St. Petersburg. Basic info about the subway, lines, peculiarities

Description and peculiarities of subway and the underground stations of St Petersburg
  • It is the most northern subway in Russia. It’s most northern station is – M2Parnas (Парнас), the most western- M3Primorskaya (Приморская).
  • St. Petersburg has the deepest subway in the world. It’s average depth is 57 meters. M5Admiralteyskaya station is the deepest station in Russia with the emplacement depth of 102 meters.

M1 The first line of  St. Petersburg subway was launched in 1955. It  is also known as Red line, the name symbolically reflected the ideas of the Soviet era, the color choice was not accidental – it was the color of revolution.

Features: Originally there was only one underground line with eight stations in the style of Stalin’s empire. At the moment, due to the undeniable beauty these stations are officially listed in the state register of cultural heritage objects of regional significance.

M2Second or Blue line of Petersburg metro was launched in 1961. At that time there were no architectural frills: no decorative bas-reliefs and sculptures, the stations itself had short halls, there was tile instead of marble.

Features: for the first time in the USSR (it was in 1965), they made a system of automatic control of trains without the train drivers. Also for the first time in the history of world subways- the stations were built as “horizontal lifts” – that helped to reduce injuries in the subway, also it led to a quicker construction.

M3Third or Green line of St. Petersburg subway was opened in 1967.

Features: the line passes under the Nevsky Prospect, and has long spans (for instance, the distance between stations Elizarovskaya and Alexander Nevsky Square I is 4,7 km, that is the longest Russian underground span).

Advice: reckon  your time of travel considering the long distances between stations –  though there are few stations in a line, the ride from one station to another takes about 4-5 minutes.

M4Fourth or Orange Line. This is the first completely underground line St. Petersburg metro.

M5Fifth or purple line St. Petersburg metro. The line is the most modern among others  – new stations open practically annually.

General features of the stations:
  1. For the early subway stations of the 1st line there were built separate lobbies with domes (station Ploshad’ Vosstaniya, for instance, was built on the site of the temple which was specially destroyed for that matter, and now it is architecturally reminiscent of its predecessor – it has the rotunda with a spire).
  2. Petersburg’s subway has an interesting effect of the so-called “slides” used only in this city. The train goes from the station down the hill, which reduces power consumption, and at the exit to the station, it goes up due to compressed air.
  3. Petersburg subway has  unusual for the world engineering types of the stations  – “horizontal lifts”. “Horizontal lift” is a type of closed station, characterized by the closed doors in the side aisles, similar in planning to an ordinary elevator. When the train arrives to the station wagon doors coincide with doors along the platform and they automatically open along the entire side of a platform. That structure of stations prevented falling on the rails and led to building new stations more quickly, although the price for building and maintaining of the stations was even higher than for usual ones.

There were so many interesting stories and things about St. Petersburg’s subway, that a special “subway” museum was opened  in the fall of 2005, it was dedicated to a “beautiful underground city”- St. Petersburg. The museum  is located next to the station M3Приморская (if I am not mistaken, it is closed for reconstruction).

Additional information:
  • There are certain rules of behaviour for subway passengers, you can find them on the general page about subway. The most important rules to remember are the following: you can make photos without flash, you cannot eat and drink at the stations (you may get a fine for breaking the rules).
  • Disposition of some stations may be unexpected for the tourists, so I strongly recommend you to read the list of stations that differ from others.


  • if it is possible, try to avoid using the subway at rush hours, from about 8 to 9 am and from 6 to 7 pm;
  • if using the subway plan your total  time of the ride adding 10-15 extra minutes (the reasons: you may not be able to enter the train at the first attempt or will stand in the tunnels for a while – a usual thing there).

If you want to find more information about the subway, lines, check out Wikipedia pages, (Russian only), (Russian only).

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