Stockholm metro

Stockholm metro

A C14 train on line 13 towards Norsborg in Bredäng

A C20 train on line 19 at Rådmansgatan station
Native name Stockholms tunnelbana
Locale Stockholm, Sweden
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 7
Number of stations 100[1]
Daily ridership 898,630 (average, 2013)
Annual ridership 328 million (2013)[2]
Website SL Official Site (English)
Began operation 30 September 1933 (as premetro)
1 October 1950 (as metro)
Operator(s) MTR Corporation
Train length 140 metres (460 ft)
System length 105.7 km (65.7 mi)[1]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
(standard gauge)
Electrification 650 V DC third rail (line 13, 14, 17, 18 and 19)
750 V DC third rail (line 10 and 11)
Top speed 80 km/h (50 mph)

The Stockholm metro (Swedish: Stockholms tunnelbana, literally: Stockholm's Tunnel Rail) is a metro system in Stockholm, Sweden. The first line opened in 1950, and today the system has 100 stations in use,[1] of which 47 are underground and 53 above ground. There are three coloured main lines on the tube maps. These do however form seven actual routes (with different termini). Routes number 17, 18 and 19 (belonging to the green main line), 13 and 14 (red main line) and 10 and 11 (blue main line) all go through Stockholm City Centre in a very centralized metro system. All seven actual lines use The T-Centralen hub station. Apart from this Central Station for the metro, there exists just one other junction, the Fridhemsplan station, although both the green and red lines are mutually accessible at the Slussen and Gamla Stan stations.

The metro is like the London Underground and the Paris Métro, but unlike the U-Bahn and S-Bahn in Berlin, in that it is equipped with ticket gates. No ticket control is made when boarding the trains, but ticket checks are quite common. Single tickets must be bought in advance (typically in privately owned smaller shops and kiosks), or at ticket machines that are available in all underground stations and on several tram- bus- or boat stops. Passengers can also buy tickets at the ticket booth, just by the gates to the metro.

In 2013, the metro carried 328 million passengers,[2] which corresponds to approximately 898,630 riders per day. The 105.7-kilometre-long (65.7 mi) metro system[1] is owned by the Stockholm County Council through the company Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL). The operation is contracted to MTR Corporation.

The Stockholm metro system has been called 'the world's longest art gallery',[3] with more than 90 of the network's 100 stations decorated with sculptures, rock formations, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings and reliefs by over 150 different artists.


Construction of a section of the metro just north of T-centralen in 1957
1965 masterplan for the Stockholm metro which follows the current route alignments closely

The decision to build a metro was made in 1941. The following years, and in some cases earlier, some routes were built with near metro standard but operated with trams. These included Kristineberg-Islandstorget, SlussenBlåsut (including the oldest tunnel Slussen–Skanstull from 1933) and TelefonplanHägerstensåsen. The first part of the metro was opened on 1 October 1950, from Slussen to Hökarängen, having been converted from tram to metro operation. In 1951 a second line from Slussen to Stureby was opened (this was also tram operated until then). In 1952, a second system, from Hötorget to the western suburbs was opened. In 1957, the two parts were connected via the Central station (at T-Centralen) and the Old Town (at Gamla stan metro station), forming the Green Line. During the period 1950-1960 the Green Line was extended piece by piece.

The Red Line was opened in 1964, from T-Centralen over Liljeholmen ending in Fruängen and Örnsberg, both in the Southwest.[4] It was extended piece by piece until 1978. The third and final system, the Blue Line, was opened in 1975, with two lines running northwest from the city center. As the construction requirements have become more strict over the years, newer segments have more tunnels than older, and the Blue Line is almost all in tunnel. The latest addition to the whole network, Skarpnäck station, was opened in 1994.



Exposed bedrock at the Rådhuset Station

There are 100 stations in use in the Stockholm metro (of which 47% are underground). One station, Kymlinge, was built but never taken into use. One station has been taken out of use and demolished. The Bagarmossen old surface station was demolished and replaced with a new underground station, this being prior to the metro extension to the Skarpnäck metro station.

The Stockholm metro is well known for its decoration of the stations; it has been called the longest art gallery in the world.[5] Several of the stations (especially on the Blue Line) are left with the bedrock exposed, crude and unfinished, or as part of the decorations. At Rissne, an informative wall fresco about the history of Earth's civilizations runs along both sides of the platform.


In the tunnels
Near-geographically accurate map of the Stockholm metro

The following details relate to the present network. The designations "blue line", etc., have only been used since the late 1970s, and officially only since the 1990s. They originated from the fact that the "blue line" tended to operate newer train stock painted blue, while the "green line" had older stock in the original green livery. There was never any red painted stock, though, but red (or originally orange) was chosen to differentiate this line from the other two networks on route maps.

