 13 stations, 17 vestibules and had only 12 trains.

The line began at the metro station Sokolniki and ended at the Park Kultury station. On the first day of work, Moscow metro transported more than 285,000 passengers.

Here’s what capital’s publications wrote in those days:

“The first line of the underground route entered into normal operation yesterday. By 6 am, all traffic workers, communications and maintenance personnel were in their work stations underground. Upstairs, behind the closed doors of the stations, hundreds of people were already waiting to become the first passengers of the Soviet subway – at any price. In small booths, behind glass windows, the army of cashiers prepared stacks of tickets: yellow for those travelling to Sokolniki, and crimson for the rest.”

“Pravda” (May 16, 1935)

“An hour before the station was opened, fresh newspapers were delivered. They were put in automatic machines, so passengers having put 10 kopecks into machine would receive an issue of ‘Pravda,’ ‘Izvestia’ or ‘Working Moscow,’ depending on their desire. Other machines were loaded with cigarettes, sandwiches, chocolate and toffees.”

“Trud” (May 15, 1935)

Author: Daria Filatova