STOCKHOLM: Stockholms tunnelbana
The first line opened on the 1st of October, 1950. Nowadays, the system has 100 stations in operation, of which 47 are underground and 53 above ground. There are 3 main lines which form 7 branches with different start and end stations.
The Swedish subway system uses 2 types of rolling stock: the newer C20 class (271 cars), and the older Cx class (around 250 cars).
Stockholms tunnelbana has been called “the longest art gallery in the world”: most of the network’s stations are legally decorated with mosaics, paintings and engravings.
Since the mid-80s, the Swedish subway system has been “targeted” and “hit” by graffiti writers. During the past years, a subway car on which graffiti had been painted could be kept in service for a very long time and graffiti could stay in its place at stations for many months. Nowadays, painted trains are immediately taken out of service and graffiti at stations is cleaned up within a few days.
VIENNA: Untergrundbahn Wien or “Wiener U-Bahn”
The Wiener U-Bahn officially opened on the 25th of February, 1978; however, test operations began on the 8th of May, 1976.
- The lines U4 and U6 date back to the Stadtbahn system, which first opened in 1898.
- Parts of U2 and U6 originate from underground tunnels which were initially built to accommodate tram lines.
- U1 and U3 were built as new subway lines.
The construction of a new line – U5 – has been announced in 2014: it will involve dividing the existing U2 line into 2 different lines and then extending each of them. The U5 line will be Vienna’s first driverless U-Bahn line.
The subway system uses 3 types of rolling stock: the older U/U1/U2 stock (1972), the T/T1 class (1993) and the newer V stock (2002). The old E6/C6 class has been retired in 2008.
U1, U2 and U3 are known as “Vienna’s art lines”: international artists have provided different types of artwork such as modern installations, murals and sculptures.
LONDON: London Underground or “The Tube”
The world’s first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway, opened in 1863. The first line to operate underground electric traction trains, the City & South London Railway, opened in 1890. London Underground’s 11 lines total 402 kilometers in length. The lines are made up of the sub-surface network and the deep-tube lines.
Services started in 1863 when the Metropolitan Railway opened to the public using steam locomotives. Concern about smoke in the tunnels led to the use of an experimental hot brick locomotive: “Fowler’s Ghost”.
In 1890, the first tube railway opened, using electric locomotives.
Nowadays, trains come in two sizes: larger sub-surface trains and smaller deep-tube trains. Rolling stock on sub-surface lines is identified by a letter (S Stock), while tube stock is identified by the year in which it was designed.
The British graffiti scene blossomed in the early 80s with the police turning a blind eye to what they believed to be a short-lived phenomena; however, the writers refused to put down the spray cans. The British Transport Police incorporated a Graffiti Squad in 1987 and courts began to switch from imposing light fines to handing out jail sentences.
BUCHAREST: Metrorex Bucureşti
The Romanian subway system first opened for service on the 16th of November, 1979. There are 4 lines in use (M1, M2, M3, M4), one is currently under construction (M5), and M6 is in the planning phase.
Metrorex uses 3 types of rolling stock: the Romanian designed IVA Astra cars (built between 1976 and 1992 in Arad, Romania), cars provided by Bombardier-Movia and cars built and provided by CAF.
The Romanian subway system is well known among writers from all over the world.
The IVA Astra rolling stock is approaching the end of its service life and the cars are being phased out. Loved for their unique design, the old Romanian “subway-queens” are admired and regarded as a “monument” by the local and foreign graffiti writers.
ATHENS: Μετρό Αθήνας or “Metró Athínas”
Metró Athínas incorporates the former Athens-Piraeus Electric Railways, which opened as a conventional steam railway in 1869, and which was electrified in 1904 and is now part of Line 1. In 1991, Attiko Metro constructed and extended Lines 2 and 3. The 3 line network serves 61 stations.
Six types of rolling stock operate on the network – the 8th batch (1983) being the oldest and the 3rd generation (2013) rolling stock being the latest in passenger service.
Trainspotting is permitted across the subway network; however, very often the security personnel might create problems for photographers.
NEW YORK: NY City Subway
Opened in 1904, the New York City Subway is the largest underground system in the world by number of stations, with 469 stations in operation.. The network is also one of the world’s longest: it contains 375 km of routes. The New York City Subway has a large fleet of rolling stock – about 6,400 cars.
In 2001, the New York City Transit Authority started disposing of retired subway cars by dumping them at sea to create artificial reefs, which are intended to promote marine life.
By the 1980s, increased police surveillance and implementation of new security measures led to the weakening of New York’s graffiti scene. Many writers; however, chose to see the new problems as a challenge rather than a reason to quit.
In 1984, The New York City Transit Authority began a 5-year program (1985 – 1989) to eradicate graffiti from subway cars: the rolling stock was either cleaned or replaced.
- Part II – ROME, PHILADELPHIA, PARIS, BERLIN, MADRID, MOSCOW
- Part III – MARSEILLE, BUDAPEST, BERLIN, LOS ANGELES, CATANIA, ROTTERDAM