Seventy km and 31 stations: Building the Big Circle Line

Seventy km and 31 stations: Building the Big Circle Line
Design solution
The Big Circle Line should be completed in late 2022. This story provides an update on new stations and the most intensive construction projects.

The Moscow Metro’s Big Circle Line is the most ambitious metro construction project in the world. The 70-km line will have 31 stations and three train maintenance facilities. It will be the longest circle line in the world, exceeding even the 57-km Second Circle Line of the Beijing Metro.

The Big Circle Line (BCL) will link existing and future radial lines up to 10 km further out from the original Circle Line. This will reduce congestion in central Moscow. The Big Circle Line will have many transfer points with existing and new radial lines. For example, the Rublyovo-Arkhangelskaya Line will link up with the Big Circle Line at the Ulitsa Narodnogo Opolcheniya station. The Kommunarskaya Line will connect with the BCL at the Ulitsa Novatorov station. Add to this a future line in Biryulyovo and Shcherbinka with a change point at the Klenovy Bulvar station.

Eventually, it will be possible to change at 20 stations on 11 radial metro lines, three stations on the Moscow Central Circle (MCC) railway, 13 stations of the Moscow Central Diameters, as well as to 11 railway stations.

The Delovoi Tsentr, Savyolovskaya, Nizhegorodskaya, Ulitsa Novatorov and others will become major transit hubs.

The Big Circle Line is expected to be complete in late 2022. Several BCL stations are already open, and they have become very popular. Moscow residents also list the Savyolovskaya station among the most beautiful stations.

Sport and Avant-Garde: From Delovoi Tsentr to Savyolovskaya

The BCL’s northwestern section with the Petrovsky Park, CSKA, Khoroshevskaya, Shelepikha and Delovoi Tsentr stations opened in February 2018, and the Savyolovskaya station opened in December 2018.

In the past two years, the BCL’s first section carried 58 million passengers.

The CSKA station, near the football stadium and Megasport Palace, has become the most popular station on the new line. CSKA was the first metro station, built at a depth of 28 metres (nine floors down), using the open-cut method. The interior uses the official red and navy-blue colours of the CSKA Football Club. The ceilings feature images of various sports, and bronze sculptures of a skier, a basketball player, a hockey player and a football player are on the platform.

The Delovoi Tsentr station interior design is reminiscent of the Moscow International Business Centre. The columns and walls are faced with metal, and the balconies have glass partitions. The station also includes stained-glass panels.

The Shelepikha station, north of Shmitovsky Proyezd and west of the MCC tracks, features yellow-and-black interiors, as well as a granite floor and marble walls.

Another shallow level station, Khoroshevskaya, is located at the intersection of Khoroshevskoye Motorway and Kuusinen and 4th Magistralnalaya streets.

Compositions resembling masterpieces by Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko and other Avant-Garde artists decorate the station’s hallways. Passengers can change here to the Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya Line or walk towards the MCC’s Khoroshevo station.

The Petrovsky Park station in the Aeroport District has white-and-green interiors and is faced with marble and granite.

The BCL’s first 11.5-km section has partially reduced congestion on the northern sections of the Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya and Zamoskvoretskaya lines. Passengers can change without going into central Moscow and the Circle Line. It is also easier to reach the CSKA Stadium and the Moscow International Business Centre.

Located over 65 metres beneath the surface, the Savyolovskaya station, the 17th station to open in 2018, was one of the deepest and hard-to-build BCL stations. After opening, it reduced the load on the Savyolovskya station on the Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya Line and made it possible to reach the Rasskazovka station in the Troitsky and Novomoskovsky administrative areas from the Savyolovsky Railway Station without changing.

The Savyolovskaya transit hub allows passengers to change comfortably between two metro lines, surface transit and the Savyolovsky Railway Station (the Moscow-Butyrskaya railway station and the Belorussko-Savyolovsky MCD-1 route).

Muscovites appreciate the Savyolovskaya station’s convenient location and futuristic design. A combination of marble, granite and pylon-mounted lamps and LED panels makes the station look quite dazzling. Architects also retained the station’s frame or un-faced tubing sections on the platform.

