The new section of the metro’s Solntsevskaya Line (No. 8A) has set several metro-construction records.
First of all seven new stations were opened all on one day. The last time this happened was back in 1983 when Soviet metro builders launched the southern section of the grey Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Line (No. 9) between the Serpukhovskaya and Yuzhnaya stations and simultaneously opened eight stations all at once. However, that particular section was less than 13 km long. The Ramenki-Rasskazovka section is about 13.5 km long and the line’s total length, including an offshoot towards a train maintenance facility, is over 15 km, making it the Moscow Metro’s longest.
The second thing to point out is that the metro has been rapidly expanding since the start of 2018. Its Big Circle Line, as well as the northern section of the Lyublinsko-Dmitrovskaya Line (No. 10), started operating in the spring. Therefore the Solntsevskaya Line has become the third longest metro section to open since early this year. Over the last few months alone 15 metro stations have opened all over the city, hitting an all-time high in the Moscow Metro’s history.
And the year is not over yet. At least three more new metro sections will open later on this year and in early 2019, including four stations on Nekrasovskaya Line, the extension of the Big Circle Line from Petrovsky Park to Nizhnyaya Maslovka and the opening of Belomorskaya station on the green Zamoskvoretskaya Line (No. 2).
Ambitious metro-construction plans are to be implemented in the years to come, allowing 95 percent of people in the city to have metro stations in walking distance.
Ramenki-Rasskazovka section to open up unique prospects
Seven metro stations have now opened between Ramenki and Rasskazovka allowing about 600,000 passengers to more quickly shuttle from their neighbourhoods to central Moscow and back. Transport services will improve for people in the Ramenki, Prospekt Vernadskogo, Ochakovo-Matveyevskoye, Troparyovo-Nikulino, Solntsevo and Novo-Peredelkino districts. From now on, 300,000 people in western districts will be in walking distance from local metro stations.
In addition to all this, the load on the southwestern section of the metro’s Sokolnicheskaya Line (No. 1) will be reduced. Vehicle traffic will decrease on local avenues and motorways, with the city environment improving as a result.
Patience is a virtue
Solntsevo District is among one of the most densely populated areas. Almost 40 years ago, city fathers promised local residents that they would receive their own metro line. All these years, they had to reach the nearest metro stations, including Yugo-Zapadnaya, Prospekt Vernadskogo and recently Salaryevo, by bus. Commuter trains were another alternative.
According to residents of the Solntsevo and Novo-Peredelkino districts, they had to spend an estimated four hours traveling to work and back every day.
The first plans to extend a metro line due west along the future Michurinsky Prospekt and to turn it north towards Aminyevo were conceived in the 1930s. This idea was formalised in 1965 after the city completed the Moscow Ring Road (MKAD) and after city boundaries expanded. At that point in time, there were plans to build a metro line along Michurinsky Prospekt and on to Solntsevo beyond the MKAD.
On 10 May 1984, Solntsevo became part of Moscow. Since then, several attempts were made to build metro lines to Solntsevo and nearby districts, including the projected Solntsevo-Mytishchi expressway and construction of a light-rail metro route from Yugo-Zapadnaya to Vnukovo International Airport. But all these plans were never realised.
The city started building the future Solntsevskaya Line in 2012 near Lomonosovsky Prospekt metro station. Six years later, the new 33-km long line is already catering to people in the city. From Rasskazovka, trains go as far as Park Pobedy, turn onto a section of the Big Circle Line and proceed to Petrovsky Park.
What more is in store for the Solontsevskaya Line?
Rasskazovka station will not remain the line’s terminus for long. There are plans to add two more stations to the line that will reach towards Vnukovo International Airport. This line will remain part of the Big Circle Line pending construction of the Solntsevskaya Line’s central section between the Park Pobedy and Tretyakovskaya stations. The yellow line will then become one of the Moscow Metro’s longest lines, reaching beyond the MKADfrom both ends.
The pace at which the metro is being constructed this year will probably be surpassed soon. Since 2011, the city has opened 40 new metro stations and 31 MCC stations. Even more ambitious plans are to be implemented in the next five years. Today, about 200 km of metro lines are in different stages of urban-development planning, design and construction, and about 50 stations are scheduled to be opened by 2023.