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The “grand-mothers of the metro” of Moscow will disappear

Their voices will not be heard in the corridors of the Moscow metro. Victims of the grand plan of modernization of the underground network in moscow was launched in view of the World-2018, “the grand-mothers of the metro” will disappear. The symbols of the Russian capital, they occupied the cabins of surveillance of the gigantic escalators. These women, aged 50 years and over, dubbed ” the babouchki of the metro “, were in charge of enforcing the rules of safety and etiquette. They were part of the ” folklore of Moscow “, reports Alexander Ribkov, philosophy student and passenger hard line ” red “, one of the oldest, which crosses the city.

Since the opening of the first lines in 1935, they ordered loudly in the microphone is place on the right of escalators, not to collapse on the ramp, not to sit, not to run, not to impede the passage… ” The rules are very many and I am often reminded of the order. Sometimes, they give me the screaming top even harder than my own mother, ” laughs Alexander Ribkov. The announcement of their replacement by ” better trained employees to the safety rules “, in the words of the spokesperson of the network Anastasiya Fiodorova, has caused the sorrow of many Muscovites. “I liked them a lot, they are going to miss me “, regrets already Alexander Ribkov.

One of the subways of the deepest in the world

Then is already emerging as the prospect of the football world Cup 2018 in the Russian capital, the moscow metro, visited each day by more than 9 million passengers, is in full moult to welcome the many tourists that this event will drain. The renovation is protean : new trains with Wifi connections and offering the possibility to recharge the mobile phones, automatic terminals for issuing of tickets and payment by credit card, messages now broadcast in English (a little revolution)… The subway hiring even in the English-speaking staff. Trains special to promote the cause dear to the Russian State : the rescue of tigers and leopards, of the Russian cinema, especially around the Second world War, the Russian art… In this great upheaval underground, the monumental stair-lifts, very often represented in the Russian culture, will also soon make a new skin.

The Moscow metro is one of the deepest in the world, after those of Kiev and St. Petersburg, as most of the stations in the center of Moscow were built to serve as shelter in case of bombardment. The escalator of the station muscovite Park Pobedy fact and 126 meters in length, a trip of almost five minutes for its users. His eyes glued to the steps, hands clinging to the railing, Ekaterina Arkhipenkova has a hard time fighting off the dizziness that came over him every time she borrows the metro station Smolenskaïa, to 50 meters of depth. “I’ve always been afraid, I guess I’m going to lose the balance, that I will fall,” says the Moscow 24 years old, white as a cloth. The last accident date of 1982 : eight passengers had fallen into a hole of the escalator and had been caught and crushed, according to the authorities.

Ensure the safety of passengers and improve the service

Under the feet of the Muscovites, in the bowels of the escalator, the engineer Alexander Kovaliev is active to avoid accidents. In a labyrinth of pipes, the young man watching, concentrated, with the three escalators from the station Smolenskaïa parading in a deafening noise. Each day, the three escalators of this station, transporting more than 90,000 passengers. “It is a technical feat “, he says. It is also “a place of life,” said student Alexander Ribkov, highlighting that” there are two types of passengers : those who go down to any speed escalators, but also those who do a lot of things : read, think, chat… ” When the steps of these old escalators have travelled 90 000 km, the equivalent of two times the circumference of the Earth, they are revised. Some are in the exercise for several decades, said the engineer. The button on their dashboard seems not to have changed since the construction of the station in 1952.

But it will soon be finished these dinosaurs soviets. To “ensure the safety of passengers and improve the service” in view of the Global and 2018, more and more stations are converted to their escalators to historic escalators with brand-new, lighted on each side by lights blue. “We can’t repair the older ones : they need to be replaced entirely, because the plant that manufactured their markets were closed,” says Alexander Kovaliev. “It is not easy to install a new stairway mechanical : the engine room must be entirely changed, and the subway exit may be blocked for several months,” recalls the engineer. In the new machine room there is a relative silence. The new escalators have ” less charm, but they are more enjoyable “, said Alexander Kovaliev. For Ekaterina Arkhipenkova, regardless of whether it’s an escalator, modern or soviet : the young woman remains paralyzed by their depth.

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