Thursday, 27 December 2018

The Stockholm Metro: A Guide/Review

Hello, all readers. This is my first post on my new blog. I will be posting here write-ups of my travels, reviews of transportation systems, and also some tech related stuff. I am writing this on board a ferry coming back from my visit to Stockholm, and this post will be a guide and review of the public metro system in Stockholm.

History


Construction of a section of the metro just north of T-centralen in 1957
The first line of the Stockholm Metro opened in 1950. Prior to that, several tram lines were built to metro standards, to later form part of the metro system - these were called "pre-metro." By 1957, the former short sections of metro lines were connected at T-Central station, forming the Green Line. Later, the Red Line was opened in 1964, running from T-Central to Fruängen and Örsberg, and was extended to Mörby Centrum in 1978. By that time, the Blue Line had been running for 3 years, with 2 lines heading northwest of the city centre. The newest station, Skarpnäck, was opened in 1994, and is the 100th station on the network.

The Network

The Stockholm Metro consists of 3 colour-coded routes - the former Green, Red, and Blue Lines. These are sometimes referred to as Subway Systems 1, 2 and 3 respectively. Routes are served by trains on different services, each with their own number. These run along the same route for the most part, but have different termini.
The Stockholm Metro network diagram. Source: MTR
There are a total of 7 different services.
  • 10  Kungsträdgården – Hjulsta
  • 11  Kungsträdgården – Akalla
  • 13 Norsborg - Ropsten
  • 14 Fruängen - Mörby centrum
  • 17 Åkeshov – Skarpnäck
  • 18 Alvik - Farsta strand
  • 19 Hässelby strand - Hagsätra
The Red and Green routes share tracks between T-Centralen and Slussen, and cross-platform interchanges are available. In addition to T-Central, there is only 1 other interchange station between routes on the network: Fridhemsplan.

Fares

The Stockholm Metro forms part of SL's urban transit network within Stockholm, and accepts SL Access smart cards for ticketing. These cost 20 SEK, and are available from metro stations and Pressbyrån kiosks. These can be topped up with credit for single journeys, or time limited travelcards (e.g 24 hours, 72 hours, etc) for unlimited rides within a set time. There are discounts available for young people (under 20 years old), seniors and students in Sweden. A 24 hour travelcard for adults costs 125 SEK, 72 hours is 250 SEK, and 7 days is 325 SEK. For people entitled to discounts, they cost 85, 165 and 220 SEK respectively.

For visitors who only make 1-2 journeys, paper tickets are still available from ticket machines and from the SL mobile app. A single ride ticket for adults costs 44 SEK, 30 for people entitled to discounts.

Technical Details

The 3 systems of the Stockholm Metro operate on different signalling systems as well. On the Red and Blue lines (Systems 2 and 3) the old system is in use, manufactured by Union Switch & Signal, and on System 1 a newer system enabling Automatic Train Operation (ATO) made by Siemens. All systems use a 3rd rail power supply, with a nominal voltage of 650V on Systems 1 and 2, and 750V on System 3.

There are 4 models of rolling stock in operation: the modern C20 trains, and the older Cx trains: C6, C14 and C15. C6 trains run on System 2, C14 and C15 run on System 3. C20 trains make up the majority of the fleet, and run on all lines. System 1 is the sole domain of the C20, due to the new signalling system. C6 units were built in 1970-1974, while the C14 and C15 were built from 1985-1989, both by ASEA. The C20 trains were built by Bombardier in Kalmar Verkstadt from 1997 to 2004. 

C6 train 2664 at T-Central, running on service 14

C20 train. Source: Jognes, Wikimedia Commons


My impression

The metro in Stockholm was the first metro I ever took, and it is very well operated. The stations are clean, accessible, and the signage is clear - even for someone who speaks no Swedish. The C20 trains are modern, clean and comfortable, however drivers tend to handle the train a bit aggressively outside the Green Line, so make sure to hold the handrail when standing. The fares are reasonable, considering the purchasing power of the SEK. The Stockholm Metro is a good way to get around the city - for both locals and visitors.

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