logo of Saint Petersburg Metro

The Saint Petersburg Metro
Петербу́ргский метрополитен

The Saint Petersburg Metro (Russian: Петербу́ргский метрополитен) is the underground railway system in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It has been open since November 15, 1955. Formerly known as the V.I. Lenin Order of Lenin Leningrad Metropoliten (Russian: Ленинградский Ордена Ленина Метрополитен имени В.И. Ленина), the system exhibits many typical Soviet designs and features exquisite decorations and artwork making it one of the most attractive and elegant metros in the world. Due to the city's unique geology, the Saint Petersburg Metro is one of the deepest subway systems in the world and the deepest by the average depth of all the stations. The system's deepest station, Admiralteyskaya, is 105 metres below ground. Serving nearly three million passengers daily, it is also the 13th busiest subway system in the world.


Saint Petersburg Underground Railway Map

Colour and icon Name - Year of opening Length - Number of stations
Line 1: (Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya) 1955 30,9 km 19
Line 2: (Moskovsko-Petrogradskaya) 1961 29,5 km 18
Line 3: (Nevsko-Vasileostrovskaya) 1967 24,3 km 10
Line 4: (Pravoberezhnaya) 1985 11.1 km 8
Line 5: Frunzensko-Primorsaya) 2008 14.0 km 8
Total Distance: 110 km no Stations: 63


Some of the features of the Saint Petersburg Metro make it stand out amongst others, even those in the former USSR. It is customary to have stations in the centre of a city built very deep, not only to minimize disruption, but also, because of the Cold War threat, they were built to double as bomb shelters, and many old stations do feature provisions such as blast doors and air filters. However, in most cities, the lines become shallow or even begin to run above ground as they reach the city's outer residential districts. However, this is not the case in Saint Petersburg. The difficult geology means that 56 out of 63 stations are at a deep level. The design and architecture went through numerous phases. The original stations were predominantly of the pylon type, of which there are 13 stations. Also popular was the column layout, and there are 14 such stations in the system.

The first stage is exquisitely decorated in the Stalinist Architecture style, but from 1958, Nikita Khruschev's struggle with decorative extras restricted the vivid decorations to simple aestatic themes. During this time a new design called 'horizontal lift' became widespread, and 10 stations were built with this layout. The horizontal lift design is a variation of a station with Platform screen doors, and has not been found elsewhere outside Saint Petersburg. However, because the design became unpopular with passengers, and for technical reasons, no stations featuring this design have been built since 1972. From the mid-1970s, a new open 'single-vault' design was developed by local engineers and became very popular, not only in Saint Petersburg, but some other cities as well. Known technically as Leningradky Odnosvod, it remains the most popular of all and there are 16 such stations in the city.

The remaining stations are located virtually on the edge of the city, and one, Devyatkino, is territorially in Leningrad Oblast, far away from the harsh underground geology that forms the Neva Delta. The three shallow column stations that are located in the southwestern section of the city and are all on the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line. The first one, Avtovo is considered to be one of the most beautiful stations in the world and was opened as part of the first stage in 1955, while the other two were built in the late 1970s as typical Moscow-style pillar trispan stations. In addition, there are four termini stations that are on the surface and are located near the lines' connection with the train depots. The city's northern climate means that even here all of the station space is inside an enclosed structure.


The first plans for rapid transit in Saint Peterbsurg existed as early as in 1899 and focused on an elevated rail system. However, Moscow became the country's capital after the October Revolution and the Russian Civil War, and for more than a decade the plan was abandoned. However, the idea resurfaced in the late 1930s, following the successful opening of the Moscow Metro in 1935. As in Moscow, the excavation of underground structures in Saint Petersburg turned out to be generally difficult because of underground rivers and cavities.

The modern system's history began in 1940 when the construction of a line linking together all of the central rail terminals commenced. Delayed by World War II, the system was opened on 15 November 1955 with the first seven stations (the eighth one, Pushkinskaya opened a few months later). These became part of the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line, initially connecting the Moscow Rail Terminal in the city centre with the Kirovsky industrial zone in the southwest. Subsequent extensions included lines under the Neva River in 1958, as well as the construction of the Vyborgsky Radius in the mid-1970s to connect the new housing developments in the north. In 1978 the line was extended past the city bounds into the Leningrad Oblast.

