Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cavernous subways

As long as I can remember, I've been fascinated with subways. In Boston, where I grew up, I was a virtual Charlie on the M(B)TA. Some of the stations, especially on the Red and Blue lines, were fascinating:
- South Station had the oldest working escalator in the world: the steps were made from interlocking wooden dowels!
- The Aquarium stop was so deep and steep, you could get vertigo from the ride down the escalators.
- Porter Square in Cambridge was a twisting, turning rut that opened into a 2 story underground chamber.
- Park Street? All glorious tile and inlay.

The list goes on. I've always tried to ride subways in every city I go, from Montreal's famous rubber-tired trains, to the cool efficiency of the Metro in DC, to the classic "El" in Chicago, to the opulent carpets and couches of the Bay Area's BART. It's just an efficient, effective way to travel, and evokes the speed of rail with the convenience of in-town.

However, some places take subways to another level. Moscow's elegant crystal and marble; Berlin's modern efficiency. But Stockholm's is a whole world apart. Check out that image to the left: it's a station carved from a cave. These pictures are amazing; as the site says:
"The Stockholm Tunnelbana has three lines encompassing 110km of track and 100 stations of which 64km and 55 stations are underground. Several of the deep underground stations are cut into solid rock which were left with cave-like ceilings. The builders carved fascinating artistic objects out of the rock. One like the base of a gigantic Greek column (Station Radhuset) resembles the excavated remains of some lost city of Atlantis encased in an ancient lava flow. The Station Kungstradgarden has torsos and lion heads emerging from the rock. Modern murals and statues are liberally used in many other stations."

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