Kiev Metro

There is no doubt that the metro system is the most popular means of transport in Kiev. Kiev Metro is the backbone of the public transport system.

With the number of cars is continuously rising, Kiev Metro is aimed at relieving traffic on the main roads. In 2012, Kiev Metro carried 53% of all passengers. It is the highest modal share, if compared with the other metro systems of the CIS countries. For this reason, it is essential that the system should be effective, safe and easy to use as even a slightest disruption may literally paralyze the city.


The metro system in Kiev could have appeared many years ago, right after the London Underground which was the first metro in the world.

The first reference to a railway system in a tunnel dates back to 1884. The industrial development depended highly on connecting the Dnieper with the Kiev railways but after a long discussion, the City Council brushed off the idea. It is hard to say how this project could have influenced the development of the city but it is very probable that it could have led to the construction of a metro system. Yet, this is only a speculation.

The first real chance to build a metro system in Kiev arose in September, 1916 when a Chairman of the Board of the Kiev branch of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce came to the city mayor outlining the proposals for improving the transport system in the city. He wrote: “ The recent pace of Kiev’s development can be compared with that of America regarding population growth and industrial and commercial activities. Kiev’s residential areas are far from the business centre, the city is big and hilly and its citizens are business people. This demands fast, cheap and safe transport system. At present, Kiev trams have none of these features. The only option could be a gradual move from the overground trams to underground ones...”.

By offering its services to the city administration, the representatives of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce were well aware of the poor situation with the city funding and promised “to try to overcome this difficulty by attracting American funds”. The representatives of the Chamber asked the opinion of the City Council regarding the metro construction and the use of the American funds.

After a long discussion the City Council agreed to use American funds for building a rapid transport system in Kiev on condition that the city administration participates in the project too.

The Russian-American Chamber of Commerce agreed to the new terms. In January 1917, it asked for statistical data about Kiev in order to launch a campaign in America for raising the money to build Kiev Metro. However, the revolution of 1917 brought the plans to a halt.

Nevertheless, the topic arose again in June 1918. The Ukrainian Hetman Pavel Skoropadsky was planning to build a government building, a palace, the institutes of the Academy of Sciences, a central market and to improve the existing transport system by building new tram lines and a metro system.

As fate would have it, these grandiose plans were shelved for good when Simon Petlyura took over the government in December 1918.

It was only 20 years later that the idea of metro construction in Kiev began to seem realistic again.

On July 9, 1936, Kiev City Council studied the thesis of student Papazov from the Moscow Institute of Transport Engineers and agreed that “the ways of solving transport problems in the city and the metro map suggested by the author of the thesis were efficient”.

Year 1938 marked the beginning of the first preparatory works for Kiev Metro construction which were interrupted by the beginning of World War II.

However, the importance of the metro both as a means of transport and as civil defense facilities could not be underestimated. On August 5, 1944, before the war was over, the Council of People’s Commissars of USSR decreed that Kiev metro must be built.

The construction of the metro in Kiev began in 1949. Many new technologies later dubbed as “Kiev’s technologies” were used during the construction of the Kiev Metro.

Kiev’s specialists designed and introduced the first mechanical tunnel-boring machine in USSR. Intended to be used in sticky clay soil the TBM enabled to increase the speed of the tunneling works from 3 to 12 meters a day (it was used for building the line section between Kreshchatik and Universitet stations). Based on this experience a complex mechanical line for building train tunnels was developed.

It was also the first time that Kiev specialists started welding the rails on site using a special rail welding machine developed by the Paton Institute.

The first machines for hydraulic rotary drilling of dewatering holes (К 2/5-100) were also used in Kiev (between Shulyavska and Svyatoshin stations). The same method was later used in Moscow to build Avtozavodskaya station.

One the biggest achievements during the Kiev Metro construction was the use of prefabricated reinforced concrete frames instead of metal liner plates which leveled the costs down and improved the quality and robustness of the construction. Another unusual approach was used to build the cupola of Kreshchatik station vestibule: it was build of prefabricated reinforced concrete. The experiment was a success and the mounting of the same type of cupola at Universitet station vestibule later was two times faster and significantly cheaper.

The construction of Arsenalna station marked a significant milestone in Kiev Metro construction. The underground ticket hall of the station was first build overground and then moved down into the excavation pit with the frozen ground walls. It was the first time in the world history that a station was built using the ground freezing. Later on, this method was widely used when construction was done in the ground saturated with water and quicksand.

Kiev Metro was the third underground system built in the Soviet Union by joint efforts. It represented both a transport-engineering and an architectural complex of the Ukrainian capital.

