Wandering Camera

DPRK (North Korea): Pyongyang Metro
(Translated b
y Ilya)


The subway in the capital deserves its own album.
The system has sixteen stations (one of which is a transfer station), but here you will see only the two stations that we visited. Judging by some photos taken by others that I've seen, the remaining stations are also beautiful. Some are done in a more contemporary style.


The tunnel depth in the metro, relative to the one in St. Pete, is rather moderate.
Two things can be seen in this shot:

1. A complete absence of advertising. (So many years were spent getting used to the contrary that at first this felt very unusual :)

2. The peculiar illumination of the escalator.

Admission of passengers is as usual achieved through turnstiles at the top. There are two forms of payment - by token or with a card. The card has a barcode that is scanned at the turnstile. It seems that it is not in the Koreans' nature to try to copy, or manually draw their own cards. Such a card system would probably not be workable in Russia :).

This is a picture of the subway token (same image on both sides). The two letters in the circle stand for "earth," and the arrow symbolizes "sub."

Based on certain signs, I could tell that the Russians have taken part in the construction. However, I did not see any train sets that are found in our subways, even on old photographs. The rails and ties are also laid down in a different manner.

As was later suggested to me, the following trains (there are also others) are German.

During the time we spent in the station, the interval between trains was about three minutes.

Picture taking is freely allowed. They don't even ask for payment for this.

In addition, there was a young woman at the entrance selling a book with photos of all of the stations, but she didn't have change for a large bill, and later I didn't remember about it ;(

A fairly characteristic position amongst Koreans for conversing - squatting.
Kim Il-Sung is depicted in the center of the panel.
A curious observation. Despite the fact that on the whole Koreans are very polite, especially towards foreigners, it is not customary for them in the metro to let people get off first; i.e. the subway car stops and the folks immediately start getting on. Those inside, be they foreigners or not, have to battle their way through a stream of people who are entering.

This even made our ladies embarrassed in front of us ;)

As someone later suggested, an analogous situtation is observed in Malasya.

I'll take the risk in supposing that the relief at the front depicts construction of the Nampho sea wall (see next album).
Note: it is currently midday (i.e., not rush hour) By the way, there is only one day off here - Sunday.
Inside it's a regular subway car. There is only one curious detail. Although upon arrival the doors open automatically, they have to be shut manually (there are special handles on the doors). The order may be opposite; I cannot recall exactly.

Two readers have commented on this in the following way:

"The exact same train cars travel in Berlin to this day, but not in the subway (U-Bahn), but as inner city 'electric rail/commuter rail' (S-Bahn). The doors are opened manually (both from the inside, to exit, and from the outside, to get on), but they are shut automatically. As far as I know, this was just to save money on the opening mechanism, and it is unnecessary to open all doors most of the time, except for during rush hour at central stations (in Berlin there are often only two or three people per car that ride until the last stop). In more modern trains, a button is used to open the doors"

"The cars are indeed German and the doors work along the same principle as the in the cars in Germany (not only on the subway, but on all public transit, including bus), i.e. they are opened on demand. It is enough to slightly press the lever and the automatics open the doors. You can open them manually, but it takes a lot more strength, tested in cars at the depot. All doors are closed automatically. You can open the doors by pressing the lever both from the outside and inside. This is done to save energy (unnecessary flapping of doors that are not being used by anyone adds up to a large sum over a year), and in order not to annoy passengers who are in transit at the particular station."

A different station
In the metro, as well as in other places (hotels, squares, public buildings), one can note the ability to think of interesting lamps, and other creative forms of lighting

In addition: An interesting site dedicated to the Pyongyang metro has been discovered.



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