The «A» route

The most famous of Moscow tram routes is, of course, the A route. The Muscovites name this route 'Annushka', that is equal to 'Annie' in English. This route was initially opened in 1911 as a circular line along the whole arc of ten central boulevards of Moscow (Bulvarnoye Koltso, or Boulevard Ring) and three central embankments of Moskva river, namely Pretchistenskaya, Kremlyovskaya and Moskvoretskaya ones. This configuration had existed until 1936 when tracks on the embankments were lifted. Two more years the route remained circular making use of provisional bypass tracks, but finally the circle was broken because of the started reconstruction of bridges across Moskva river and Annushka became an ordinary linear route.

In the following decades the route underwent a number of changes caused by the constant closures of lines in the central and western districts of Moscow. Trams left forever the western part of Boulevard Ring in 1949, and more redirections and shortings followed. Finally, in 1971 the only parts of the once great route were tracks in three boulevards and the line in Novokuznetskaya Street. However, this short route, the whole length of which was also shared by two more routes (#3 and #39), existed unchanged until 1991, when suddenly the reversing loop in Zatsepa Square used by Annushka was closed. The reason for this closure was that the loop encircled a religious building that had been restituted to the Russian orthodox church and her representatives claimed that trams produced untolerable noises. Thus, Annushka just could not celebrate its 80th birthday that year, and the route imperceptibly disappeared from the map...

But the wheel of history had made another turn, and Annushka returned to Moscow streets in 1997. That year Moscow was celebrating its 850th birthday, and some clever person realized that the city lacks the tram route that had became indivisible with the image of Moscow. Today Annushka continues its service along busy streets of the central Moscow, and this route is worth riding if you wish to travel along the only line that still exists in the heart of the huge megapolis that is Moscow today.

Since April 5, 1971, the Boulevard tram line ends beside the Metro station Kirovskaya (now it is called Chistye Prudy - the Clear Ponds). And in this picture one can see the real attraction - the Café 'Annushka' on the rails.

March 2000.

The Café 'Annushka' was repainted in a rather ugly way in 2002. I strictly dislike this 'livery'.

December 31, 2002.

The Annie in Yauzskiy Boulevard. The Boulevard line is probably the nicest one; and the boulevards are very cosy.

April 2000.

The A route is not a entertainment for tourists. It carries people, and they like it. Here you can see the tram stop close to the Metro station Novokuznetskaya and a crowd of passengers just left the tramcar.

March 2000

An old district of Moscow - Zamoskvorechye (the name might be translated as "over the Moskva river"). The Annie in Novokuznetskaya Street.

April 2000.

Trams of this route were repainted in even nicer livery in 2000/2001. Probably, the original old tramcars would look better on this historical line, but it would be a madness to let unique still preserved vehicles run in the streets with chaotic motorcar traffic.

The tramcars of this route have a special look, stylized to 1910's. Of course, the trams are modern - it would be impossible to use the original old cars on the line shared by three more routes with high patronage.

May 4, 2001.

This is one of multiple versions of Annushka's livery, the closest one to the classic colours of Moscow tramcars. For many long decades trams of Moscow were painted in this way, and this tradition was interrupted only one or two decades ago.

December 31, 2002.

If you ever come to Moscow to ride Annushka, the following information might be useful: this route operates Monday-Friday. The best place to take it is at the terminus at Chistye Prudy or Turgenevskaya metro stations and then ride to the end. You will go by the boulevards, cross Moskva river, ride along a typical 'Old Moscow' Novokuznetskaya Street, cross Sadovoye Koltso beside Paveletskiy Vokzal (railway station), and then, after a short trip across an industrial district, you will suddenly see domes of gold of Danilov Monastery, Shukhov radio tower, another boulevard in Serpukhovskiy Val... And in the end you will come right to the gates of Apakov tram depot close to Kaluzhskaya Square (Oktyabrskaya metro) where you can take metro or trolleybus to return to the city centre, or go to walk in Gorky Park, or... In other words, this route is worth seeing and riding!

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