Схема Киевского метрополитена

Kiev Metro was inaugurated on November 6, 1960. Its first line (Svyatoshinsko-Brovarska line) featured 5 stations (Vokzalna, Universitet, Arsenalna, Kreshchatik and Dnipro) and was 5,2 km. long. With the inventory rolling stock of 24 cars, the metro operated 15 pairs of three-car trains in peak hours carrying 130 thousand passengers per day. The first line section featured 18 escalators.

The arrival of the new means of public transport in Kiev relieved the passenger traffic in the existing transport system and added architectural beauty to the Ukrainian capital.

In 1976, the second line (Kurenivsko-Chervonoarmiyska line) came into passenger service and the third, Syretsko-Pecherska line, was opened in 1989.

Today, the Kiev Metro system features 3 lines with the total length of 67,5 km. and 52 stations, 3 of which are interchange stations. To commemorate the 70 years’ anniversary of the liberation of Kiev from fascist troops, Teremki station was inaugurated on November 6, 2013.

Новая станция «Теремки» введена в эксплуатацию 6 ноября 2013 г.

In 2012, Kiev Metro carried 527 million people. Over 1,5 million people are using the metro on a daily basis.

Three depots (Darnitsa, Obolon and Kharkivska) and a car maintenance plant are operating the metro fleet now. Their modernisation and expansion are on the agenda today.

The inventory rolling stock of Kiev Metro today is 779 cars. Over 600 cars are used for the daily operation. The car maintenance plant of Kiev Metro is engaged in 200 maintenance activities per year. 40 pairs of trains per hour provide the minimum headway of 90 seconds. However, this is not enough taking into consideration the introduction of new stations and line sections as well as the plans to decrease the headway on Syretsko-Pecherska line. In 2013, with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Kiev Metro obtained 50 cars.

Another important milestone in the history of Kiev Metro was the introduction of 5-car trains (81-702/81-7022 stock) produced by Kryukov Car Building Plant in Kremenchuk, Ukraine. Six trains produced by this plant are now in operation in Kiev Metro.

The cars feature modern interior design, vandal-proof seats, additional sound insulation and forced ventilation. The ergonomic driver’s cab is fitted out with modern control panel, air conditioning system and signaling system. The head cars have additional space for wheelchair users.

The Kryukov Car Building Plant has also manufactured a train with asynchronous driving unit and a computer control system which is now being tested in Kiev Metro. After making the necessary changes this type of stock will be brought into operation.

Kiev Metro in collaboration with the Kryukov Car Building Plant (Kremenchuk, Ukraine) and Japanese companies ITOCHU Corporation, TOSHIBA and TOKYO Car Corporation has started a project aimed at modernising E series of the rolling stock and introducing asynchronous driving units. The project supported by the government was launched owing to green funds provided under the conditions of Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The modernisation project will cover 95 train cars that have been in operation for over 40 years. As a result, the trains will become more comfortable for travelers, the train drivers will have better working conditions, the asynchronous driving unit will make the train ride smoother, the amount of CO2 will be reduced, the maintenance costs will go down and the service life of the trains will increase by 20 years.

The future fleet of Kiev Metro will feature cars with asynchronous driving units only.


There are 122 escalators of 18 types in 26 metro stations in Kiev. 27 of them have been in operation for over 50 years.

Kiev Metro and the Kruykov Car Building Plant have managed to optimise some parameters of the existing escalators. 15 modernised escalators are now in operation in Kiev Metro.

There are 83 electric power substations in Kiev Metro. The metro has over 10 thousand km. of power cables and it is using over 220 million kWh a year, 148 million kWh of which are used for the trains traction. Kiev Metro is actively using energy saving measures such as the replacement of energy-intensive equipment, the introduction of energy-saving devices, independent heating sources and automatic power control systems.

There are 232 pumping stations, 111 ventilation shafts with 218 main ventilators in Kiev Metro.

The tunnel length is almost 60 km.

The metro lines are equipped with automatic signaling system with automatic train speed control, radio connection, centralised switch control system which controls 274 switches.

Since 2005, Kiev Metro has been using the automated passenger access control system. The main reasons for its introduction were as follows:

  • the introduction of modern ticketing technology (MIFARE Plus S2K contactless card),
  • the introduction of fare collection system based on the length of the trip,
  • the increase of revenue owing to combating fraudulent ticketing,
  • the creation of effective fare policy.

The system complies with international standards. There are 15 types of travel cards in Kiev Metro and both tokens and contactless cards can be used.

The control of operations is done by the unified Control Centre of Kiev Metro.

All stations are equipped with CCTV which helps control the passenger flow and the work of ticket offices.

