The Helsinki Metro is currently the northernmost metro system in the world and the only one in Finland. The idea of building the metro in Helsinki was approved by the Planning and Construction Committee in 1958. The first plans for the project were completed in March 1963; they proposed 108 stations. After lengthy discussions, on 7th May 1969, the Municipal Council decided to build only one line: the Kamppi – Itäkeskus.

Construction of the first metro line in Helsinki started in September 1969. The test track section from the depot in the Roihupelto area to Herttoniemi was built in 1971. However, during the testing stage, several problems were detected, including defects in the rolling stock. By 1977, all capital work was completed, but commissioning work took approximately five years longer.

At 5:32 a.m. on 1st June 1982, the movement of passenger trains started between Hakaniemi and Itäkeskus stations. During the first two months, the metro only ran on weekdays and during peak hours. In early July 1982, the train route from Hakaniemi was extended to the next station Rautatientori.

The official opening ceremony of the Helsinki Metro took place on 2nd August 1982, at Rautatientori station (Railway Square). It is interesting to note that since Finland has two official languages – Finnish and Swedish – these two languages are used to name all the metro stations, which therefore have two names.

Until November 2017, the Helsinki Metro consisted of only one metro line, and from Itäkeskus interchange station the trains ran in two directions in sequence, forming two branches: the northern Itäkeskus – Mellunmäki branch and the southern Itäkeskus – Vuosaari branch.

Despite the delay in opening the new section (it was due to open on 15th August 2016) it was decided to expand it from the one previously planned line to two separate ones: the M1 and the M2.

After numerous shifts of the launch date of the “western” metro line, eight new stations were opened on 18th November 2017. Thus, the Helsinki Metro has been expanded to the west. Two metro lines began to function fully: the M1 – between Matinkylä and Vuosaari stations and the M2 – between Tapiola and Mellunmäki stations.

Text and photos: Boris Kogut