Stockholm Metro

Stockholm Metro
Stockholms tunnelbana
Stockholm metro symbol.svg
Locale Stockholm
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 3 (green, red and blue)
7 services
Number of stations 100
Daily ridership 1,122,000
Began operation 1950
Operator(s) MTR Corporation
Train length 140 metres (460 ft)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
(standard gauge)
Top speed 80 km/h (50 mph)

The Stockholm Metro (Swedish: Stockholms tunnelbana) is a metro system in Stockholm, Sweden. The first line opened in 1950, and today the system has 100 stations in use, of which 47 are underground and 53 above ground. There are seven lines numbered from 10 to 19, in three groups identified by a color: the Green, Red and Blue lines. Each color line has two or three numbered lines on shared sections through the Stockholm City Centre.

The 105.7 kilometres (65.7 mi) long metro system is owned by the Stockholm County Council through Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL). The operation is contracted to MTR Corporation.



Construction of a section of the metro in 1957

The decision to build a metro was made in 1941. The following years, some routes were built with near metro standard but operated with trams. The first part of the metro was opened in 1950, when an underground tram line from 1933 was converted to metro standard. This line ran south from Slussen to Hökarängen. Over the following years, two more lines extending from Slussen (via Gullmarsplan, then Johanneshov) were opened. In 1952, a second system from Hötorget to the western suburbs was opened. In 1957, the two parts were connected via the Central station and the Old Town, forming the Green Line. The Red Line was opened in 1964, with two lines going from northeast to southwest via the city center. The third and final system, the Blue Line, was opened in 1975, with two lines running northwest from the city center. The latest addition to the whole network, Skarpnäck station, was opened in 1994.


Rådhuset Station on the blue line


There are 100 stations in use in the Stockholm Metro. One station, Kymlinge, was built but never taken into use. One station has been taken out of use and demolished. The Bagarmossen old surface station was demolished and replaced with a new underground station there instead, this prior to the metro extension to Skarpnäck metro station.

The Stockholm Metro is well known for its decoration of the stations; it has been called the longest art gallery in the world.[2] This not fully true since some other metros, most notably Moscow, have more stations with art. Several of the stations (especially on the Blue Line) are left with the bedrock exposed, crude and unfinished, or as part of the decorations. At Rissne, an informative wall fresco about the history of Earth's civilizations runs along both sides of the platform.

Kungsträdgården station on the blue line


In the tunnels
Near-geographically accurate map of the Stockholm Metro

The following details relate to the present network. The designations "blue line," etc., have only been used since the late 1970s, and officially only since the 1990s. They originated from the fact that the "blue line" tended to operate newer train stock painted blue, while the "green line" had older stock in the original green livery. There was never any red painted stock, though, but red (or originally orange) was chosen to differentiate this line from the other two networks on route maps.

  • The Green line (officially Tunnelbana 1, meaning "Tunnel Track" 1) has 3 line numbers and 49 stations: 12 subterranean (nine concrete, three rock) and 37 above ground stations. The track is 41,256 metres long. It opened 1 October 1950 (between Slussen and Hökarängen stations). It is used by 451,000 passengers per workday or 146 million per year (2005).
  • The Red line (Tunnelbana 2) has 2 line numbers and 36 stations: 20 subterranean (four concrete, 16 rock) and 15 above ground stations. The track is 41,238 metres long. It opened 5 April 1964. It is used by 394,000 passengers per workday or 128 million per year (2005).
  • The Blue line (Tunnelbana 3) has 2 line numbers and 20 stations: 19 subterranean (all rock) and one elevated station. The track is 25,516 metres long. It opened 31 August 1975. It is used by 171,000 passengers per workday or 55 million per year (2005).

Trains are operated from 05:00 to 01:00, with extended all night service on weekends. All lines have trains every 10 minutes during daytime, reduced to every 15 minutes in early mornings and late evenings, and every 30 minutes during nights. Additional trains in peak hours gives a train every 5–6 minutes on most stations, with 2–3 minutes between trains on the central parts of the network.

In the past, there have been additional line numbers in use for trains operated on part of a line, or during peak hours only. For example, line number 23 was used for a peak relief train for line 13 which in the 1970s was operated between Sätra and Östermalmstorg and during the 1990s between Norsborg and Mörby Centrum.

