Russian cities plan massive metro expansion 10 Jan 2019

Eugene Gerden for TunnelTalk

Authorities of several large cities of Russia have announced plans for a significant expansion of their metro systems during the coming years, according to their official representatives.

Fig 1. Moscow Metro and planned extensions
Fig 1. Moscow Metro and planned extensions

Currently the list of Russian cities that have metro systems Moscow, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Samara, Yekaterinburg and Kazan (Table 1) and there is a possibility of metro systems for other cities of the country with the population more than 1 million people. These including Voronezh, Tomsk, Omsk, Tyumen

In the case of existing metros systems, Moscow has the longest and largest, currently comprising 327.5 km of trackway and 222 stations, nearly all of which is aligned underground in a network of 88 deep stations and 123 shallow stations with another 12 stations on the surface and five elevated (Fig 1). The deepest station is Park Pobedy at 84m deep.

According to statements by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, the current length of the Moscow Metro will be extended to 1,000km by 2023-2024, which is an expansion of three times the network of 2010.

Implementation of these plans will involve both new underground and land-based stations. According to Moscow Deputy Mayor of urban planning policy and construction Marat Husnullin, those stations that will be located under urban districts will be built on the basis of top-down technology to minimize the impacts of construction on the surrounding areas and surface facilities. According to Husnullin, expansion of underground infrastructure for the Moscow Metro faces particular technical difficulties due mainly to the difficult soils that include abrasive sandstone and clay.

Igor Arnautov, a senior analyst at Investkafe, one of Russia’s leading analyst agencies in the field of engineering and construction, Moscow authorities have used various techniques for building new metro stations. “The majority of new stations in recent years are built at shallower depths using open cut methods. This is contrary to Soviet methods when the majority of underground metro stations of the city were built at great depths,” he said.

Table 1. Underground sections of the existing metro systems in Russia
City Total metro system Total underground
Moscow 327.5km 222 stations 327.5km 213 stations
St Petersburg 118.6km 69 stations 112km 62 stations
Nizhny Novgorod 22.2km 15 stations 20km 14 station
Novosibirsk 15.9km 13 stations 14km 13 stations
Samara 11.6km 10 stations 10km 8 stations
Yekaterinburg 12.7km 9 stations 12.7km 9 stations
Kazan 16.9km 11 stations 15km 10 stations
Marat Husnullin, Moscow Deputy Mayor
Marat Husnullin, Moscow Deputy Mayor

One of the main problems of the Moscow Metro currently, according to analysts at the Russian Ministry of Transport and Engineering, is related with its ventilation system, which cannot cope with the increase in temperatures during the summer season. Due to this, the Moscow City Government considers building new stations at depths is currently considered as unreasonable.

In addition to Moscow, the Russian Federal Government is paying particular attention to expansion of the St Petersburg Metro. Currently the system comprises a total network of 118.6 km and 69 stations with most underground in 112 km of tunnels and 62 underground stations (Fig 2).

Fig 2. Planned expansion for St Petersburg Metro
Fig 2. Planned expansion for St Petersburg Metro

According to a spokesman of the St Petersburg authorities and representatives of local engineering companies, new technologies have been used for expansion of the system in recent years several. Ekaterina Higinyak, Chief of the Public Relations Department of JSC Metrostro, a Russian construction company and the main contractor for construction of the St Petersburg Metro explained that, “while working on the system, we introduced completely new technologies to the Russian tunnel building industry. It was in St Petersburg that the first declined TBM tunnel for metro station access in Russia was built.”

The steep 30 degree decline tunnel was excavated using a TBM supplied by Herrenknecht of Germany. The technology was first used for the 140m long access decline into the Obvody kanal underground station on the Metro 5 Line in 2010, after which it was used for the access declines for the Admiralteyskaya and Spasskaya Stations.

Another innovative technology used on the St Petersburg Metro, added Higinyak, was the 10m diameter EPBM used to excavated single-tube double-track tunnels. “This method accelerates construction of new metro running tunnels by almost 1.5 times,” said Higinyak. “The earth pressure balance technology of the machine also allows excavation of metro tunnels at shallow depths that seemed unrealistic previously.”

Decline TBM drive for St Petersurg Metro
Decline TBM drive for St Petersurg Metro
10.85m diameter TBM for Moscow Metro Kozhyveskoy Line
10.85m diameter TBM for Moscow Metro Kozhyveskoy Line

In Novosibirsk, Russia’s third largest city and a center of the Siberian agglomeration, authorities have announced plans to invest up to RUB 20 billion (US$300 million) to expand the city’s metro. Currently, the system is 15.9 km long with 13 station and is mostly underground in 14km of running tunnels and all stations underground (Fig 3).

Fig 3. Novosibirsk Metro expansion plans
Fig 3. Novosibirsk Metro expansion plans
Fig 4. Kazan Metro plans new lines
Fig 4. Kazan Metro plans new lines

According to Alexander Mysik, an official spokesman of the Novosibirsk authorities, the expansion plan includes two underground stations and a proposed 10km of TBM excavated running tunnels. Negotiations with potential contractors are said to be currently underway, with tenders scheduled for submission in February-March of this year.

In Kazan, capital city of the Tatarstan Republic, Marat Izatullin Director of the Main Investment and Construction Department (GISU RT), explained that expansion of the city’s metro involves building a second line after the first line of 16.9km long, with one station built underground, was completed in 2005.

According to sources close to the Kazan authorities, the new line might involve reuse of the 10.85m diameter single-tube double-track TBM that completed its drives for Moscow Metro extensions last year (2017) (Fig 4). The TBM, supplied by Herrenknecht, is estimated to achieve progress rates of up to 400m/month.



Add your comment

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and comments. You share in the wider tunnelling community, so please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language professional.
In case of an error submitting Feedback, copy and send the text to
Name :

Date :

Email :

Phone No :

   Security Image Refresh
Enter the security code :
No spaces, case-sensitive