Baku Metro


Baku Metro

Infobox Public transit
name = Baku Metro


imagesize = 85px
locale = Baku
transit_type = Rapid transit
began_operation = 1967
ended_operation =
system_length = km to mi|32.0|abbr=yes|precision=1
lines = 2
vehicles =
stations = 21
ridership =
track_gauge =
reporting marks =
operator =
owner =

Baku Metro (Azerbaijani: "Bakı Metropoliteni", in 1967—1991 also Ленин адына Бакы Метрополитени — "Lenin adına Bakı Metropoliteni", _ru. Бакинский метрополитен имени В. И. Ленина - V. I. Lenin Baku Metro) is a rapid transit system serving Baku the capital of Azerbaijan. First opened in 1967, during the time of the Soviet Union, it has the features found in most other ex-Soviet systems, including very deep central stations, and exquisite decorations that blend traditional Azerbaijani national motifs with Soviet ideology. At present the system has 30.2 kilometres of bi-directional track with 21 stations.

History

During the final decades of the Russian Empire, the port city of Baku, became a large megapolis due to the discovery of Oil in the Caspian Sea, by the 1930s, it was the capital of the Azerbaijani SSR and the largest city in Soviet Transcaucasia. The first plans for a rapid-transit system date to the 1930s upon the adoption of a new general plan for the city development.

Having survived the Second World War without falling to the Germans, and even further becoming a strategic hub of the Caucasus, the population further increased passed the one million mark, a legal requirement of Soviet law that would allow the construction of a Metro. In 1947 the Soviet Cabinet of Ministers issued a decree authorising its construction, which began in 1951. On November 6, 1967, Baku metro became the 5th rapid-transit system of the Soviet Union when the first 6.5 kilometres of track, along with a depot were inaugurated, in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the October Revolution.

Due to the unique landscape of the city, Baku Metro did not have the typical Soviet "triangle" layout of development, and instead had two elliptical lines which crossed over each other at the very centre of the city - the Baku Railway Terminal. Thus one line would begin at the southwestern end of the city, and cross on a northeastern axis to follow the residential districts on the northern edge of the city and then snake along to the southeastern and ultimately southern end. This was inaugurated in three stages: Ulduz (1970), Neftçilər (1972) with Ahmedli following in 1989 and Hazi Aslanov in 2002 finishing the first contour. In addition in 1979 a branch was opened to a station built in a depot, Bakmil.

The second line was to follow the parallel the Caspian coast from Hazi Aslanov, through Baku's industrial districts before meeting the first line again at the same Railway Terminal, and then follow westwards, before turning north to join Baku's northwestern districts. However to accelerate the construction, first a branch was opened from 28th May station to Khatai in 1968, and in 1976 in the opposite direction towards Nizami, thus the second and first line used the same station (28th May), initially this posed no serious problems, as the line was two stations long, but when in 1985 the second stage opened which now lengthened the line to 8 stations (Memar Ajemi), construction of a transfer was desperately needed.

In 1993, the first stage of the transfer station Jafar Jabbarli came in operation, but the end of the Soviet Union and the political unrest, military conflict with Armenia and the financial collapse which followed effectively paralyzed any construction attempts in Baku. Furthermore during the 1990s two catastrophes took place: in July 1994 an terrorist attack killed 13 and injured 42 people, and in October of the following year a fire in a crowded train killed 289 and injured more than 300 people.

Only in the late 1990s could construction re-start and the first was the unfinished Hazi Aslanov station which was part-sponsored by the European Union. In the mid 2000th construction of the northern end of the second line, abandoned since 1994, was restarted with Nasimi opening in 9 October 2008. This is the first metro station constructed after Azerbaijan's independence. Two-year construction cost 100 million [AZM] . The underground railway link from Memar Ajami to Nasimi Station is 2,660 meters in length. The station platform is 102 meters long and 38 meters wide.

With completion of Nasimi - the 21st station of Baku metro - the length of network reached 32 km.

Timeline

Old stations names

* Shaumyan — Khatai
* XI Gizil Ordu Meydani — 20 Yanvar
* 28 Aprel — 28 May
* Avrora — Gara Garayev
* Elektorzavod — Bakmil
* 26 Baki Komissari - Sahil
* Baki Soveti - İçәri Şәhәr

Operation

Officially Baku Metro has two lines, however due to problems with opening the second part of Cəfər Cabbarlı, Baku instead operates as a large four branch system, with trains travelling from Həzi Aslanov to İçərişəhər and Nasimi. In addition a rare service from both the former and the latter terminates at Bakmil at an interval of twice per hour. Thus the only part of the "second line" that operates separately is the Cəfər Cabbarlı — Şah İsmail Xətai shuttle service using only one of the two tracks due to low demand.

Due to the city's uneven landscape some stations are very deep, that could double as bomb shelters in case of a nuclear war attack, given that the system was built at the height of the Cold War in the 1950s/early 1960s. All seven of these deep level stations have a standard pylon design. The majority of the system's stations, 13, are shallow pillar-trispans. In addition one station, Bakmil, is a single platform surface level.

Like many other former Soviet most of the stations of the system are exquisitely decorated as the images on the right show, many feature advanced Soviet motives in artwork (including mosaics, sculpture and bas-reliefs) and architecture such as those of progress and internationalist culture, whilst others focus on traditional Azeri culture and history. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, several stations were renamed, and some of their decoration was altered to comply with the new ideology.

Rolling stock

Baku is served by one single depot, which is located next to the Bakmil surface station, and carries the same name. As of January 2005, the system had 228 cars, of which 43 five-car trains were formed, the rest used for specialist duties. The earliest set of models include the old Ezh3 and Em-508 types, whilst most are the 81-717/714 and their modifications which Baku has been receiving since the early 1980s.

Ticketing

In 2006 the metro administration started to introduce new payment system for the Baku Metro. Instead of using tokens in turnstiles, the Baku Metro switched to use the newest RFID card system for access. The cards can be purchased for 2 manat but must be charged to use. This new system has become an instant major success, and has become very popular amongst passengers.

Expansion plans

At present the daughter company Azertunelmetrotikinti, which is in charge of Metro construction is prioritised with first finishing the northern extension of the second line. At the same time work is undergoing in fully separating the lines by completing the difficult transfer hub 28 May—Cəfər Cabbarlı. This is planned to finish by 2015 Once this is accomplished and the lines are separated construction will be focused on building the Şah İsmail Xətai — Həzi Aslanov section to be opened by 2020-25. Potential expansion upon the completion of the latter project include that of line one southeastwards, and a potential third line which among others will connect the Baku airport. It is thought that the current extension plan will see a total of 35 stations spreading and a length of 52 km.

At the same time extensive work is being carried out at renovating some of the older stations and rolling stock, given that after a decade of neglect during the 1990s, much of the infrastructure some of which is more than 40 years old is showing signs of age.

See also

* List of Baku metro stations

External links

* [http://www.metro.gov.az/eng/index.htm Official website]
* [http://www.urbanrail.net/as/baku/baku.htm Urbanrail]
* [http://www.euro-caspian.com/baku_metro.htm Information]
* [http://www.baku.ru/pages/transport/10582_ru.php More information (in Russian)]
* [http://www.travel-images.com/az-publ.html Baku Public Transportation]


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