Warsaw Metro completed!

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Warsaw’s deputy president, Jacek Wojciechowicz, opens the Metro extension to Mlociny. Photo Michael Dembinski.

(Click to read an informative article on the W-wa Jeziorki blog.)

They’ve been building the Warsaw Metro for more than 90 years. I remember being given a book as a birthday present in 1968 full of plans and drawings of the work that had been actually carried out on an East-West metro line in the 1950s. Unfortunately Jozef Stalin had other ideas and in 1952 the funds allocated to the Warsaw Metro were diverted to building the Palace of Culture and Science in the centre of Warsaw. As the latter project involved the demolition of 190 historic buildings and a loss of several tens of thousand of flats Warsovians have never been very fond of the building. This led to the oft repeated joke in communist times. Q. Who has got the best view in Warsaw? A. The doorkeeper of the Palace of Culture.

In fact the plan to build a metro system in Warsaw pre dates the communist era. See below for how the Warsaw metro system might have looked now if it hadn’t been for WW II.

The current north-south Metro line was commenced under General Jaruzelski in 1983. The first section between Kabaty and Polytechika was opened six years after communism had crumbled, in 1995. During the next 13 years the Metro slowly crept northwards. In 1998 it reached Centrum at the crossroadroads of Warsaw’s main thoroughfares ul. Marszalkowska and al. Jerozolemskie and then at the rate of one station every year the line grew until it reached its intended destination Mlociny on 25 October 2008.

pre_wwii_metro

Pre WWII metro plans would have given Warsaw a system to be proud of. The double lines indicate sections where the trains would have run above ground. Picture Wikipedia Commons.

(Click to see original and for details of licensing.)

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