Editor’s Note: It is extremely rare to have a guest post on Planet Russia, but when I saw on social media that Scott, a fellow American expat, had attempted to ride the entire Moscow metro system in a single day (223 stations and 379 kilometers!) I asked him to write about his experience (Photos are those taken by Scott during that day). Here it is, in his own words:
One of the things I love most about where I live in Moscow is that I am within
walking distance of where I work. As a result, I experience Moscow traffic only a
handful of times in a given year. If you have to drive in Moscow, you know that this
is a big deal. Similarly, I would consider myself to be a casual user of the Moscow
Metro. In an average week I use the Metro for a total of 2-3 round trips. So it’s not
like I’m a hardened commuter, expert in all things having to do with the Metro.
That being said, I love the Metro here. The system is extensive, fast, pretty
reliable, and inexpensive. And ever since moving here in 2016, I really wanted to
explore the entire system. That’s right…I wanted to see if I could travel the ENTIRE
network in a single day. On our various trips to a mall, or Red Square, or an FC
Lokomotiv match, I would stare at the huge poster with the system-wide map on it,
trying to calculate the best way to go about seeing everything in a day. If you’ve
never looked at one of those maps, they’re a thing of beauty…so many vibrant
colors! Such an intricate web of lines! But could it be done in a day?!
On Thursday, December 27, I decided to try and find out. The first thing you
should know is that you have to get up early. The Metro operates from 5:00am to
1:00am, and, looking at all those lines, I knew it was going to take almost all of that
time. But the other thing to note is that, just because the Metro opens at 5:00am
doesn’t mean you’ll be able to catch a train at your station at 5:00am. So, I decided
to shoot for 6:00am, in hopes that enough trains would be running that I could catch
one pretty quickly at my starting station of Novye Cheryomushki. I was able to catch
a train right away, but unfortunately going in the opposite direction from what I had
planned. That early in the morning, most trains are heading towards the city center,
and I had wanted to catch one going away from the center. But when I entered the
station and both tracks were occupied by trains going towards the center, I decided
I better improvise and change my plan around.
So, here’s the order of my trip as it happened:
1. North on Line 6 from Novye Cheryomushki to the end.
2. Switch to Line 1 using Moscow Central Circle (MCC); go to north end of
Line 1, then go all the way to the south end of that same line.
3. Come back to MCC and switch to Line 4. I then used a couple hours to
cover all of lines 4, 8A and 11, taking care of the western portion of Line 3
4. Lunch break near Red Square.
5. Finish the remainder of Line 3 going to the eastern end of this line.
6. I then rode the MCC all the way around the city, just over an entire circuit,
and exited at Shosse Entuziastov.
7. Go west on Line 8, then reverse and finish Line 8 at Tretyakovskaya.
8. Go back east on Line 8 and switch to Line 7 at Marksistskaya.
9. Go south on Line 7, then turn around and ride Line 7 to its northern end.
10. Return on Line 7 to Barrikadnaya, and switch to Line 5.
11. Similar to the MCC, I rode Line 5 for just over an entire circuit, exiting at
Belorusskaya (Line 2).
12. I then went north on Line 2, then turned around at the end, and took Line
2 to its southern end.
13. I then went back one station on Line 2, and switched to the end of Line
10. I then rode Line 10 all the way to its northern end.
14. I then came back 3 stations and switched to Line 9, going to its northern
end. After that I turned around and took Line 9 south.
15. By this time it was getting late…past 11pm. I arrived at Sevastopolskaya
and got off the train in order to switch to Line 11A, which currently
connects Lines 9 and 2. By the time my train arrived it was 11:45pm and
I still had over 20 stations to go in 75 minutes, so I made the decision to
skip 11A and go back to Line 9.
16. I rode Line 9 to its southern end, and switched to Line 12.
17. At this point it was just past midnight and I had 16 stations to go. I again
made the decision to skip some stations, in this case the southern end of
Line 12, and I went north on Line 12 to where it connects to the end of
18. I rode Line 6 from its southern end to my start point, arriving back at
Novye Cheryomushki at 12:31am, 18.5 hours after I started.
Was it worth it?! Mostly. I wish that I had been able to actually finish what I had set
out to do. I had to skip 8 stations. Now I know not to take as much time for lunch, and to not wait on Line
11A until late at night. Had I made those 2 changes, I probably would have been
able to complete the task as envisioned. But aside from that, I got see lots of things I
hadn’t yet seen in Moscow. Even though you spend most of your time underground,
you still get to see many different stations, many parts of the outer portions of the
city where the tracks are above ground, and most of all, lots of people…and
Moscow’s population is quite variegated!
I took a book with me (and I highly
recommend this!) and was able to do a lot of reading along the way. And finally,
even though I was riding along with lots of people for most of the day, I was “alone”,
able to spend the day taking a break from my normal routine and do something