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Yesterday and today

The underground in Warsaw

The interwar period

The idea to build the underground train in Warsaw was conceived in the interwar period. At that time there were over a million inhabitants in the capital city, the number of passengers was rising “dramatically”, while the existing tram network was not able to meet the growing demands. The first decisions were made in 1925, when the Underground Railway Department was established at the Trams Management. The first geological drilling to create the designed lines – line A, which was to run from Unii Lubelskiej Square to Muranów, and line B – from Wola to Praga, started two years later. Belgian and French consortia, which offered a loan in exchange for the underground use concession, were supposed to be the investors. The ambitious plans were finally thwarted by the Great Depression.

There were also plans to create a tunnel under the Vistula River to connect the right- and left-bank part of the city. The project was proposed in 1828 by an architect Adam Idźkowski, inspired by London, where they started  drilling a tunnel under the Thames in 1825. The underground crossing was expected to be weatherproof, inexpensive (2.5 million Polish zloty was supposed to be enough to build it) and it was to enable sailing on the Vistula. The project was not carried out.

The idea of an underground railway was raised again in 1938. The underground train running in shallow tunnels was supposed to be an important part of a fast city railway network. The network was planned to be 46 kilometers long, 31 of which were supposed to run underground. At first it was planned to construct line A, running from the north to the south, from a place in the vicinity of Unii Lubelskiej Square, along Marszałkowska Street, Piłsudskiego Square, as far as Wilson Square. Then line B, running from the east to the west, from the Eastern Station, across the Vistula (at Karowa Street), under Piłsudskiego Sqaure (here it was to cross with line A), as far as the crossroads of Płocka i Wolska Streets. There were also plans to build further lines, including an encircling line starting from Na Rozdrożu Square (through Nowa Praga, Ochota, Pole Mokotowskie and Unii Lubelskiej Square). According to the assumptions the construction of the underground railway network was to be completed within 35 years.

The underground construction works were disrupted by the war, while most of the projects were destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising.

Post-war years 

The idea of building a shallow underground reappeared immediately after the war. The railway was supposed to connect the city center with the outskirts. The first, 20-kilometer-long line, was to be conducted from Młociny, across Żoliborz, the squares: Teatralny, Piłsudskiego and Zbawiciela, Puławska Street to Służewiec. Six kilometers of rails running in Śródmieście were to be underground. The first drillings to build the future tunnel were carried out in 1947. One year later the Projects Office of the Fast City Railway (SKM) drew up a detailed project of the SKM in Warsaw. The work on project was completed in 1949. The construction was estimated to last six years. It was planned to build two parallel lines in the suburbs and three lines in the center in the north-south direction, as well as a line from Wola to Grochów in the east-west direction. The shallow underground project was unexpectedly abandoned after the first drillings.

At the beginning of the 50s (December 1950) state authorities made a decision to build the underground in Warsaw deep below the ground level. The “Metroprojekt” State Enterprise was established to carry it out. The first stage was to construct the line from Żoliborz to Mokotów and a section of the second line from the crossroads of Marszałkowska and Świętokrzyska Streets to Wileński Railway Station. It was also planned to drill tunnels form Praga to Ochota, from Wileński Railway Station to Żerań and from Wola to Trzech Krzyży Sqaure. There were projects to create the underground parking space and a base in Targówek, while to locate the central station in the area of Próżna Street.

The underground works started in summer 1951 and continued for two following years. Among the drilled shafts there were the ones in Saxon Garden; in Dąbrowskiego Square and in Krasiński Garden, there also started works at chambers and building pavements between Teatralny Square and Kozia Street, at Gdański Railway Station, on the corner of Marszałkowska and Nowogrodzka Streets, at Wileński Railway Station. In autumn 1952 the first section of the tunnel at the station in Targówek started to be built by opencast method.

The idea to build deep underground was finally abandoned in October 1953. Following this decision the idea of shallow underground reappeared in the “Metroprojekt”. In 1958 the project of a north-south route was drawn up, without a branch reaching Praga. But only in 1972 the “Metroprojekt”  received an order from the then Warsaw authorities to compile extensive assumptions of the 1st underground line (the documents were ready one year later). Two years later the then state authorities confirmed an urgent need to build the underground by passing a resolution on Warsaw development. No relevant actions were taken within the next several years.


  • First underground line, 23-kilometer long, connects 21 stations, from Kabaty to Młociny.
  • The central section of the second underground line will be 6.1-kilometre long and will connect 7 stations, from Daszyńskiego Roundabout to Wileński Railway Station.
  • The first section of the first underground line – from Kabaty to Technical University, which is 11-kilometer long and connects 11 stations, was opened on 7 April 1995.
  • The last section – from Młociny junction, started to operate on 28 October 2008.
  • The underground transports about 135 million passengers a year.
  • Over half a million people go by underground on weekdays.
  • The trains of the first underground line run a distance of 4.2 million km a year.