Subway Systems Across the World

Glamour on the track

Subways not only carry passengers but also inspire them: cities all over the world turn their metro systems into real attractions. Some shimmer futuristic, in Stockholm there is a lily pond – and in Shanghai it resembles a theme park.

Whether it’s Westminster, Piccadilly, or Bond Street, magnets, postcards, or T-shirts with one of London Post’s 270 stop signs are a popular keepsake. And rightly so: it is the oldest subway in the world. In 2013 she is celebrating her 150th birthday. Every day, the tube (English for tube), as the Underground is colloquially called, recorded an average of 3.2 million passengers.

However, only 45 percent of the 402-kilometer routes actually go underground. Especially outside the city center, the trains run on the surface. Only the Victoria Line and the Waterloo & City Line are completely underground. To commemorate the anniversary, the London Transport Museum will be showing an exhibition of advertising posters for the Tube from February onwards under the title “Poster Art 150”.

Munich: Futuristic freedom

The subway of Munich joins with its design stations in the ranks of the worth seeing subways. For example, the Georg-Brauchle-Ring station: The colorful wall design makes waiting for the train an experience. Light, on the other hand, plays cleverly at the stop Candidplatz (both stops on the line of U1). And in the underground station Hasenbergl (U2), a white lenticular ceiling canopy is illuminated by light elements.

Reduced design, clear colors and bright lighting effects make the subway station Westfriedhof a coherent work of art.

Shanghai: subway of superlatives

Shanghai’s metro has not only become the largest metro system in the world. It is also one of the most modern and technically advanced. Here, every subway ride becomes an experience: when the cars whiz from stop to stop through light tubes and spirals, some feel like they are in an amusement park ride. The route network of the Shanghai metro adds up to 420 kilometers and currently consists of eleven lines. By 2020, an expansion to double capacity is planned.

Stockholm: From the Stone Age

The “Tunnelbanan” in Stockholm is a single exhibition. Hundreds of artists of all sorts have embellished 90 of the 100 subway stations with sculptures, light installations, paintings, mosaics, engravings, reliefs, grottos, green gardens, lily ponds and caves in such a way that nothing pushes you up into the sunlight. Many of the stations blown up into the rock were left in their natural state and painted in bright colors. No wonder that many passengers feel transported back to the Stone Age.

Lisbon: works by Hundertwasser and Calatrava

Lisbon’s subway riders embark on a journey through contemporary art. Almost the entire artistic elite of the country, but also international stars have transformed the underground into a sight with sculptures, murals and works of art made of tiles. The imposing building was designed by star architect Santiago Calatrava.

Vienna: Art Nouveau gates lead into the underworld

Not only above ground, has Vienna shined with spectacularly beautiful architecture. Even the subways in Austria’s capital are real sights – at least their entrances. They are remnants of the built in the years 1893 to 1901 by the great Art Nouveau architect Otto Wagner light rail, which is integrated into today’s U- and S-Bahn network.

Naples: Underground Art Gallery

In Naples, Italy, the passengers of the Metropolitan in Napoli are told to open their eyes. Some stations have been designed as Metro Museums. The tunnels below the city show contemporary works by 26 Italian artists.

Moscow: Baroque splendor with chandeliers

Many call the Moscow metro the most beautiful in the world. It was opened in 1935 and has 185 stations. Some of them present themselves to the passengers as architectural works of art, with marble and granite, mosaics and sculptures. Nobility palaces were plundered under Stalin by the Bolsheviks to equip the “Moskovsky Metropolitans”. So the subterranean station Komsomolskaya comes along like a Baroque castle, with mosaics on the walls and chandeliers from the ceilings. Nine million people are being brought underground from Moscow to An every day in Moscow.



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