Saturday, 25 October 2008

Warsaw's first Metro line is completed

Eddie and I took the Metro from Stokłosy (literally, Hundred Sheaves) through Warsaw, and headed north to witness the opening of three new stations, thus completing Warsaw's first Metro line. En route we popped off at Dworzec Gdański, where, in a long rake of freight wagons there's an exhibition about Poland's south-west, before, during and after the war. Worth a visit. Next, we stopped off at Plac Wilsona (above, pron. Pluts VeelSOHNuh), voted at the 2008 MetroRail conference in Copenhagen the world's most beautiful metro station. On Earth. Of recent years, anyway.

The new stretch - Stare Bielany, Wawrzyszew (pronounce that after a few ales!) and Młociny, was due to be open at 16:00 today. Eddie and I arrived at what used to the northernmost station - Słodowiec - and waited a few minutes. Right on time, a few minutes before four, the first train arrived, already quite packed.

More people joined the train at the two new intermediate stations before Młociny, by the time it arrived, it was as crowded as a regular rush hour train between Centrum and Politechnika stations (above). As the doors closed at Wawrzyszew, passengers heard, for the very first time, the recorded announcement - 'Następna stacja - Młociny'. Soon we were there. As the doors opened, we beheld scenes reminescent of a Boxing Day sale at Harrods - thousands of people jostling to grab a commemorative badge from the Metro staff greeting the train. The media was on the spot. The chap in the red cap and camo jacket below was deemed by the TVP crew to be the First Passenger. (Fashion note: mohair berets are still in, ladies!)

A tidal wave of excited sightseers of all ages surged up the platform, snapping as they went (ah! the democracy of digital photography!), to the official opening of not only the station, but also Poland's largest intermodal public transport nexus - bus and tram termini and park and ride facilities. Great!

Up the escalators with the throng, past the reporters, photographers and camera crews, and on to the new termini. Here, a pop concert would be held later in the evening to celebrate the event. We got there as Warsaw's deputy president, Jacek Wojciechowicz, was addressing the massed ranks of the Polish media.

Eddie and I had a quick look round then headed back, on what was the second ever passenger train to leave Młociny. We went all the way to the other end of the line, Kabaty. The 23km (16 mile) journey took 35 minutes. Not at all bad. 15 minutes from Młociny to Centrum, 20 minutes from Centrum to Kabaty.

Kabaty. I was here 13 years and 6 months ago, with Moni, then just two years and three months old, and still in a baby buggy. We took a train from Politechnika down to Kabaty three days after the opening of the first 11km section of the Metro. It must be said, that already the station signage acknowledged the finite nature of the project. The up platform was signed 'Kierunek Młociny'. And so it's been for 13 and half years - Młociny was always destined to be the place where the Warsaw Metro would end.

This is an amazing sight for anyone who lives in Kabaty today. The station appears to have been built amid fields. Nothing as far as the eye can see down to the Las Kabacki forest. Today, there's a Tesco hypermarket to the left, houses and flats in front and to the right. The sad thing is that the Metro will never be extended south. It should though. It should tunnel deep under the roots of the forest, emerging to serve Józefosław, Chylice and Konstancin beyond.

[Eddie found two excellent photos, taken a month or two after the one above, here and here. The second one, looking north towards Ursynów, clearly shows no buildings between Kabaty Metro station and ul. Belgradzka.]Otwarcie Metro Młociny
More photo coverage of the Młociny opening (in Polish) here (good photos) and here (decent blog)

This time last year:
End of Babie Lato


Anonymous said...

You are a veritable mine of useful information, my friend.

I've been waiting for Młociny, our local station no more than 5 mins drive away, to open so I can try it out as an alternative to work and back.

If I'm dropping Zosia at school (most days) the journey will be - drive & park Młociny. Out at Marymoncka and walk to school. Back underground and out again at Centrum. Walk to office.

I suspect the timing will be a little more than the drive but perhaps less annoying and more predictable.

Anonymous said...

Też się tłoczyłam na otwarciu. Uważam jednak,że pętla dużo lepiej wygląda bez tego telewizjnego badziewia. Tak technologicznie.

Anonymous said...

Witam, jestem redaktorem serwisu 'Mój Ursynów' ( ) i bardzo chciałbym użyć twojego zdjęcia wyjścia ze stacji Kabaty w galerii, przedstawiającej ursynowskie stacje metra.

Prosiłbym o kontakt pod adresem