Warsaw Metro. From horse-drawn trams to underground lines.
The Warsaw metro is the only one in Poland and one of the youngest in Europe. The malicious argue, that it is also one of the longest-built in the world - but this is not true, although in fact the history of construction is already over 80 years!
The anecdote preaches, that we owe such a “snail” pace of the creation of the Warsaw metro to Bolesław Bierut. Apparently, Joseph Stalin offered him a choice between building a new housing estate, Palace of Culture and Science or the metro. Bierut was supposed to answer that: "We will build the estate ourselves and we do not need the subway", thus burying the ideas of the underground railway in the capital for many years.
When in New York in 1845 in the year, the first underground railway tunnel was opened, horse-drawn trams were just starting to crawl in Warsaw. A dozen years later, when the first metro line was launched in London, Warsaw still resounded with the graceful clatter of horse hooves on the cobblestones and the clanking of metal wheels of carriages pulled by them along the crooked rails.
The first electric tram appeared in the capital only in 1908 year - at the same time in London it was already operating 10 linii metra! The electrification of Warsaw's communication, however, brought a certain breakthrough in thinking. W 1925 After all, in Warsaw, too, the idea of building an underground railway was finally started. Initially, the designers' plans were to include two, crossing lines - including one crossing the Vistula and connecting Praga with Wola.
However, the great crisis of the 1930s thwarted the plans, to which he returned only in 1938 the then president of the city, Stefan Starzyński. This time the momentum of construction was to be much greater: 7 lines of total length 46 kilometers. But even these plans did not work out - just a year later World War II broke out, and Warsaw was almost completely razed to the ground. The metro plans, on the other hand, were destroyed.
In the end, the topic of the metro "on wallpaper" came back only in a year 1974. Eight years later, the government of the Polish People's Republic signed an agreement with the government of the USSR, according to which he was to receive construction assistance. It was successfully started 15 April 1983 year.
The first - and so far the only functioning - line of the Warsaw metro was built up 25 years. Today counts 21 station (excluding technical and parking stations and two planned) i 23 kilometers in length. After many years of planning, administrative and economic tensions and planning controversies, it was also possible to start construction of the second line of the line, to connect the eastern and western parts of the city in the future. The implementation time of the entire project is calculated at 11 years and - for now - it looks like it, that there is a real chance for this to come true.
Although Warsaw has a subway only recently and its construction lasted for a quarter of a century, hardly anyone knows, that it was not the first attempt to build an underground railway in the capital. Although the drilling of the first line began only in 1983 year, however exactly 32 years earlier, the construction of the planned deep meter started in Praga.
It was possible to construct a gigantic junction chamber and a tunnel with a length of over 1,2 kilometers. Ultimately, it was supposed to run under the bottom of the Vistula River. The work continued in total 6 years, but because of numerous problems of an engineering nature, technical and material limitations of the times of deep communism and the colossal costs, the then authorities decided to give up this idea.
The remains of the "would-be subway" still exist today - they deteriorate and constitute a gloomy monument to a bygone era.
Metro in numbers
Although the Warsaw metro is relatively young and not very extensive, it is worth mentioning a few statistics here.
Metro platforms in Warsaw have after 120 meters in length, so it fits along them after 6 standard wagons. The station is currently on 21, and the length of the line is 23,1 km. Platform surfaces are located at a depth from 8,3 do 12,2 meters. The so-called voltage. „trzeciej szyny” – zasilania – wynosi 750V, and the total travel time of the existing section is 38 minutes.
In total, the Metro Warszawskie company has 37 warehouses, po 6 wagons each. Trains are of different ages and origins, however, the rolling stock is constantly being modernized.
Annually, the capital's underground railway transports over 140 million passengers.