Near VDNKh

The All-Union Agricultural Exhibition (VSKhV) was opened in 1939 in the northern suburbs of Moscow not far from Yaroslavskoye Shosse. The transportation of visitors was helped by the already existed tram line along Yaroslavskoye Shosse to Rostokino and Ostankino, and additionally a trolleybus line was constructed. The trolleybus line was served by a double-deck vehicles (type YaTB-3, manufactured by the Yaroslavl trolleybus factory based on the British made sample). The exhibition functioned until 1941 when the war broke out. The trolleybus line also ceased service because of lack of spare parts for the rolling stock (the service was resumed only in 1948), but tram lines worked without interruption even during the war years.

The exhibition was reopened in 1954, but its concept had greatly changed. New pavilions in Stalin Empire style were built to demonstrate achievements of the Soviet people in building of the Communist society and friendship between different republics constituting the Soviet Union (not a bad idea, I think). Each republic had its own pavilion to demonstrate the best production samples and to share science and engineering ideas. A trolleybus line was built in the exhibition to move visitors between different zones; here I have to remind you that Mr. Khrushchev was a great fun of trolleybuses, and if it were not for him, Moscow would not have the world's largest trolleybus network in our days. On the other hand, Moscow might save very many tram lines closed in the time of his rule, but who knows?

The exhibition was renamed to the All-Union Exhibition Centre (VDNKh) in 1958, and in the same year a Metro line at last came here. The role of surface transportation began to decrease, but very slightly because new residential and industrial districts quickly occupied the former suburb fields around the exhibition area. In early 1990s the exhibition was renamed to All-Russia Exhibition Centre (VVC), and soon became a great shopping zone (or simply a great market place) instead of exhibition. The situation began to improve only a decade later but it is still far from satisfaction level (for me at least, for I think Moscow deserves a modern exhibition centre and recreational zone that once upon a time was VDNKh).

While all those changes took place, trams continued running along the established routes. Only some network modifications happened: the VDNKh North tram station was closed in 1972, and VDNKh South station followed in 1997. The time for changes came in 1999, when the trunk line was relocated from Prospekt Mira where it had existed for more than sixty years to Prodolniy Proyezd. New line was put in service in the end of August 1999. It cannot be asserted that the new alignment is better, but it helped to save the line, and that is the ultima ratio. Today tramway routes 11 and 17 running here remain among the heaviest loaded routes of Moscow.

Since the previous relocation in 1954 until 1999 the tracks turned to the right when leaving 3rd Ostankinskaya Street on their way to Prospekt Mira, where they connected to the trunk line in a triangle junction near Kosmos cinema.

July 1999.

And this is the same crossing shortly after the line relocation. The new line crosses the 1st Ostankinskaya Street, while the old one turned right and run along it.

September 1999.

The abandoned line that lead to Zvyozdniy Boulevard. A line to Ostankino branched to the west (to the right if one looked from this spot), and the cut tracks in front of the observer once lead to VDNKh South loop, abandoned and lifted in 1997.

September 3, 1999.

Another rail transport path, now the monorail line, emerged in 2002 along the tramway tracks in Prodolniy Proyezd. This photo shows two monorail beams hanging above the crossing with 1st Ostankinskaya Street.

October 20, 2002.

Track alignment in Prodolniy Proyezd. A provisional reversing loop functioned in 2002 in the territory of the parking lot to the left.

June 11, 2000.

The main entrance of the Russian Exhibition Centre. The new line is located closer to the entrance than before (if one would like to find more arguments in favour of the relocation not mentioning the fact that otherwise the whole line would be permanently closed).

September 25, 2000.

Prodolniy Proyezd terminates at this crossing, and the tracks turn to the crossing of Prospekt Mira with Borisa Galushkina Street .

June 11, 2000.

Tracks near the crossing of Borisa Galushkina Street and Prospekt Mira shortly after construction, not yet paved. The straight line leads to Sokolniki and Bogorodskoye, while the left branch is the main route to northern districts of Moscow - Rostokino, Sviblovo and Medvedkovo.

September 1999.

But the highway builders did not leave the tracks in peace. In May 2000 it became necessary to move the tracks to a new place, because of the tunnel construction. This photo shows the junction of a new temporary line with the main one. It was promised that the tram operation would be ceased for 8 days, but it took about three weeks in fact. When the construction was over at last, the tracks have been returned to the regular alignment.

May 2000.

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