A metropolitan service
Commencing operation on 6 November 1967 in the time of the former Soviet Union, Baku Metropolitan CJSC represents the rapid transit system for the city of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan
As the rapid transit system for the city of Baku, Baku Metropolitan CJSC (Baku Metro) is a vital transport hub for the population of the Azerbaijani capital. While the system officially commenced operation in November 1967, planning for the metro network began as early as the 1930s with the development of the Baku Metro transit system coming into effect following the end of the Second World War. Initially the system comprised 9.2 km of railway line and five stations, while the network has continued to grow and expand into the major metro system it is today.
“Today the Azerbaijan capital metro network consists of three lines, totalling 37 km in length and 25 stations. Its Red line (Icharishahar-Hazi Aslanov) has 13 stations, while the Green line (Khatai-Darnagul) incorporates ten stops and Purple line (Avtovaghzal-Memar Ajami) has two stations,” reveals Nasimi Pashayev, head of the press service and public relations department of Baku Metropolitan CJSC. “At the current time metro has two interchange stations with the Red and Green lines intersect at the 28 May and Jafar Jabbarli stations and the system’s Green and Purple lines at its Memar Ajami stations. One of the metro stations is situated on the surface, while eight of them are of great depth dating back to Soviet design and 16 of the stations are of shallow depth. Baku Metro is a very important transport means for the city as well as being a main part of its rich historic-cultural heritage. Indeed, the network is one of the key symbols of Baku with a unique architectural style at each of its stations.”
Baku Metro is currently progressing through a new period of development, which was ordered by the Government of Azerbaijan with a prospective development scheme adopted in 2011. Since that time the development of the network has continued in accelerating stages in collaboration with several leading construction organisations, with the first two stations of the metro’s third line – Avtovagzal and Memar Ajami – going into operation during 2016. “During the last ten years, five stations have been put into operation. In addition to introducing new stations, we have also undertaken a programme of modernisation across the network. For example, the Icharishahar, Koroglu, 28 May and Elmlar Akademiyasi stations have each recently been redeveloped,” Nasimi Pashayev says. “The network currently features eight stations that are of great depth underground, seven of which were built during the Soviet period and only featured a single exit. Two of these stations, 28 May and Elmlar Akademiyasi, now have two exits and we are working to extend this to other stations as well.”
According to its current development plan, the Baku Metro network will reach 119.1 km of metro lines by 2030. The full network of lines will consist of five lines, 76 stations and six electrical depots, with 51 new stations and 84.3 km of metro lines to be further enhanced over the coming years. In addition to developing its network of lines and stations, Baku Metro is also making investments into its fleet of modern trains. “During 2015 three new trains consisting of five carriages manufactured by the French company, Alstom were bought for Baku Metro and turned over for operation. These carriages incorporate modern controllable systems and meet high security and safety requirements. The passenger saloons of the trains are fully hermetic and equipped with air conditioning, microclimate control, modern passenger information systems and a special nook for wheel chairs. We are also taking systematic actions in the direction of making sure that our existing rolling stock is well maintained and always in peak working order,” Nasimi Pashayev elaborates.
“Until 2015 our trains were exclusively overhauled and modernised abroad, however we have recently started the process of carrying out these works locally and building a corresponding site for that. Trains are already being repaired by local specialists in workshops situated close to our depot area, while the local production of a lot of spare parts has afforded us an opportunity for conducting works qualitatively and rapidly. The most parts are prepared in enterprises functioning within country and in production sections of Baku metro,” he continues. “While previously 113 repair details and units were undertaken abroad, this number has been reduced to 37 and as a result of our implemented works a record number of carriages were repaired and maintained during 2015.”
Everyday more than 500,000 passengers use Baku Metro as an important part of their day-to-day lives. As part of the continued integration of the metro system into the life of the city, by August 2015 it became possible to make payment for both the Baku Metro and the city’s bus network using a single card system. This allows passengers, especially visitors to the city, to use both temporary and permanent cards. As the company continues to expand the strength of its rail network, Baku Metro will seek to build on the momentum of its current investment and implement new projects over the coming years.
“After the first two stations of new line of metro were put into operation in 2016, the construction work was rapidly begun at the third station as the next continuation of the line. This construction work is progressing at speed and it is expected that the new station will go into operation during 2018. The application of new technologies in Baku Metro is mainly related to the development of new lines, and construction picked up rapidly through the use of modern tunnel boring machines during our last construction period,” Nasimi Pashayev concludes. “Metro is the most used public transport means in Baku. According to calculations, about 30 per cent of city passengers make use of this transport means. The Metro system is one of the most effective means of transport during rush hours, making it a highly costeffective solution for clients.”