Trains are operated from 05:00 to 01:00, with extended all night service on Fridays and Saturdays. All lines have trains every 10 minutes during daytime, reduced to every 15 minutes in early mornings and late evenings, and every 30 minutes during nights. Additional trains in peak hours gives a train every 5–6 minutes on most stations, with 2–3 minutes between trains on the central parts of the network.

The metro contains four interchanges (T-Centralen, Slussen, Gamla Stan and Fridhemsplan) and lacks any kind of circular or partly circular line (although Stockholm has a semi-circular light rail line, Tvärbanan). A wide majority of the metro stations are located in suburbs, but the network is centred on T-Centralen where all trains in the entire network pass.

In the past, there have been additional line numbers in use for trains operated on part of a line, or during peak hours only. For example, line number 23 was used for a peak relief train for line 13 which in the 1970s was operated between Sätra and Östermalmstorg and during the 1990s between Norsborg and Mörby Centrum.

Line Stretch Travel
Length Stations (in "innerstan")
T10 Kungsträdgården Hjulsta 23 min 15.1 km (9.4 mi) 14, (5)
T11 Kungsträdgården Akalla 22 min 15.6 km (9.7 mi) 12, (5)
T13 Norsborg Ropsten 44 min 26.6 km (16.5 mi) 25, (10)
T14 Fruängen Mörby centrum 33 min 19.5 km (12.1 mi) 19, (9)
T17 Åkeshov Skarpnäck 43 min 19.6 km (12.2 mi) 24, (12)
T18 Alvik Farsta strand 37 min 18.4 km (11.4 mi) 23, (12)
T19 Hässelby strand Hagsätra 55 min 28.6 km (17.8 mi) 35, (12)
Entire metro network 108 km (67 mi) 100, (25)


Preserved C2 carriage, February 2005
A train of older stock, type C4. All C4s were retired from service in 2003
C20, popularly called "Vagn 2000", the newest train type

Rolling stock

There are two main types of cars in the Stockholm metro: the newer C20 stock, and the older C1–C15 stocks, which are collectively referred to as the Cx stock. A train typically consists of two or three cars of the C20 stock connected in double or triple configuration (six or nine cars), or six or eight cars of the Cx stock. A full length train—three C20 cars, or eight Cx cars—is about 140 metres (460 ft) in length, and takes about 1,250 passengers, of which about 380 can be seated.[7][8][9][10][11][12] The Blue Line—as well as the Red Line (from Stadion to Mörby Centrum)—was built with longer platforms to allow running trains consisting of ten Cx cars. When the C20 was introduced, it appeared that trains consisting of four C20 cars would not fit completely on these platforms.

There are 271 cars of the C20 stock, and around 250 Cx stock cars. The green line only uses the new cars, and they are used most of the time on the Red and Blue Lines. However, during rush hours, especially on shortened services, older cars are commonly seen. Of the older cars the stocks C6, C14 and C15 are still in use, with the C6's operating on the red line and the C14/C15's on the blue line. C14/C15 trains may occasionally show up on the red line as well. All trains are based at Hammarby, Högdalen and Vällingby Depots on line 17, 18 and 19, Nyboda Depot on line 13 and 14, and Rissne Depot on line 10 and 11.

Historically the metro is converted from a tramway and the older sections were run as tramway for a few years. The naming convention for rolling stock comes from this, where A are motorised trams, B are unmotorised trams (trailers) and C are metro cars.

Former rolling stock (including prototypes)

Interior of a preserved and restored C2 car that is part of a vintage train
Class Introduced Withdrawn Notes
C1 1950 1984
C2 1950 1999
C3 1957 1999
C4 1960 2003
C5 1963 1996 Silverpilen
C7 1972 ? Prototype cars
C8 1974 1995
C9 1976 2008
C12 1977 1995
C13/C13H 1982 c.2000 Some units were rebuilt into C13H stock in 1995–1997.

Cx stock cars

Interior of a C6H type car

The name Cx refers to all the older types C1–C15. The only cars of the Cx stock still in use are C6, C14 and C15. They are 17.32 m (56.8 ft) to 17.62 m (57.8 ft) in length, 2.8 m (9.2 ft) in width, 3.70 m (12.1 ft) to 3.78 m (12.4 ft) in height, and weigh 23 to 29 metric tons. The cars take 48 seated passengers, and 108 to 110 standing passengers. They were built in the 1970s and 1980s.[7][8][9][10]

C20 stock cars

Main article: Bombardier C20
Interior of a new C20 car

The C20 car is double-articulated, 46.5 metres (153 ft) in length, 2.9 metres (9.5 ft) in width, 3.8 metres (12 ft) in height, and weighs 67 tonnes (66 long tons; 74 short tons). It uses only four bogies, two under the middle part, and one under each end part of car. The car takes 126 seated passengers, and 288 standing passengers. The C20 stock cars were built between 1997 and 2004 and first entered service in 1998.[11]

A single prototype car designated C20F stock is in use. Built on Bombardier Transportation's FICAS technology,[13] it has a lighter body, much thinner side walls, and more space compared to the regular C20, by using a sandwich-like composite construction of the body. It also has air-conditioning for passenger area, whereas standard C20 has air-conditioning only for the driver's cab. The C20F weighs 65 tonnes (64 long tons; 72 short tons), other exterior measurements are the same as for the C20. The C20F has the same number of seats as the C20, but has space for 323 standing passengers.[12]

C30 stock cars

The C30 is a future articulated train type intended to be delivered from 2016 onwards for use on the red line.[14] The 80 cars are expected to cost 2-3 billion kronor.

