Aquarelle Train on The Moscow Metro – Moscow, Russia - Atlas Obscura

Aquarelle Train on The Moscow Metro

Museum design and public transportation meet in this unique Russian train car. 


From dogs that ride the train cars independent of owners to metro stops that look like period mansions, the Moscow Metro system is one of the most astonishing public transit systems in the world. Among its many wonders are the themed cars of the Red Line including the museum-quality Aquarelle Train. 

The Aquarelle Train (or Watercolor Train in English) is often stumbled upon by accident, as it runs its standard route just like any other subway car, despite looking like anything but an ordinary passenger train. Located on the Sokolnicheskaya (Red) Line, this train is immediately distinguishable from the other cars by the watercolor painting replica that wraps the exterior. The vibrant floral pattern that speeds into each station makes the train look like a painting brought to life, and that is just the beginning of the artistic experience offered by the transit module. 

Unlike the functional but drab insides of most train cars, the inside of the Aquarelle Train has been designed to look like a lush museum. Facing each row of seats are reproductions of known paintings held in fancy frames that would otherwise seem out of place in the underground. The actual walls of the cars have been painted in deep blues and reds bringing the artful serenity of an actual museum collection to the screeching hustle and bustle of the subway. 

The Aquarelle Train has been running its route since June 1st, 2007, Moscow’s “Year of the Child.” The stated goal of the Aquarelle Train being to remind adults riding the train of the child-like sense of discovery that art can bring. In addition to the watercolor train there are three other themed trains running on the Red Line including a Reading Train, Poetry Train, and Retro Train, designed to look like the very first train car that ever operated on the Moscow Metro. With so much to see on the line, the destination hardly matters.

Know Before You Go

The Aquarelle Train can be found running on the Arbatsko-Porkovskaya Line. This address is for the Biblioteka Imeni Lenina metro stop, which is a central station.

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