As part of the preparation for UEFA Euro 2012 finals the metro information system on trains was modernised. Another project aimed at providing good mobile phone coverage in Kiev Metro is being carried out. Later on, Wi-Fi services will be provided at all metro stations.

All metro stations entrances have been fitted out with a sound system for the blind and visually impaired people. The first and the last steps of all the staircases have been painted with yellow. The staircases have been furnished with ramps for wheelchair users and the new stations will be fitted out with ramps, elevators and special bumpy lines.

There are around 8000 workers in Kiev Metro. Kiev Metro staff takes great pride in their system and does its best to provide safe, reliable and enjoyable trips for passengers.

In order to improve the work of the system and to attain the goals, Kiev Metro workers are continuously improving their skills using the latest technologies and exchanging experience with their colleagues.

Kiev Metro has been an active member of the International Metro Association for 14 years. Our joint goals are to exchange ideas and experience, to support professional communication and to find the best solutions to existing problems.

Development prospects

An ambitious Transport Infrastructure Development Programme aimed at accelerating the construction tempo and the development of Kiev’s transport network including Kiev Metro has been drawn up and is currently being discussed.

The plans include the extension of Kiev Metro by 30 km. by 2020 by extending the three existing lines and building a new metro line called Podilsko-Vyhurivska. According to the Development Programme, 17 stations, 3 interchange stations, new entrances and exits for 2 existing stations, 3 new depots and the second part of the existing Kharkovskoe depot will be brought into operation.

The Programme involves the development and the modernisation of the metro facilities: the escalator maintenance workshops, the modernisation of trains, the acquisition of new cars, the increase of the fleet by almost 600 cars, escalators replacement and the modernisation of the fire protection systems of the metro.

The growth of the Ukrainian capital and its population, the increase in the amount of traffic and the impossibility to rearrange the roads network downtown results in constant traffic jams and the decrease of roads safety. These problems can be solved not only by developing the metro system but also by reorganising transportation processes like it is done in major European cities.

The development of Kiev’s main transport network must keep pace with the changes in the city. On this condition the metro system will match the image of the fast developing Kiev.

Metro museum

Kiev Metro museum opened 40 years after the inauguration of the first metro line. Much work was carried out by enthusiastic metro workers to find historical documents, photos and videos and to interview the first workers of Kiev Metro.

The museum is located in the headquarters of Kiev Metro (35, Prospekt Svobody, Kiev). The exhibits are displayed in 3 halls which resemble a 3-car metro train. All the information is presented in chronological order. The museum houses over 2500 exhibits.

The first hall is dedicated to the metro development and to the inauguration of its lines, stations and facilities. Photos, construction documents, orders and flags, documents relating about Kiev Metro management etc. are on display. The unusual exhibit is a 1:87 model of Dnipro station and a depot built in 1960-65. The latter model demonstrates the method that was used to hoist and descend the first D stock cars from the depot to the station. It was done with the help of a turning platform and a lifting jack.


The other two halls showcase the exhibits of different metro departments. New developments, train models, equipment, first tokens and tickets, symbolic station keys, invitations to the opening of stations and line sections, the first clock from the central clock metro station which synchronised the time and the headway, a 1:87 model of the turnaround track are on display. The museum is of great interest to anyone who wants to know the history of Kiev Metro.


Key Performance Indicators, 2012  
Total operational length (two tracks), km 66,15
Number of lines 3
Number of stations 51
           including number of stations with one exit  25
Metro system density ( per city km.) 0.08
Number of pairs of trains per hour  40
Minimum headway, sec  90
Fulfillment of train schedule, %  99,92
Inventory rolling stock, cars 775
Rolling stock in operation, cars 770
Total car/km, mio.  76,6
Number of depots 3
Average operational train speed, km/h.  42,4
Average train speed, km/h. 36,2
Power consumption, mio. kWh 220,58
            including power for train traction, mio. kWh  148,24
Specific energy consumption for traction, Wh per t/km 51,82
Number of substations  81
Length of power cable systems, km 10460
Number of escalators in operation 122
Number of stations with escalators 26
Length of lines equipped with speed control systems, km., including: 66,15
             as a main signaling system, km. 66,15
             with seamless track circuit, km. 23.9
Number of switches 268
Number of ventilation shafts in operation 111
Number of ventilators in operation 215
Number of water drainage installations 223
Operational length of tunnels, km. 58,14
Staff responsible for operations, pers. 5865
Total ridership, mio. pax. 526,7
Average daily ridership, mio. pax.


Cost of transportation of 1 passenger, rub 9,97
Modal share, % 53
































Tel.: + 38 044 238 44 21

Fax: + 38 044 238 44 46