Infrastructure and safety

A train on the way between Liljeholmen metro station and Nybodadepån.

The Stockholm metro runs electrically using a third rail with a nominal operating voltage of 650 V DC on line 13, 14, 17, 18 and 19; and 750 V DC on lines 10 and 11.

The maximum speed is 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) on the Red and Blue Lines, 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph) on the Green Line (50 kilometres per hour (31 mph) at the platforms). Maximum acceleration and deceleration is 0.8 m/s2. The reason for the lower speed limit on the Green Line is due to tighter curves than on the other lines, because the Green Line was built by cut and cover under streets in the inner city, while the other lines are bored at greater depth. Two safety systems exist in the metro: the older system manufactured by Union Switch & Signal in use on the Red and Blue Lines and a newer autopilot system in use on the Green Line and manufactured by Siemens.

To allow close-running trains with a high level of safety, the metro uses a continuous signal safety system that sends information continually to the train's safety system. The signal is picked up from the rail tracks through two antennas placed in front of the first wheel axle and compared with data about the train's speed. Automatic braking is triggered if the train exceeds the maximum permitted speed at any time. The driver is given information about the speed limit through a display in the driver's cabin; in C20 stock, and in Cx stock outfitted for operation with the new signal system installed on the Green Line, this is a speedometer with a red maximum speed indicator (needle), while the traditional display in the Cx stock is a set of three lights indicating one of three permitted speeds (high, medium, low). The system allows two trains to come close to each other but prevents collisions occurring at speeds greater than 15 kilometres per hour (9.3 mph). More modern systems also ensure that stop signals are not passed.

Another possibility is automatic train operation, which helps the driver by driving the train automatically. However, the driver still operates the door controls and allows the train to start. ATO is as of 2006 only available on the Green line, where a new signal system was installed in the late 1990s. This signal system, together with the C20 rolling stock, permits the use of ATO. The signalling system on the Red Line is however being replaced with Communications-based train control manufactured by Ansaldo STS which will go into operation in 2014.


Graffiti at the Karlaplan metro station, on the red line

Since the mid-1980s, the Stockholm metro has been seriously affected by graffiti. Previously a train on which graffiti had been painted could remain in service for weeks and graffiti could remain in place at stations for months if not for years. Nowadays, however, trains with graffiti are taken out of service immediately and graffiti at stations is regularly cleaned up within a few days. The cost of graffiti and other types of vandalism has been calculated at approximately SEK 100 million per year.[15]

During the 1990s, the Stockholm Transit System (SL) started outsourcing security to private security firms, some of which have been accused of using unlawful methods, such as the use of plainclothes guards and heavy-handed treatment of vandals arrested, and even heavy-handed treatment of ticketless passengers trying to escape. Since 2005, the Stockholm Police have assigned a special task force (Klotterkommissionen) to address the issues. The mainstay among the private security contractors in the fight against graffiti is the Commuter Security Group.


In 2013, it was announced that agreement had been reached on the future of several extensions. Preliminary planning started in 2016 and revenue service on the first sections is projected to begin in 2020.[16]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "SL Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL). 21 June 2007. p. 17. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  2. 1 2 "Årsberättelse 2013" [Annual Report 2013] (pdf) (in Swedish). Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL). 2013. p. 59. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  3. Art Discussion website 'Twisted Sifter'
  4. See "Technical Description of the Stockholm Underground Railway 1964," published by Stockholm's Public Works Department and the Stockholm Passenger Transport Co. At that time, the lines were known as Line 1 and Line 2.
  5. "Art and architecture in the Metro". Storstockholms Lokaltrafik. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
  6. Stockholm metro timetables. Storstockholms Lokaltrafik. 2007. T10 T11 T13 T14 T17 T18 T19
  7. 1 2 "SL class C6". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  8. 1 2 "SL class C9". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  9. 1 2 "SL class C14". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  10. 1 2 "SL class C15". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  11. 1 2 "SL class C20". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  12. 1 2 "SL class C20F". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  13. "C20 and FICAS on the Bombardier site". Bombardier Inc.
  14. "Stockholm seeks metro car builders". Railway Gazette International. 14 April 2009.
  15. "SL Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL). 21 June 2007. p. 29. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  16. "Historisk överenskommelse ger stockholmarna ny tunnelbana". Stockholms läns landsting. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
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