Filyovskaya line (blue line, line No. 4) is one of the most unusual Moscow metro lines. It starts in the heart of Moscow, under Aleksandrovsky Garden, and after Kievskaya station it divides into two segments, one of which goes to the west (towards residential areas), and the second one allows passengers to get to the world of high-rise buildings and the centre of city's business life — Moscow City Business Centre. Over 600,000 people reside in the areas adjacent to Filyovskaya line (with more than 400,000 living near open section stations). The number of its passengers since the opening has exceeded two billion.
Since the end of 2016, it is under reconstruction, with platforms and tunnels upgraded to run modern trains, and to connect the line with new types of surface and underground transport.
An experimental line that didn't go underground
Filyovskaya line yet in its designing stage was considered unique, as it was created as an experiment actually. It was expected that similar lines would connect the centre of Moscow with the cities of Moscow region. Those ambitious plans failed to be implemented, but this line is still one of the most unusual ones, though today it is Moscow Central Diameters that connect Moscow and the region.
By the way, most of Filyovskaya line runs above ground. 7 of 13 stations are open-air ones. If you add up the length of the surface sections of this line, you get about 8 km. In general, Filyovskaya line is 12.1 km long from Aleksandrovsky Sad to Kuntsevskaya stations and almost 3 km long from Kievskaya to Mezhdunarodnaya stations.
Fourth in the first stage
Besides, line No. 4 is one of the oldest metro lines in Moscow. Section between Aleksandrovsky Sad and Smolenskaya stations was laid as part of the first stage of the Moscow metro's construction. Daily, passengers travel along the Arbat radius from Okhotny Ryad to Smolenskaya opened in 1935. At that time, trains were running in parallel from Okhotny Ryad towards Park Kultury.
The blue line had the first underground pedestrian crossing in Moscow and in Russia as a whole. It was constructed on the site of the former entrance to Smolenskaya station. Those times, its lobby was located almost in the middle of the current Sadovoye Koltso (in 1935 it housed Boulevard), but it lasted only a couple of years. In 1937-1939, the main line was widened, the station's above-ground lobby was dismantled, with entrance galleries extended to both sides of Sadovoye Koltso and turned into an underpass that was not connected to the metro.
Smolensky, the first metro bridge of Moscow, was constructed on Filyovskaya line. On 20 March 1937, it was opened for traffic. Smolensky metro bridge is a real film star, as you can see it in a variety of Russian films. For example, the hero of 'Beware of the Car' film (1966) Dima Samokhvalov keeps his Volga car not far from the bridge.
Traces of war and art on the tracks
During the Great Patriotic War, Muscovites used the metro as a shelter during air raids. In the night of 23 July 1941, subsurface tunnel between Arbatskaya and Smolenskaya stations was hit by a bomb. Also, in 1941, Smolensky metro bridge was damaged by air attack. There is still a patch on the hole in a tunnel ceiling remained, but it is visible only from the driver's cabin.
After the war, authorities decided to duplicate the section between Arbatskaya and Kievskaya stations with deep-level line to run under Moskva River. New stations were built at a depth of 38 to 50 meters. On 5 April 1953, blue line trains started running. Subsurface section from Aleksandrovsky Sad to Kievskaya stations was closed, but did not stop to be used. From 1953 to 1958, it was occupied by warehouses and exhibition spaces. Running metro tunnels kept old carriages, including trophy ones. One of the tracks was used for upgraded trains' testing.
In 1958, closed section worked again as as a full-fledged line (Arbatsko-Filyovskaya). Trains ran from Aleksandrovsky Sad to Kutuzovskaya stations. A year later, the line was extended to Fili station. In 1965, blue line already reached Molodyozhnaya station, with Krylatskoye station added in 1989. Filyovskaya line acquired its modern look on the Moscow metro diagram on 7 January 2008, when the section after Kuntsevskaya station was transferred to the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line.
The best line
Filyovskaya line, created as a unique project, still retains its status in many respects. So, 71 years in a row, section between Aleksandrovsky Sad and Arbatskaya station was considered the shortest one (515 m), but in 2006, this status was transferred to the section Vystavochnaya — Mezhdunarodnaya (498m) of the same line.
Also, it has the only above-ground station to change for another metro line, Kuntsevskaya. Kutuzovskaya stations offers its passengers transfer to the same-name station of the Moscow Central Circle (MCC). Until 2002, Studencheskaya was the only station impossible to reach by surface public transport. Filyovskaya line has two of the three M Café canteens — on Vystavochnaya and Arbatskaya stations (you will find the third one at Voykovskaya station).
Another tourist underground attraction is the Metro Gallery and the Career Guidance Centre of the Moscow metro at Vystavochnaya station. In fact, it is a Metro Museum, where its employees tell visitors about the intricacies of working in the metro. It exhibits engineering devices from tunnels and carriage models. Also, it offers to take a ride on a train simulator.
Modern times: train with buttons and heated platforms
Reconstruction launched on Filyovskaya line about three years ago. It has not seen so far such a large-scale overhaul since the opening of its first stations. Platforms, especially open-air ones, were kept in working order, but the beauty and comfort of the blue line were questionable.
At the first stage, the passenger area was renovated at seven stations. At the moment, the main works related to the overhaul of the above-ground section are almost completed. Passenger areas of all seven stations are already open.
To keep passengers comfortably warm while they are waiting for the train, a special technology is to be used. Infrared heaters will work on the platforms.
Besides, the line has now advanced Moskva trains running. Up-to-date carriages connected by through passages have USB sockets and special seats for passengers with disabilities.
In addition to state-of-the-art climate control system, it has new doors with opening buttons to keep comfortable temperature at all times. To get off the train on your station, just press on it. This helps to keep carriages warm, especially on open-air platforms, and also saves energy for heating the train. By the way, similar system operates on Lastochka trains running along MCC.