Moscow’s new tramcars include two rows of bench seating with 20 seats in the summer and 18 in winter, four large windows, and matted lighting. The front and the back of the trams have operator’s controls with operator access to buy tickets. The interior layout is similar to the first trams in Moscow that were used nearly 118 years ago.
Compared to horse drawn cars, the electric tram was a breakthrough. Muscovites used to shout at slow carriage drivers, “Quicker, quicker, overtake a chicken!” The electric tram could run at 25 verst (about 27 km) per hour. “Electric tram passengers can see the advantages of the new electric cars over horse drawn cars; everyone hoped that Moscow would convert to electric trams as soon as possible,” wrote Moskovskiye Vedomosti newspaper on 26 March 1899.
Of course, Moscow eventually did convert to electric trams. Today, tram route length totals about 417 km. On weekdays more than 620 trams run on 47 lines. On 17 March 2017 the tram fleet was upgraded with new low-floor Vityaz-M trams that are more spacious, comfortable and quiet. The city will receive 300 new tramcars of this type over the next three years. Manufactured in Russia, 100 of them will be delivered in 2017.
Air conditioning, low floor and plenty of space
The low-floor Vityaz-M tram is longer than its predecessors: tramcar length is 27.5 metres, 11.1 metres longer than the 71-623 model. The Vityaz-M’s maximum capacity is 260 persons with 60 seats. The 71-623 model’s maximum capacity did not exceed 127 passengers with 33 seats.
There will be no turnstiles in the new trams, as in all trams on line 17. The tram can be boarded or exited via any door. The Vityaz-M has more doors: two of the six doors are single doors; four are double-doors.
Another feature that distinguishes the new tram from the previous model is air conditioning. The new Russian trams are also equipped with a satellite navigation system and surveillance cameras. For passengers with impaired mobility, the tram doors are equipped with a button to contact the driver as well as with an access ramp, there is also dedicated wheelchair space and seats.
Quicker, more comfortable and quieter: what will change
Vityaz-M trams will have increased capacity and will relieve the load on other lines. Thanks to additional doors and the lack of turnstiles, passengers can board and exit the tram five times more quickly than the old trams.
The new trams will be less noisy: a unique wheel frame assembly design provides a smoother ride. This will mean more comfort/less noise for passengers and neighbourhood residents but also a longer service life for the track itself.
The new tram floor is consistently low for the length of the tram car; there is no difference in floor height as in the previous model. As a result, the Vityaz-M trams will be easily accessible for mothers with prams, older people, and passengers with impaired mobility.
The new trams will have service life that is twice as long as the older cars – 30 years instead of 16. The new trams will be maintained and repaired by the manufacturer per a service contract.
From Ostankino to Medvedkovo on the new tram
Thirteen low-floor Vityaz-M trams have begun running on line 17 from Ostankino to Medvedkovo. The new trams will run along Akademika Korolyova Street, Prospekt Mira, Lyotchika Babushkina Street, Eniseyskaya Street, Menzhinskogo Street, Dezhnyov Proezd, and Polyarnaya Street.
The No. 17 tram runs from Ostankino Park to VDNKh, and will provide access to large shopping centres on Prospekt Mira, Akveduk Park, A.K. Eramishantsev City Clinical Hospital, the Babushkinskaya metro station, Pevcheskoye Pole. The route includes polyclinics, and state services centre Moi dokumenty Severnoye Medvedkovo Area. On working days over 80,000 people use this line.
The new Vityaz-M trams will run to Tverskaya Zastava Square as soon as the line is extended there. The No. 7 tram will run from Belorussky Railway Station along Palikha and Lesnaya Streets. At the moment, the tram runs from Bulvar Rokossovskogo metro station to Novovorotnikovsky Pereulok while running past the following metro stations: Preobrazhenskaya Ploshchad, Sokolniki, Krasnoselskaya, Komsomolskaya, Prospekt Mira, and Novoslobodskaya. The new, more spacious, trams will increase capacity by 30 percent.
On Palikha and Lesnaya streets, tram line No. 19 will be extended. Currently, the 19 runs from Kalanchyovskaya Street to Novovorotnikovsky Pereulok. It also runs past Prospekt Mira metro station, the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, the Ugolok Durova theatre, Antropovsky Park, Sechenov Medical University, and the Jewish Museum with the Tolerance Centre.
From the city centre to the outskirts – tram destinations
On weekdays 620 trams run on the city’s 47 tram lines. By 2019 the tram fleet will receive 300 new Vityaz-M tramcars. The city will modernise the tram fleet and also introduce new tram lines. Trams may run from Prazhskaya metro station to Biryulyovo Zapadnyoe and the northern part of Biryulyovo Vostochnoye.
Trams will be back on Tverskaya Zastava Square, where one of the first tram lines in Moscow was built. This will provide a convenient connection from long-distance and suburban trains on the Belorussky route to the city’s surface transit system. The tram line will be extended from Lesnaya Street to Belorussky Railway Station, and the square will include tram stops and a 1.2 km long tram return loop.
Following the completion of the above, two other existing lines will be extended. The No. 7 tram will run to Belorussky Railway Station along Palikha and Lesnaya Streets. Now, the tram turns to Sushchyovskaya Street and reaches Novoslobodskaya metro station. The No. 19 tram line, which goes to Novoslobodskaya metro station, will be extended and trams will run along Palikha and Lesnaya streets to Belorussky Railway Station.
Several tramlines in Moscow will be separated from car traffic on 24 streets. This means special markings and high curbs to discourage drivers from using the tram tracks. The city is testing the higher curbs on Svoboda Street along 200 metres of the track. Travel times on tram line No. 6 have been shortened by three to five minutes.