Welcome to the latest installment in my series of posts about my holiday in Sweden. To set the scene for the rest of this post here is picture:
TUNNELBANA AND MY HOLIDAY
Although I made some use of the Tunnelbana at the beginning of my holiday, it was during my last full day in Stockholm at the end that I really got to know they system, having decided that in addition to exploring the city I would do some serious travelling on the system. I had seen enough even early on to realise that it was going to warrant a post.
Although I had spent little time travelling on Tunnelbana in my first spell in and around Stockholm I did get some pictures…
A SYSTEM OF TWO PARTS
If you consult the system map included below the introduction you will note that there are three lines, coloured red, green and blue on the map. The red and green lines are older, and their tunnel sections, which make up a small minority of their length, are standard tunnels. The blue line is newer, and bar one station on the Akalla branch is in tunnel the whole way. It is the blue line that features the cave like station sections.
A BYZANTINE INTERCHANGE
The only place where all three lines meet as at T-Centralen, and the interchanges between the blue line and the others are very long at that station. With only three lines meeting plus an interchange to mainline railways the arrangements here are not as labyrinthine as at the Bank-Monument complex in London which is probably the world record holder for user-unfriendly interchanges. Thus, when out on my own on that last full day I decided that I would avoid T-Centralen, making use of the interchange I had noted at Fridhelmsplan between the blue and green lines and the cross-platform interchanges available between the green and red lines at Gamla Stan and Slussen. The Fridhelmsplan interchange involves going up a travalator (it is not an escalator as it is smooth rather than stepped) but is very straightforward, unlike the multiple escalators and horizontal travalator of the T-Centralen interchange.
Having changed at Fridhelmsplan I took a green line train to Gamla Stan, where I went for a long waterside walk which will feature in another post in this series. It was after this walk the my serious explorations began.
My first target was Ropsten on the red line…
My next move once I reached a suitable interchange point was to switch to the Green line and head to one of its terminus stations. The train I boarded was headed for…
This journey was almost all open to the air, with parts of it being quite scenic.
At Farsta Strand I went for a bit of a walk to get a feel for the area.
From Farsta Strand I travelled to Fridhelmsplan where I changed to the blue line, having seen enough of the other two and having decided that I wished to see the whole of the blue line.
THE BLUE LINE
Back on the blue line I decided that my first move would to be explore Kungstragarden. I will be putting up a whole post about Kungstragarden, because there is so much to see at the surface there. The station is practically a destination in its own right, as the following pictures will indicate…
Having explored Kungstragarden (and had lunch there), my next move was to get a train to…
The journey to Akalla and then back as far as Vastra Skogen to change to the Hjulsta branch featured the only above ground section of the blue line, and plentiful art works some of which I was able to capture with my camera. Of course at Akalla and also at the change point of Vastra Skogen I had the advantage of not being on the train the whole time.
My last travelling of the day was from Vastra Skogen to Hjulsta, and then back from Hjulsta to Huvudsta where I was being accommodated. I only got a few pictures from this last section of the journey.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON TUNNELBANA
Tunnelbana is a superbly efficient system, and the artwork which can be found everywhere on it, and especially the cave like station platform and passageway segments on the blue line boost it from the merely utilitarian (itself a level considerably above that usually attained by London Underground these days!) and make it a genuine attraction. Unless you are going to be catching a train from Stockholm Central I would recommend that you follow the approach I took on my day of exploration and avoid using T-Centralen as an interchange. I also recommend that you obtain a free Stockholm map (it includes the system diagram that appears at the top of this post). I have seen three underground systems that in different ways can claim uniqueness – London is the original, St Petersburg is further below the surface than any other, and Stockholm for reasons outlined above and (I hope) demonstrated throughout this post. I conclude by saying that I hope you have enjoyed this virtual tour of the Tunnelbana as much as I enjoyed both the real thing and creating this post.