Stockholm metro starts to roll after outage

Stockholm’s metro system was back in operation around midday on Thursday after a seven hour power outage left an estimated 100,000 passengers stranded.

Stockholm metro starts to roll after outage
The Alvik transit hub at 8.46am on Thursday, September 30th

“We are running two trains every 10 minutes between Odenplan and Alvik. But the transports are working – and that is a relief,” said Jesper Petersson at local transport operator SL.

Starting at 4.11am Thursday morning, problems arose with the electrical systems serving the green and blue metro lines in the Swedish capital, leaving many routes at a complete standstill.

The malfunction halted traffic between Alvik and Odenplan on the green line, as well as between Kungsträdgården and Västra Skogen on the blue line.

Replacement buses were deployed, but most of the 100,000 commuters affected by the outage were forced to find alternate routes to work.

“It is never possible with such a major disruption to replace all metro departures with buses. One bus takes around 100 passengers, ten buses are needed to replace a full train. So there are a large number of morning travellers who are affected,” Pettersson said on Thursday morning.

Some transit hubs became so crowded during the morning rush hour that SL was forced to call in security guards to ensure commuters didn’t fall down on the tracks, according to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

A problem was traced to a switchboard in Kristineberg and technicians were finally able to solve the problem shortly before 12pm.

“It is from there that the power is transmitted along the tracks and it is there that something has gone wrong,” Pettersson said.

Delays along the green line are expected to continue the rest of the day, according to SL’s website. And while trains continue to function on other parts of the Stockholm metro, trains normally serving those sections have also been delayed due to the green and blue line malfunctions.

On Wednesday the Stockholm metro’s red line was also halted due to a power failure.

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The world’s longest art gallery will soon be even longer

Did you know that Stockholm is home to what is commonly called the world’s longest art gallery? Deep under the earth, the Stockholm metro stations host a diverse spectrum of art and sculptures. This week new additions were announced.

The world’s longest art gallery will soon be even longer

In the 1950s Stockholm opened its brand new subway system – complete with art.

The governing Social Democratic party of Sweden felt at the time that art should not be isolated, but rather an integral part of Stockholm, accessible by all.

The tradition has stayed alive, and today 47 stations have art underground and 53 feature artistic works above ground. More than 150 artists have contributed to decorating the stations with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, 3D installations, carvings, and more.

 “Stockholm was expanding at the time, with many people moving to the suburbs for work,” says Birgitta Muhr, a sculptor who produced art for the Högdalen subway station several years ago.  

“A subway system needed to be created to connect the city, and they wanted art to come to every man and woman. There were lotteries in which you could win a collection of prints from a famous painter for a cheap price, and then they launched a competition to find artists to paint and create sculptures for T-Centralen.”

Last year the Swedish government announced it would be expanding the Stockholm metro system, investing some 25.7 billion kronor ($3.9 billion) in new stations and vehicles.

Specific measures include extending the blue line metro past Kungsträdgården with five new stations: Sofia, Hammarby kanal, Sickla, Saltsjö-Järla, and Nacka Forum. A new stretch will also be built connecting the blue line's planned Sofia station with the Gullmarsplan transit centre on the green line.

North of Stockholm, the blue line will be extended past Akalla and connected to the commuter rail line at Barkaby Station, with a stop at the Barkabystaden district currently under construction in Järfälla along the way.

From Odenplan, a new branch will be built with two new stations, Hagastaden and Arenastaden.

This week the Stockholm Transit Authority (SL) and Stockholm County announced which artists will be creating designs for ten new metro stations, as well as new art at the existing Odenplan and Gullmarsplan stations.

One of the new stations will be the Sofia Station on Södermalm. Artist Thomas Carlsson created a design featuring a large elephant head.

“When I was little I had a cousin who lived in an apartment in Husby,” Carlsson explains. “I was impressed that the apartment building used animal heads instead of numbers for the floors. So my cousin lived on the lion floor.”

Carlsson thought that a similar principle would work well on train platforms, helping visitors to orient themselves.

“It could sound something like this: 'Take the subway from Kungsträdgården towars Nacka Forum, get off at Sofia, and walk towards the elephant sculpture.”

Another station will feature an art project entitled “Skylines”, by Georg Zey, Axel Lieber, Hans Hemmert, and Thomas Schmidt.

“Public art can shift a given context in order to open the gaze up to other aspects of reality,” the artists said in their description of the project.

“The aim is a new characterization of the site and the viewer’s relationship to what he perceives and experiences there. Successful artistic interventions enrich not only the site in general, but also people, who can experience it as an extension of their private sphere.”

Here are some of the other new designs: