|Transit type||Rapid transit|
|Number of lines||2|
|Number of stations||23|
|Began operation||November 6, 1967|
|Number of vehicles||228|
|System length||34.6 km (21.5 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,520 mm (4 ft 11 27⁄32 in)|
Baku Metro (Azerbaijani: Bakı Metropoliteni) is a rapid transit system serving Baku the capital of Azerbaijan. First opened on November 6, 1967, during the time of the Soviet Union, it has the features found in most other ex-Soviet systems, including very deep central stations, and exquisite decorations that blend traditional Azerbaijani national motifs with Soviet ideology. At present the system has 34.56 kilometres (21.47 mi) of bi-directional tracks, made up of two lines and served by 23 stations. The metro is the only one constructed in Azerbaijan, and was the fifth built in the Soviet Union.
During the final decades of the Russian Empire the port city of Baku became a large metropolis due to the discovery of Oil in the Caspian Sea. By the 1930s, it was the capital of the Azerbaijani SSR and the largest city in Soviet Transcaucasia. The first plans for a rapid-transit system date to the 1930s upon the adoption of a new general plan for the city development.
Having survived the Second World War without falling to the Germans, and even further becoming a strategic hub of the Caucasus, the population further increased past the one million mark, a legal requirement of Soviet law for allowing construction of a Metro system. In 1947 the Soviet Cabinet of Ministers issued a decree authorising its construction, which began in 1951. On November 6, 1967, Baku metro became the fifth rapid-transit system of the Soviet Union when the first 6.5 kilometers of track along with a depot were inaugurated, in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the October Revolution.
Due to the unique landscape of the city, Baku Metro did not have the typical Soviet "triangle" layout of development, and instead had two elliptical lines which crossed over each other at the very centre of the city – the Baku Railway Terminal. Thus one line would begin at the southwestern end of the city, and cross on a northeastern axis to follow the residential districts on the northern edge of the city and then snake along to the southeastern and ultimately southern end. This was inaugurated in three stages: Ulduz (1970), Neftçilər (1972) with Ahmedli following in 1989 and Hazi Aslanov in 2002 finishing the first contour. In addition in 1970 a branch was opened to a station built in a depot, Bakmil.
The second line was to parallel the Caspian coast from Hazi Aslanov, through Baku's industrial districts before meeting the first line again at the same Railway Terminal, and then follow westwards, before turning north to join Baku's northwestern districts. To accelerate construction, a branch was opened from May 28 station to Khatai in 1968, and in 1976 in the opposite direction towards Nizami, thus the second and first line used the same station (May 28). This posed no serious problems initially, as the line was two stations long, but when in 1985 the second stage opened which now lengthened the line to 8 stations (Memar Ajemi), construction of a transfer was desperately needed.
In 1993, the first stage of the transfer station Jafar Jabbarli came in operation, but the end of the Soviet Union and the political unrest, military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and the financial collapse which followed effectively paralyzed any construction attempts in Baku. Furthermore during the 1990s two catastrophes took place: in March 19 and July 3, 1994, two terrorist attacks killed 27 and injured 91 people, and on October 28 of the following year a fire in a crowded train killed 289 and injured 265 others, which is the world's deadliest subway disaster.
Only in the late 1990s could construction restart and the first was the unfinished Hazi Aslanov station which was part-sponsored by the European Union. In the mid-2000th construction of the northern end of the second line, abandoned since 1994, was restarted with Nasimi opening in October 9, 2008.
At present, there are several projects, only two of which are under construction. In 2011, the Chief Executive of the Baku Metro, Taghi Ahmadov, announced plans to construct 70 new stations by 2040. These will serve the new bus complex as well as Heydar Aliyev International Airport.
Three new stations are set to open in the next three years, according to Ahmadov; Bus Terminal and Memar Əcəmi-2 will open in late 2012, while Köhnə Günəşlı and Yeni Günəşlı will start operating before 2015, according to Ahmadov 
A third metro line is also planned.
|Line 1||1||İçərişəhər ↔ Həzi Aslanov||1967||20.1 km||13|
|Line 2||2||Şah İsmail Xətai ↔ Dərnəgül||1976||14.5 km||10|
|İçərişəhər-Nəriman Nərimanov||November 6, 1967||6.5 km|
|May 28-Şah İsmail Xətai||February 22, 1968||2.3 km|
|Nəriman Nərimanov-Ulduz||May 5, 1970||2.1 km|
|Nəriman Nərimanov-Bakmil||September 25, 1970 (reconstructed in 1978-79)||0.5 km|
|Ulduz-Neftçilər||November 7, 1972||5.3 km|
|May 28-Nizami Gəncəvi||December 31, 1976||2.2 km|
|Nizami Gəncəvi-Memar Əcəmi||December 31, 1985||6.5 km|
|Neftçilər-Əhmədli||April 28, 1989||3.3 km|
|Cəfər Cabbarlı||December 27, 1993||0.15 km|
|Əhmədli-Həzi Aslanov||December 10, 2002||1.4 km|
|Memar Əcəmi-Nəsimi||October 9, 2008||2.1 km|
|Nəsimi-Azadlıq prospekti||December 30, 2009||1.3 km|
|Azadlıq prospekti-Dərnəgül||June 29, 2011||1.5 km|
|Total:||23 stations||34.6 km|
Renaming of stations
|XI Qızıl Ordu Meydanı||20 Yanvar|
|28 Aprel||28 May|
|26 Bakı Komissarı||Sahil|
Wi-fi and mobile phone coverage
Work to install free wi-fi service at Koroğlu station is now underway.