Construction of the second north-south Moskovsko-Petrogradskaya Line began shortly after the opening of the system; the service between Tekhnologichesky Institut and Park Pobedy commenced in 1960, and a northerly extension to Gorkovskaya opened in 1963, forming the USSR's first cross-platform transfer station at Tekhnologichesky Institut. The Moskovsko-Petrogradskaya line was subsequently extended towards the city's southern districts in the early 1970s, and to the northern districts throughout the 1980s. The final northerly extension of the line to the Parnas station opened in 2006 following numerous delays.

The third Nevsko-Vasileostrovskaya Line was first opened in 1967 and eventually linked Vasilievsky Island, the city centre, and the industrial zones on the southeastern bank of the Neva in a series of extensions (1970, 1979, 1981 and 1984). The fourth line, Pravoberezhnaya, was opened in 1985 to serve the new residential districts on the right bank of the Neva before reaching the city centre in 1991 and continuing to the northwest in the late 1990s.

Saint Petersburg's unforgiving geology has frequently hampered attempts by Metro builders. The most notable case took place on the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line. While constructing the line in the 1970s, the tunnelers entered an underground cavity of the Neva River. They managed to complete the tunnel, but in 1995 the tunnel had to be closed and a section of it between Lesnaya and Ploshchad Muzhestva flooded. For more than nine years, the northern segment of the line was physically cut off from the rest of the system. A new set of tunnels was built and in June 2004 normal service was restored.


The Metro is managed by the state municipal company Sankt-Peterburgsky Metropoliten (Saint Petersburg Metropolitan, Russian: Санкт-Петербургский Метрополитен) that was privatised from the Ministry of Rail Services. The Metro was renamed to coincide with the city's name change in the early 1990s. The company employs several thousand men and women in station and track management as well as rolling stock operation and maintenance.

The Metro is financed by the city of Saint Petersburg, from passenger fares, and from advertisement space at the stations and on the trains. Metro construction is undertaken by the subsidiary Lenmetrostroy (Russian: Ленметрострой) that is financed by the Metro as well as directly by the Ministry of Transportation.

Rolling Stock

The rolling stock of the metro is provided by five depots with a total of 1403 cars forming 188 trains. Most of the models are the 81-717/714 that are very common in all ex-Soviet cities. In addition there are older E and Em type trains on the Kirovsko-Vyborgskaya Line and newer 81-540/541 on the Pravoberezhnaya Line.


The Metro was originally built as a system that could offer shelter in case of a nuclear attack. Professional photography and cinematography is allowed, provided the crew have permission. Every station is equipped with CCTV surveillance following recent terrorist threats.

Future plans

The Metro has a very large expansion plan for the next half century. The current Pravoberezhnaya Line will be split in early 2009, and a new fifth line (Frunzensko-Primorskaya) will take the northern (Primorsky) radius away from Pravoberezhnaya and open with a new section (Frunzensky) to the south. A ring line will follow and should be complete by 2025, along with the shortened Pravoberezhnaya Line extending to the northwest under the Gulf of Finland. Other biradial lines will come through the city centre. According to the current plans, the system should double in length by 2050, and given that construction, which was frozen for more than a decade after the financial instability of the 1990s, has now fully been resumed, it is likely that this objective will be met.

The official website of the Saint Petersburg metro claims the opening of 41 new stations, 5 new depots and 71 km of new lines from 2008 to 2020.

At the same time, there are several short and mid-term projects on station upgrades, including escalator replacements and lighting upgrades. The station Gorkovskaya closed completely in October 2008 for a 14 month upgrade.

Web References:

Saint Petersburg Санкт-Петербу́рг

Saint Petersburg Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Санкт-Петербу́рг​ Sankt-Peterburg, is a city and a federal subject (a federal city) of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea. The city's other names were Petrograd (Петрогра́д, 1914–1924) and Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991). It is often called just Petersburg (Петербу́рг) and is informally known as Piter (Пи́тер).

Founded by Tsar Peter I of Russia on 27 May, 1703, it was the capital of the Russian Empire for more than two hundred years (1713–1728, 1732–1918). Saint Petersburg ceased being the capital in 1918 after the Russian Revolution of 1917. It is Russia's second largest city after Moscow with 4.6 million inhabitants, and over 6 million people live in its vicinity. Saint Petersburg is a major European cultural centre, and an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea.

Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Western city of Russia. Among cities of the world with over one million people, Saint Petersburg is the northernmost. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Russia's political and cultural centre for 200 years, the city is sometimes referred to in Russia as the northern capital. A large number of foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and other businesses are located in Saint Petersburg.

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