Bratislava metro

Bratislava metro, illusion or future?

It's Monday morning, you make your morning coffee, enjoy breakfast, set yourself up for a good mood wave and start your week in a positive vibe. You get in the car and there it falls on you, the stress of traveling to work. Congested roads, nervous drivers, honking, standing at red lights, surrounded by bustle and nervousness. And that eternal dilemma of where to park. But you know that? And the thought runs through your head, "if only Bratislava had a metro, travel would be easier!"

But few people know that the Bratislava metro has really begun to be built. In 1974, the project was approved as the backbone of the public transport system. At that time in the former Czechoslovakia, the name "high-speed railway" was used for political reasons, because the metro was supposed to be only in metropolises, and this was Prague. Such a metro already existed in Prague, so it would be the second Soviet-type high-speed railway in Czechoslovakia. As in Prague, where the metro connected the city center with the surrounding city districts, in Bratislava the metro was supposed to connect the city districts on both banks of the Danube and the historical core of the city. Petržalka grew with prefabricated buildings and was supposed to increase the population of Bratislava by 150,000 inhabitants, the population of Bratislava was then around 290,000 inhabitants.

Temporary high-speed runway

The population in Bratislava grew faster than the city expected, and therefore it was necessary to quickly solve the transport of the population from Petržalka across the Danube, so the construction of a temporary surface high-speed railway was approved. The plan was to use the railway line on the Old Bridge, which ceased to be used in 1983 after the opening of the Harbour Bridge. The line was to be 2.6 kilometers long with three stations. The depot was planned at the former railway station Mlynské Nivy. Construction began in 1985, but construction was suspended after about two years.


The construction of the metro itself began in 1988, when the foundation stone was laid on the site of the future Danube station, today's Pribinova Street. The plans of the metro consisted of two lines. Line A (blue) and line B (red). Route B should connect the whole of Petržalka, continue under the Danube to Kamenné námestie, Obchodná street, Hlavná stanica, Trnavské mýto and further to Ružinov, with a total length of 10 kilometers and there should be 9 stations. On the southern outskirts of Petržalka there was also to be a depot Janíkov Dvor, this route was to be completed in 2000. The second route, route A, would lead from Devínska Nová Ves through Dúbravka to Rača. These two routes would be connected at two places in the center of Bratislava, which would allow easy and pleasant transfer from line A to line B and vice versa. The planned length of the underground expressway was 29 kilometers.

The technical, but mainly economical complexity of the construction eventually caused the project to be suspended. Although construction was already in full swing, after the division of the republic and the change of regime in 1989, the whole project was stopped and never came to life again. And so we don't have a metro in Bratislava, but you can find the most expensive graffiti wall in the world. It is located at the end of Bratislava's Petržalka in Janíkový Dvor, in the depot of our imaginary metro.

Janíkov Dvor depot

Hard work that didn't pay off

On the Petržalka side, near the bridge, test underground walls were built in the 80s of the last century, on which it was tested how the walls of an underground tunnel over the Danube would seep. A system of wells was built there and various materials and seals were tested that would be used in the construction of the tunnel. It is up to 11 meters wide hollow space, while the main adit has a depth of up to 30 meters. However, today they only overgrow with shrubs and weeds and are almost imperceptible. Unique geological drilling was also carried out directly into the subsoil under the main flow of the Danube, drills were cut into it from a pontoon boat firmly anchored in the middle of the river. Engineers drilled 11 wells to a depth of 60 meters. On the other side of the river, on today's Eurovea soils, stood a side adit with a three-meter diameter, which was mined by miners under the Danube and allegedly reached a depth of 16 meters below the river. This building has already completely disappeared with the construction of Eurovea, when during the construction of the underground premises of the shopping center it was necessary to completely insulate the entrance to the bankruptcy, so today it is no longer possible to get to it.

In 2013, the construction of a tram line through the Old Bridge, many times cheaper version of the metro, began. And today there are tram lines that connect Petržalka and the Old Town. But let's be honest, is this a sufficient replacement? Has this solved parking or congestion problems?

The place where the metro was supposed to run

Who wants, looks for ways, who does not, looks for reasons

Former chief traffic engineer T. Kratochvilova said that metro only makes sense in cities with more than 3 million inhabitants, apparently she has probably not heard of some European cities, such as Portuguese Porto with a population of 214,000, almost half the size of Bratislava, or the Spanish city of Bilbao with a population of about 340,000, who cheerfully ride their short ones.  only a two-line, but fully functional meter. Just for the sake of interest, Bratislava to date has a little more than 420 thousand inhabitants and the population is still growing. However, the idea of a metro in Bratislava was recently brought back to the spotlight by the Bramet project at the end of 2020. In the past, its author, architect Zdravko Rusev, developed a methodology on the impact of the metro on the development of Prague, according to which the entire southwestern part of the Czech capital is built. In a new proposal for Slovakia, he argues that there is an opportunity to build a metro in Bratislava using state-of-the-art technologies, which could be a model for the future of smart European cities. Money for this system should be available up to 80 percent of the costs from EU funds. Some Slovak engineers and architects still believe in the Bratislava metro and claim that the metro will be here one day. It may not be exclusively underground tunnel traffic, but perhaps an overhead rail system.

Above all, it should be transport that does not intersect with road transport, Bratislava absolutely needs it!

Visualization of Filiálka station

Text: Veronika Molnarova