Line Stretch Travel
Length Stations
T10 Kungsträdgården – Hjulsta 23 min 15.1 km (9.4 mi) 14
T11 Kungsträdgården – Akalla 22 min 15.6 km (9.7 mi) 12
T13 Norsborg – Ropsten 44 min 26.6 km (16.5 mi) 25
T14 Fruängen – Mörby centrum 33 min 19.5 km (12.1 mi) 19
T17 Åkeshov – Skarpnäck 43 min 19.6 km (12.2 mi) 24
T18 Alvik – Farsta strand 37 min 18.4 km (11.4 mi) 23
T19 Hässelby strand – Hagsätra 55 min 28.6 km (17.8 mi) 35
Entire metro network 108 km (67 mi) 100


Preserved C2 carriage, February 2005
C20, popularly called "Vagn 2000", the newest train type
A train of older stock, type C4. All C4's were retired from service in 2003
Interior of a C6H type car
A train on the way between Liljeholmen metro station and Nybodadepån.

Rolling stock

There are two main types of cars in the Stockholm Metro. The newer C20 stock, and the older C1–C15 stocks which are collectively referred to as the Cx stock. A train typically consists of two or three cars of the C20 stock, or six or eight cars of the Cx stock. A full length train—three C20 cars, or eight Cx cars—is about 140 metres (460 ft) in length, and takes about 1,250 passengers, of which about 380 can be seated.[4][5][6][7][8][9] The Blue Line as well as the Red Line (from Stadion to Mörby Centrum) was built with longer platforms to allow running trains consisting of ten Cx cars. When the C20 was introduced, it appeared that trains consisting of four C20 cars would not fit completely on these platforms.

There are 271 cars of the C20 stock, and around two hundred Cx stock cars. The green line only uses the new cars, and they are used most of the time on the Red and Blue Lines. However, during rush hours, especiallly on shortened services, older cars are commonly seen. Of the older cars the stocks C6, C14 and C15 are still in use, with the C6:s operating on the red line and the C14/C15:s on the blue line. However, C14:s make up 90 % of the Cx fleet on the blue line, as there are 126 C14:s but only 14 C15:s.

Historically the metro is converted from a tramway and the older sections were run as tramway for a few years. The naming convention for rolling stock comes from this, where A are motorised trams, B are unmotorised trams (trailers) and C are metro cars.

Former rolling stock (includes prototypes)

  • C1 (1950–1984)
  • C2 (1950–1999)
  • C3 (1957–1999)
  • C4 (1960–2003)
  • C5 (Silverpilen) (1963–1996)
  • C7 (Prototype cars built in 1972-1973)
  • C8 (1974–1995)
  • C9 (Prototype cars built in 1987-1988, also known as C14z)
  • C12 (1977–1995)
  • C13/C13H (1982-c.2000, some units were rebuilt into C13H stock in 1995-1997)

Cx stock cars

The name Cx refers to all the older types C1–C15. The only cars of the Cx stock still in use are C6, C14 and C15. They are 17.32 m (56.8 ft) to 17.62 m (57.8 ft) in length, 2.8 m (9.2 ft) in width, 3.70 m (12.1 ft) to 3.78 m (12.4 ft) in height, and weigh 23 to 29 metric tons. The cars take 48 seated passengers, and 108 to 110 standing passengers. They were built in the 1970s and 1980s.[4][5][6][7]

C20 stock cars

The C20 car is double-articulated, 46.5 metres (153 ft) in length, 2.9 metres (9.5 ft) in width, 3.8 metres (12 ft) in height, and weighs 67 tonnes (66 long tons; 74 short tons). The car takes 126 seated passengers, and 288 standing passengers. The C20 stock cars were built between 1996 and 2004.[8]

A single prototype car designated C20F stock is in use. Built on Bombardier Transportation's FICAS technology,[10] it has a lighter body, much thinner side walls, and more space compared to the regular C20, by using a sandwich-like composite construction of the body. The C20F weighs 65 tonnes (64 long tons; 72 short tons), other exterior measurements are the same as for the C20. The C20F has the same number of seats as the C20, but has space for 323 standing passengers.[9]

Infrastructure and safety

The Stockholm metro runs electrically using a third rail with a nominal operating voltage of 650 V DC on the Green and Red Lines, 750 V DC on the Blue Line.

The maximum speed is 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) on the Red and Blue Lines, 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph) on the Green Line (50 kilometres per hour (31 mph) at the platforms). Maximum acceleration and deceleration is 0.8 m/s2. The reason for the lower speed limit on the Green Line is due to tighter curves than on the other lines, because the Green Line was built with cut and cover under streets in the inner city, while the other lines are drilled at deeper depth.