A twinkling sky and an old estate: From Savyolovskaya to Aviamotornaya

The BCL’s 14-km northeastern section is the most complicated one, passing under two metro and three railway lines. Consequently, most tunnel-driving operations are done manually and resemble mine construction.

This section has seven stations, the Nizhegorodskaya, Aviamotornaya, Lefortovo, Elektrozavodskaya, Sokolniki, Rizhskaya and Maryina Roshcha.

A 1.9 km route will link it with the Nizhegorodskoye train maintenance facility.

This is a three-stage construction project. In March 2020, a BCL section adjacent to the Nekrasovskaya Line started receiving passengers. So far, its Lefortovo, Aviamotornaya and Nizhegorodskaya stations are part of the pink line.


The shallow level Nizhegorodskaya station with two island-type platforms is located at the intersection of Ryazansky Prospekt, Nizhegorodskaya Street and the MCC tracks. The Nekrasovskaya Line’s tracks are located between the above platforms, and the BCL tracks will pass on both sides of the platforms. The station’s interior decoration resembles a Lego set with large multi-colour elements blending into simple forms.

Incidentally, the Nizhegorodskaya station was built with the top-down technique. The underground section was built from top to bottom and down to the lowest level while workers simultaneously built the surface structure. This reduced deadlines, expenses and the scale of the project; this is particularly practical in high-density urban construction.

The Aviamotornaya station is located at the intersection of Proyezd Entuziastov with Entuziastov Motorway and the Ryazan Line of the Moscow Railway. It is possible to change here to the Aviamotornaya station on the metro’s Kalininsko-Solntsevskaya Line. The station’s interior design has an aviation theme with subdued black, grey and white hues. The platform’s columns and lamps evoke aircraft components.

Lefortovo is located in a public garden near the Sputnik cinema not far from Soldatskaya and Nalichnaya streets. The station is faced with white marble, bright-grey granite, fibre-reinforced concrete and aluminum panels. Its interiors resemble old 17th-18th century engravings. A black-and-white panel with the Lefortovo Palace’s reflection adorns the hallway. The ticket office features a composition dedicated to Frantz Lefort, a supporter of Tsar Peter the Great.

The Lefortovo-Elektrozavodskaya and Elektrozavodskaya-Savyolovskaya sections are also under construction. The entire northeastern section is to be completed in 2022. Tunnels linking the Aviamotornaya and Sokolniki stations are already complete.

The Rizhskaya station, one of the most complicated, is located over 60 metres beneath Prospekt Mira. Due to the complicated geology, workers dig no more than one metre manually per day. A tunnel-boring machine can dig about ten metres a day. The station is currently about 50 percent complete.

Arched stainless steel portals are this station’s main architectural element. The station is faced with granite. Its retaining wall and the ceiling over the tracks will be faced with tube frames.

The station will be part of one of the largest transit hubs with connections to the BCL, the Kaluzhsko-Rizhskaya Line and the planned MCD-3 and MCD-4 routes in the Moscow Central Diameters railway projects.

The Elektrozavodskaya station, now 70 percent complete, will open not far from Semyonovskaya Embankment before the year is out. Passengers will be able to change to the Elektrozavodskaya station on the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line and to the Moscow Railway’s Kazan Line. The surface level hallway will feature a glass entrance, and the façade will be covered with perforated panels creating an illusion of 3D space.

The Sokolniki (Stromynka) station’s interior design was selected during an open international competition. Moscow residents voting on the Active Citizen website chose their favorite design. The entire concept will elicit an industrial forest in a nod to Sokolniki Park. The ceiling features a perforated material that lets artificial sunlight through.  

The platform hall with contrasting bright and dark materials looks quite spacious. The rectangular pavilion blends nicely with the surrounding landscape.

An interesting structure with multi-length tubular lamps is located inside the pavilion and makes it stand out among other street objects. The international competition jury chose this as the best Stromynka station design. The station should be completed before the year is out.

About 50 percent of the construction has been completed at the Maryina Roshcha station, located at the intersection of Sheremetyevskaya Street and 3rd Maryina Roshcha Proyezd. The station is to be completed in 2022.

