THIS MONTH is due to see the delivery to Kharkiv metro of the first of 25 additional cars ordered earlier this year from Metrovagonmash of Moscow. Under the agreement signed by General Manager Mikhail Pilipchuk, the cars are due to arrive at the rate of five per month for final fitting out and commissioning by the local firm Kharkovmetrovagon, and the first are expected to start test running in December.

The new cars are a key step in the completion of a two-station northern extension to the Oleksiivs’ka line, from Naukova to Botanical Gardens and August 23. This is scheduled to open on August 22 2004 as part of the city’s 350th anniversary celebrations. According to Director of Construction E Yanson, the stations have been largely completed. Almost all of the 5·4 km of track had been laid by October 14, and the installation of conductor rails had begun.

Trains on the 6·2 km operational section of the Oleksiivs’ka line are being extended from four to five vehicles following a programme to renovate 35 of the existing 287-strong fleet. The first 16 cars were completed in 2002, and the remainder during 2003. Last year the metro carried 246·8 million passengers, an increase of 11 million over 2002.

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