Doors Refuse to Close on Metro
Published: June 21, 2013 (Issue # 1764)
Florstein / Wikicommons
Ploshchad Lenina, under Finland Station, is where the doors of the metro carriage began to malfunction .
Passengers in the St. Petersburg metro went for a harrowing ride when the doors on their train refused to close.
The incident occurred on the city’s Red Line late in the evening of June 4 but is only now gaining widespread attention — the same week that St. Petersburg is playing host to hundreds of global business leaders at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
According to YouTube footage filmed by a passenger, the metro announcer’s voice can be heard over the loudspeaker cautioning, “Be careful! The doors are closing!” as the train prepares to leave the Ploshchad Lenina metro station. The hissing of the pneumatic system that closes the doors can also be heard. But the doors fail to close, and the train starts to rumble down the dark tunnel.
Despite the potential danger of speeding with open doors, the handful of passengers in the train car appear more thrilled than scared by the experience. The passenger who filmed the incident walks to an open door and casually sticks out his cell phone to videotape the passing tunnel walls inlaid with cables. A young woman stands near another door, the wind blowing in her hair.
The incident marks at least the second time that train doors have failed to close, news site Fontanka.ru reported. The problem, which is limited to several trains on the Red Line, is linked to the installation in 2010 of an experimental system that was supposed to more accurately show the train driver which doors had not closed. However, the system sometimes tells the driver than the doors are closed when in fact they aren’t, Fontanka.ru said, citing a preliminary inquiry into the problem.
The metro does not keep statistics on the number of times that the doors have failed to close and only learns about the problem from passengers.
No injuries have been reported, although observers warned that the consequences could be tragic if a curious child or teenager got too close to the open door.
The average maximum speed of the metro train is 50 kilometers per hour.
The Red Line is one of five lines in the St. Petersburg metro.
The St. Petersburg incident occurred a day before a cable fire broke out in Moscow metro’s Red Line, interrupting service for several hours. A high-voltage cable caught fire in the tunnel running between Okhotny Ryad and Biblioteka Imeni Lenina metro stations on June 5, forcing the evacuation of 4,500 passengers and hospitalizing about 20.