In the Soviet Union, every city became eligible for its own subway system when the population hit a million people. But actually building one is an expensive and long-term project, and virtually no Russian city managed the task after the fall of the USSR and Russia’s switch to capitalism.
Omsk Metro, which was conceived in the early 1980s and began construction in 1992, was supposed to connect four stations on the west bank of Irtysh River with a fifth station on the east. In 2011, the eastern one, Pushkin Library, opened to the public. Of course, with no trains or other stations, it served only as a way for pedestrians to cross the busy intersection.
Strangely, Pushkin Library Metro Station has every other feature of a typical Russian subway station, from heavy glass doors to a red M logo, similar to the one used in the Moscow Metro. The appearance, combined with the lack of actual subway, made the station the butt of many Russian jokes about the “world’s smallest metro” or a “station to nowhere.”
For the foreseeable future, the station is unlikely to connect anything but two sides of the road. In 2014, the local government proposed to cut the expenses in half and redirect funding for the underground into a metrotram. NPO Mostovik, a company that worked on the Sochi Olympics, was tasked with the project. However, a year later, the company filed for bankruptcy amid mismanagement and tax evasion scandals. In 2019, after reportedly spending between $156 and $720 million, officials halted the project.
Know Before You Go
If you’d like to see other public remnants of the subway, walk from the station to the Irtysh River. There you’ll find a Metrobridge, which was supposed to carry trains to the western part of Omsk, with the required infrastructure hidden under a roadway. Officially, there is no way to visit the tunnels.