Monday, 9 March 2015

It's been 19 years,11 months and one day

The wait, that is, between the opening of the first line of Warsaw's Metro and the opening of the second line. Anyway, Line M2 is here and functioning, as of yesterday at 09:40, so this morning before work I checked it out for myself.

The line is short, just seven stations; from west to east: Rondo Daszyńskiego, Rondo ONZ, Świętokrzyska, Nowy Świat - Uniwersytet, Centrum Nauki Kopernika, (then under the Vistula), Stadion Narodowy and Dworzec Wileński.

So then. Starting from the west end of the line, Rondo Daszyńskiego (below). Note the red station entrance, shaped like a large, post-modern letter 'M' sloping towards the ground. Not too far away, Warsaw Spire rises above the neighbourhood, which will soon fill up with new skyscrapers as the city's central business district expands westwards.

Below: the new stations have sliding glass doors, head-height, impossible to jump over, unlike the gates on the first Metro line. Fare dodging has become harder.

It's eight in the morning, so rush hour... where are the crowds? The new public transport solution has not yet made its impact on commuters; no doubt in weeks to come, more and more people will start to use the new line.

Next stop, Rondo ONZ (below). The murals on the station walls were designed by famous Polish artist, Wojciech Fangor (92). Typographically unique and characteristically Polish, imparting a sense of urgency and style.

Westwards to Świętokrzyska, the interchange station with Line M1. Passengers wanting to change lines can either go up to level -1, go through the gates, enter the gates to the other line, and descend once more to platform level, or use the connecting passage (see next post). Warning: if you have a single-use ticket, do not go up to change lines, use the connecting passage.

The next stop is Nowy Świat - Uniwersytet, located at the junction of Nowy Świat and the east end of ul. Świętokrzyska.

Then to Centrum Nauki Kopernika (which was originally to be called Powiśle), and under the river, stopping at Stadion Narodowy, the train finally terminates at Dworzec Wileński, interchange for the station from which mainline trains would once depart for Wilno/Vilnius (but sadly today Polish trains no longer go there). Fangor's graphics seen to good effect here. The journey from Rondo Daszyńskiego to Dworzec Wileński took just ten minutes, including five station stops along the way.

Below: entrance to the Metro at Dworzec Wileński, this time in blue. This is an important interchange from trams, suburban trains and buses. Time to head back to the city centre. Remember, this is rush hour...

Back at Świętokrzyska. Day two of operations, and two of the escalators are already broken. The up escalators (the single down escalator is working OK). The middle one is being fixed, so it's closed off, passenger troop up the stationary one on the right.

Meanwhile back to Line M1 for a train to Centrum and to work. It arrives. It is so packed I cannot squeeze on board, and have to wait for the next one, only slightly less crowded.

It's been a long wait; I wonder how long before Line M2 is completed (Line M1 took over 13 years to get from Kabaty to Młociny). Finally, the length of time between the opening of the first and second metro lines around the world:

  • Paris - first and second line both opened in same year(1900)
  • Hamburg - one year (first line: 1912, second line: 1913)
  • Stockholm - one year (first line: 1950, second line: 1951)
  • Mexico City - one year (first line: 1969, second line: 1970)
  • Moscow - three years (first line: 1935, second line: 1938)
  • New York - four years (first line: 1904, second line: 1908)
  • Prague - four years (first line: 1974, second line: 1978)
  • London - five years (first line: 1863, second line: 1868)
  • Madrid - five years (first line: 1919, second line: 1924)
  • Minsk - six years (first line: 1984, second line: 1990)
  • Berlin - eight years (first line: 1902, second line: 1910)
  • Beijing - 15 years (first line: 1969, second line: 1984)
  • Buenos Aires - 17 years (first line: 1913, second line: 1930)
  • Warsaw - 20 years (first line: 1995, second line: 2015)
  • Rome - 25 years (first line: 1955, second line: 1980)
  • Tokyo - 27 years (first line: 1927, second line: 1954)
  • Budapest - 74 years (first line: 1896, second line: 1970)
  • Athens - 131 years (first line: 1869, second line: 2000)
Below: a photo I took 19 years, 10 months and 30 days ago, on 10 April 1995, two days after the first line of the Metro was opened. This is Kabaty station, the southern terminus. Today, this is a built-up area all the way to the forest in the distance. 

This time two years ago:
A selfless faith

This time three years ago:
Ul. Profesorska after the remont

This time four years ago:
Lent kicks off again, for the 20th year in a row for me

This time five years ago:
Half way through Lent

This time seven years ago:
Spring much closer


Marek said...

I remember when it was all fields.

AndrzejK said...

An even greater lenght of time passed between the original start before WWII on the metro and completion of line 1. Apparently the original tunnels were used after the war to store wine!!

Sigismundo said...

Fangor's designs are characteristically Polish - read: tacky. (Though they do bear some resemblance to Apple's garish iOS8 operating system!) I guess he realized the place was soon going to be splattered with graffiti, so might as well incorporate it into the design.

Having to almost leave the station at Swietokrzyska to switch lines sounds like a major booboo. But surely, if you complete your journey within 20 minutes you can use 1 ticket, including any changes of line?

Sigismundo said...

Lines M1 and M2. How very imaginative. I do hope they get round to naming them at some point, though perhaps that's not a good idea considering the ineptitude of Polish local politicians. Best guess is we'll get something like:

Linia metra wschod-zachod im. Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
(Just stick that on a sign post!)

Oh, for something simple like Linia Zółta, Linia Czerwona.

Now, bring on M3 (Linia Zielona)!

student SGH said...

A splendid coverage, as always and unlike those of mine - with a proper timing.

Tried out the second underground line yesterday morning, but being short of time only the section west of M1. The scent of novelty and cleanness impress the most.

Also spotted broken down escalator and took note having to punch a ticket to change lines is a nuisance. Circumstances permitting, I'll try to catch up on Sunday. Take care!

PS. Eight stations? How come?

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Andrzej K:
The wine storage came later - in recent times, if I recall...

@ Student SGH:
Seven - of course. I may have counted Nowy Świat - Uniwersytet as two :-) Corrected!

@ Sigismundo:
I doubt that graffiti vandals would cross the live-rail to daub the walls. Yet the murals on the northern wall of Dworzec Centralny were painted by a group of artists to forestall graffiti (no live rails). It seems to have worked!

An Lukasz said...

There is a connection between M1 and M2 second ticket is not required(google trans)

Marcin said...

Well, you don't have to go to the ground level at Świętokrzyska. There is an underground connection and no need to punch another ticket. And even if you go up, there are no single ride tickets any more...

Michael Dembinski said...

@ An Lukasz; @ Marcin

Thanks guys, noted and corrected here and expanded upon in next post.

dr Marcin said...

Finally, the length of time between the opening of the first and second metro lines around the world:

Methodologically improper. There should be the time between the first thrust of a spade at a construction field and an opening of the last station of the last line and dividing it by a total length (in kilometers) of a subway network. Might be much more interesting. And this might say some more about dynamics of a progress. Think, that some of the subway networks, you've enlisted, might look slightly different.

P.S. See, that some "Marcin" appears above, then me, Mike, as you know me aa "dr Marcin" is not the same as "Marcin" above. "dr Marcin" means me as you knew me before. This is me, the same guy (with the cell #: 6******60).