Local mobile service provider Nar Mobile has started to provide 3G coverage at Sahil, Nəsimi, 28 May, Memar Əcəmi, Azadlıq prospekti and Dərnəgül. Service will expand to all stations as well as to tunnels by May.
Officially Baku Metro has two lines, however due to problems with opening the second part of Cəfər Cabbarlı, Baku instead operates as a large four branch system, with trains travelling from Həzi Aslanov to either İçərişəhər or Dərnəgul, branching at May 28 (beneath the main train station). Rare services from both Dərnəgul and İçərişəhər also terminate at Bakmil but only twice per hour. There is a one-stop second line that operating separately between Cəfər Cabbarlı (essentially different platforms within the same station as May 28) and Şah İsmail Xətai, a shuttle service using only one of the two tracks due to low demand.
Due to the city's uneven landscape some stations are very deep, that could double as bomb shelters in case of a nuclear war attack, given that the system was built at the height of the Cold War in the 1950s/early 1960s. All seven of these deep level stations have a standard pylon design. The majority of the system's stations, 13, are shallow pillar-trispans. In addition one station, Bakmil, is a single platform surface level.
Like many other former Soviet most of the stations of the system are exquisitely decorated as the images on the right show, many feature advanced Soviet motives in artwork (including mosaics, sculpture and bas-reliefs) and architecture such as those of progress and internationalist culture, whilst others focus on traditional Azeri culture and history. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, several stations were renamed, and some of their decoration was altered to comply with the new ideology.
Baku is served by one single depot, which is located next to the Bakmil surface station, and carries the same name. As of January 2005, the system had 228 cars, of which 43 five-car trains were formed, the rest used for specialist duties. The earliest set of models include the old Ezh3 and Em-508 types, whilst most are the 81-717/714 and their modifications which Baku has been receiving since the early 1980s.
The Baku Metro plans to purchase new trains in late 2012 from the Metrovagonmash rail car plant, near Moscow, to operate on its third line. The exact amount is not yet known, however. The trains will be made from stainless steel and will be equipped with air conditioners.
The new rolling stock is expected to arrive in 2013, according to Baku Metro Chief Tagi Ahmadov.
The system works on a flat fare of 20 qapik, following a one-third hike of December 1, 2011, though Baku Metro chief Tagi Ahmadov declined to comment on the reasons behind the increase. Ahmadov claims that the Baku Metro remains the worlds cheapest, however, despite the hike. Until 2006, metro users accessed the stations with metal (later plastic) tokens placed into turnstiles. In 2006 the Baku Metro introduced an RFID card system using rechargeable fare cards, which require a 2-manat deposit plus travel credit).
The metro announced a tender in January 2012 for supply of a new type of contactless smart card, using a newer type of the MIFARE system, MIFARE Plus. Interested participants have until February 24 to submit tender proposals, and the tenders will be opened on February 27.
Bombing of 1994
Fire of 1995
On October 28, 1995, a fire broke out between the Ulduz and Nariman Narimanov stations, killing 289 people and injuring 265 others. The fire was deemed to have been caused by electrical malfunction but the possibility of deliberate sabotage was not excluded. The fire remains the world's deadliest subway disaster.
- "Baku Metro - History". Bakı Metropoliteni. Retrieved 2013-09-16.
- "Over 70 underground stations to be built in Baku". news.az. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
- Mammadov, Anar. ""Memar Əcəmi" stansiyasında yeni metro xəttinə keçid açılır – FOTO". Milli.az. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
- "41 new underground stations to be constructed in Azerbaijani capital in the next 17 years". Today.az. October 10, 2008. Retrieved August 14, 2009.
- Atwell, Elizabeth. "Baku's Metro Accident". Azer International Magazine. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
- "Azerbaijani Terrorism Suspect Extradited to Baku". RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 1, No. 170, Part I. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- I.J. Duckworth. "Fires in vehicular tunnels" (PDF). 12th U.S./North American Mine Ventilation Symposium 2008. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
- Terje Andersen, Børre J. Paaske. "Railroad and Metro Tunnel Accidents". Lotsberg.net. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
- Phil Reeves (October 31, 1995). "Sabotage fear over metro fire". The Independent. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Baku Metro.|
- Baku Metro (Azerbaijani) (Russian) (English)
- Baku Metro Track Map (Russian)
- Urbanrail – Baku Metro (English)
- Information (English)
- More information (Russian)
- Baku Public Transportation (English)