M. Denisov.

Kazimir Malevich and architectural concrete: From Khoroshevskaya to Kuntsevskaya

The BCL’s nine-km western section will have four stations: Ulitsa Narodnogo Opolcheniya, Karamyshevskaya, Mnyovniki and Kuntsevskaya, formerly Mozhaiskaya. There are plans to complete the Khoroshevskaya-Karamyshevskaya segment in 2020, and the Karamyshevskaya-Kuntsevskaya segment will be ready next year.

The Khoroshevskaya-Karamyshevskaya tunnel is now finished. Trains will shuttle between the Karamyshevskaya and Kuntsevskaya stations via a ten-metre wide double track tunnel. The section towards Mnyovniki has already been built, and Lilia, the tunnel-boring machine, continues to dig towards the Kuntsevskaya station.

The Narodnogo Opolcheniya station will appear at the intersection between Marshala Zhukova Prospekt and Demyana Bednogo Street. It will feature compositions honouring members of the Moscow Volunteer Corps who enlisted in 1941 when the enemy was at the gate, as well as mono-chromatic photos with portraits of the city’s defenders. The main structure is nearing completion, and the utility lines are almost in; the station’s upper section is receiving its facing and interior details.

The Karamyshevskaya station will be located in the northern part of the Mnyovnikovskaya Poima (Flood-Plain). This shallow level station will be at a depth of 25 metres. The Mnyovniki transit hub is part of this project. The designers were inspired by Kazimir Malevich’s picture, Red Square (Krasny Kvadrat). A 3D platform-mounted ceiling is one of the most unusual elements. The 3D effect will be achieved with black-and-white pipes with a total length of about 150 metres. According to the architects, they symbolise the speed of trains and their movement.

Glowing metro logos will decorate the Mnyovniki station’s ground-level pavilions. Bright architectural concrete will be used as the main building material. Abstract 3D human figures will be installed on concrete columns using digital printing processes.

The Kuntsevskaya station will open near Ryblyovskoye Motorway between Moldavskaya Street and the MCD-1 line. In the future, people will be able to change here to the Kuntsevskaya stations on the Filyovskaya and Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya lines. Natural materials will decorate the station.

Sea waves, a picturesque valley and a Chinese character: From Kuntsevskaya to Prospekt Vernadskogo

The BCL’s southwestern section between the Kuntsevskaya and Prospekt Vernadskogo stations is divided into two segments: the Kuntsevskaya-Aminyevskoye Shosse and the Aminyevskoye Shosse-Prospekt Vernadskogo section, with a total length of 9.2 km.

The segment, due to open in 2021, includes the Davydkovo, Aminyevskoye Shosse, Prospekt Vernadskogo and Michurinsky Prospekt stations.

Metro workers have already built tunnels between the Aminyevskoye Shosse, Michurinsky Prospekt and Prospekt Vernadskogo stations. The Aminyevskoye Shosse station has now linked up with Construction Site No. 6, a lock near the Davydkovo station, via two parallel tunnels. The Galina and Polina boring machines helped build tunnels between the Prospekt Vernadskogo and Ulitsa Novatorov stations.

Davydkovo, near the Aminyevskoye Motorway and Initsiativnaya Street intersection will become the first metro station in the Mozhaisky District. The station’s interiors allude to the picturesque Setun River valley and a game reserve in this part of Moscow.

The Aminyevskoye Shosse station will be located at the intersection of Aminyevskoye Motorway and the Moscow Railway’s Kiev Line. The station’s ceiling will feature moving metal rods resembling sea waves. A transit hub will also be built here, with passengers changing to commuter trains on the Kiev Line, surface transit, interurban and international bus routes.

Work is underway on the Michurinsky Prospekt station at the intersection of Udaltsova Street and Michurinsky Prospekt. A transit hub comprising the Michurinsky Prospekt station on the metro’s Kalininsko-Solntsevskaya Line will also be built here.

The Chinese character Friendship, combined with a plant ornament on the platform’s red columns, is the main element of the station’s décor.

The high-tech Prospekt Vernadskogo station will appear at the intersection of Udaltsova Street and Prospekt Vernadskogo. It will have orange retaining walls, and lamps will be installed on a bright-grey chessboard ceiling. Passengers will change to the Sokolnicheskaya Line via a gallery above the tracks.

