Going underground

Visitors to Moscow have always been impressed by the Metro. Glass chandeliers hanging from cavernous painted ceilings, and walls and floors surfaced in polished marble and granite gave a feeling of extraordinary grandeur - dare one say, like the interior of a royal palace. But times have most definitely changed.

Construction has halted for the first time since 1931, as funding has dried up. Work on sections of five routes, totalling 47 km, is now at a standstill. Precision stone cutting equipment from Germany arrived just at the end of last year, and was to supply 40000m2 of sheet stone for station surface facings on the routes - a shortlived project, as the machinery will stand idle until metro construction can restart.

At least innovation has not stopped. An item in London newspaper The Sunday Times reports that the Moscow Metro is facing problems with drunk train drivers falling asleep, causing trains to speed through stations. To combat this a device similar to a hearing aid worn by the driver. It detects the angle of his head; and should he become drowsy and lean forwards, an alarm sounds to wake him up. o


For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So goes the well-known law. Amorous passengers in Warrington, Britain (left), are being requested to keep themselves under strict control in case they delay the departure of West Coast main line expresses. In contrast, Schleswig-Holstein’s promotional ’Flirt’ ticket allows two people to travel for the price of one, provided they embrace on request of the Schaffner