To allow close-running trains with a high level of safety, the metro uses a continuous signal safety system that sends information continually to the train's safety system. The signal is picked up from the rail tracks through two antennas placed in front of the first wheel axle and compared with data about the train's speed. Automatic braking is triggered if the train exceeds the maximum permitted speed at any time. The driver is given information about the speed limit through a display in the driver's cabin; in C20 stock, and in Cx stock outfitted for operation with the new signal system installed on the Green Line, this is a speedometer with a red maximum speed indicator (needle), while the traditional display in the Cx stock is a set of three lights indicating one of three permitted speeds (high, medium, low). The system allows two trains to come close to each other but prevents collisions occurring at speeds greater than 15 kilometres per hour (9.3 mph). More modern systems also ensure that stop signals are not passed.

Another possibility is automatic train operation, which helps the driver by driving the train automatically. However, the driver still operates the door controls and allows the train to start. ATO is as of 2006 only available on the Green line, where a new signal system was installed in the late 1990s. This signal system, together with the C20 rolling stock, permits the use of ATO.


Graffiti at the station Karlaplan, on the red line

Since the mid 1980s, the Stockholm Metro has been seriously affected by graffiti. Previously a train on which graffiti had been painted could remain in service for weeks and graffiti could remain in place at stations for months if not for years. Nowadays, however, trains with graffiti are taken out of service immediately and graffiti at stations is regularly cleaned up within a few days. The cost of graffiti and other types of vandalism has been calculated at approximately SEK 100 million per year.[11]

During the 1990s, the Stockholm Transit System (SL) started outsourcing security to private security firms, some of which have been accused of using unlawful methods, such as the use of plain clothes guards and heavy-handed treatment of vandals arrested, and even heavy-handed treatment of ticketless passengers trying to escape.[citation needed] Since 2005, the Stockholm Police have assigned a special task force (Klotterkommissionen) to address the issues. The mainstay among the private security contractors in the fight against graffiti is the Commuter Security Group.


There are a few realistic plans for extensions in the Stockholm Metro in the near decades.

  • A one-station branch on the green line from Odenplan to Karolinska/Norra station. This metro extension outperforms the alternatives in a cost-benefit analysis. An early estimate of the cost is SEK 1.4 billion, and a build time of 3–5 years, which is also dependent on coordination with other constructions in the area, e.g. the Citybanan commuter rail tunnel.[12][13]
  • Extension of the blue line from Kungsträdgården to Nacka with three possible end points: Nacka centre (SEK 7–7.5 billion), Orminge (SEK 10.5–11 billion), or Gustavsberg (SEK 15.5–16 billion). An alternative to the metro extension would be to improve on the existing bus traffic; another, to double-track the lightly loaded Saltsjöbanan commuter railway and connect it to the Tvärbanan light rail line.[14][15][16][17] A main objection is that relatively few live near Nacka centre, and people arriving by bus with a target along the red or green line would get two changes, instead of the one today.

See also

Portal icon Trains portal
Portal icon Sweden portal


  1. ^ "SL Annual Report 2006" (PDF). Storstockholms Lokaltrafik. 2007-06-21. pp. 17. Retrieved 2008-02-25. 
  2. ^ "Art and architecture in the Metro". Storstockholms Lokaltrafik. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  3. ^ Stockholm metro timetables. Storstockholms Lokaltrafik. 2007.  T10 T11 T13 T14 T17 T18 T19
  4. ^ a b "SL class C6". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  5. ^ a b "SL class C9". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  6. ^ a b "SL class C14". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  7. ^ a b "SL class C15". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  8. ^ a b "SL class C20". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  9. ^ a b "SL class C20F". Svenska Spårvägssällskapet. Retrieved 2008-07-10. 
  10. ^ "C20 and FICAS on the Bombardier site". Bombardier Inc.. 
  11. ^ SL Årsberättelse 2006. AB Storstockholms Lokaltrafik. pp. 29. 
  12. ^ "Inriktningsbeslut avseende förstudie Kollektivtrafik till Karolinska/Norra station" (PDF). Storstockholms Lokaltrafik. 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  13. ^ "Förstudie för ny tunnelbana mellan Odenplan och Karolinska – Norra Station, Remiss från AB Storstockholms Lokaltrafik" (PDF). City of Stockholm. 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2008-07-06. 
  14. ^ "Kapacitetsstark kollektivtrafik i ostsektorn – en idéstudie. Slutkoncept augusti 2007" (PDF). Regionplane- och trafikkontoret, Stockholm County Council. 2007-08. Retrieved 2008-07-06. [dead link]
  15. ^ Storstockholms Lokaltrafik investigation
  16. ^ Dagens Nyheter article about extension to Nacka
  17. ^

External links

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