Lateral inter-district routes will also appear. Today, it takes over 40 minutes to travel between the Kuntsevskaya and Prospekt Vernadskogo stations via surface transit. After the new section opens, passengers will be able to cover this distance by metro, passing four metro stations.

The Flame, the Milky Way and beehives: from Prospekt Vernadskogo to Kakhovskaya

Construction of the southern section between the Prospekt Vernadskogo and Kakhovskaya stations was launched in April 2017. Workers are also overhauling a segment between the Kashirskaya and Kakhovskaya stations. The entire seven-km section will have three new stations: Ulitsa Novatorov, Vorontsovskaya and Zyuzino. The project is to be completed by November 2022.

Tunnels already link the Prospekt Vernadskogo and Ulitsa Novatorov stations, Vorontovskaya and Ulitsa Novatorov, as well as Kakhovskaya and Zyuzino. In November 2019, Roza the boring machine started drilling a tunnel between the Zyuzino and Vorontsovskaya stations. In December 2019, the Natalia machine bored one of the track tunnels.

Like on the BCL’s northeastern section, builders faced some challenges here. Construction of the Vorontsovskaya station was complicated by two municipal sewage collectors that serve 1,500 facilities, as well as a gas pipeline, a heat pipe and a water conduit. It took almost a year to relocate these utility lines.

They are building the Vorontsovskaya station at the intersection of Khlebobulochny Proyezd and Profsoyuznaya Street. In the future, passengers will be able to change to the Kaluzhsko-Rizhskaya Line here. The station’s interiors will have an outer space theme. The ceiling will resemble the Milky Way. Interior designers were inspired by the station’s tentative name, Kaluzhskaya, alluding to the city of Kaluga where outstanding scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of space travel theory, lived and worked.

The Zyuzino station will be located at the intersection of Kakhovka Street and Sevastopolsky Prospekt between the Kakhovskaya station on the metro’s Kakhovskaya Line and the Vorontsovskaya station. The new station’s décor will feature grey, black and yellow colours. A beehive-shaped overhanging ceiling, made from multi-size aluminum plates and LED panels will dominate the aesthetic.

The Ulitsa Novatorov station will be known for its unusual flaming ceiling, made with multi-format and multi-layer orange glass panels. Perforated aluminum panels will cover the hallway’s ceiling and retaining walls, and the central row of columns will be faced with grey Sayany marble.

Silver crucian carp and a Zaha Hadid Architects’ design: From Kashirskaya to Nizhegorodskaya

The city is to complete the BCL’s eastern section between the Kashirskaya and Nizhegorodskaya stations by late 2022. The 11.4 km section will have four stations: Klenovy Bulvar, Nagatinsky Zaton, Pechatniki and Tekstilshchiki. Trains will shuttle between Tekstilshchiki and Klenovy Bulvar via a large double track tunnel.

Construction began here in 2017, and they are now building the tunnels between the Nizhegorodskaya and Tekstilshchiki stations. In January 2020, construction of a double track tunnel was launched from Tekstilshchiki towards the Pechatniki station.

A station, tentatively called Klenovy Bulvar-2, will be located at the intersection of Klenovy Boulevard and Kolomenskaya Street. People using this station will reach Kolomenskoye Museum-Reserve more quickly. The architectural firm Zaha Hadid designed the station. Founded by British Iranian architect Zaha Hadid, the company won an open international competition. The new station will feature a bright and elegant interior.

The Nagatinsky Zaton station, due to open at the beginning of Kolomenskaya Steet, will be decorated with huge fish images alluding to the nearby Moskva River. An illuminated glass information wall will be installed in the central section of the ticket office hall. It will display images of 12 fish species swimming in the Nagatinsky Zaton Bay. The hallways’ ceilings will feature a structure resembling fish scales and also alluding to waterbodies.

The Tekstilshchiki station is to be built between Shosseinaya Street and the MCD-2 line.

The station’s floors will be inlaid with bright-grey granite, and the walls will feature bright marble. Arch-shaped lamps will hang from the ceiling. The station will provide seamless connections to the Tekstilshchiki station on the Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya Line and the MCD-2 line.