Russian Man Single-Handedly Builds Underground Subway System


images credit altertravel.ru, no relation
Everybody is into rail these days; it is the greenest way to get around next to a bike. Leonid Mulyanchik has been into it for years since before the Berlin Wall fell, since before the first Macintosh, building "his own private underground Metro railway system." English-Russia says that he has been doing it with his pension, that it is all legal and approved and that he is still at it. Gizmodo calls it "inspiring, one man against all odds type of persistence, but more the obsessive, borderline insane persistence."

Really?

The subway evidently starts outside here, don't know exactly where, but the tunnels will pass under a road with a sixty ton limit. Not quite up to the usual Moscow subway standard.

It then proceeds to this area, which is plastered and looks rather old, although Leonid has been at it since 1984. In fact it looks older than tunnels I have seen from 1894. That is Leonid's "Homemade concrete mixer."

Don't know what he is mixing his cement in now, but it doesn't look like it has been used in years.

Brightened it up in photoshop, definitely not used in years, look at that motor.

We go deeper into the tunnels. Look at the mortar between the brick; the way it has spread out, clearly the masonry has been installed from the outside, against formwork.

Yes, there is the formwork, so it is all done "cut and cover"- dig a big trench, make the arches and fill it in again after. Put emphasis on word BIG.

Yet this section doesn't show signs of formwork, looks much, much older, and has serious efflorescence, resulting from moisture getting through. Could one tunnel show two such different conditions?

"Everything has been made in accord with safety measures." Right. Look at this mess. Even in Russia he would be closed down in a day. Tripping hazards, wiring, you name it.

And it finishes up with Leonid, "a person who never gives up!" looking fresh after working alone, digging a meter of tunnel a day, casting concrete and laying bricks, all alone, for 26 years. On a Russian pension. And "Soon here will be going full-automated cars, carrying 3-4 passengers."

I am sorry, but I don't believe a word of it. Commenters have taken me seriously to task for having doubts about this. I should qualify my comments and say that I am a licenced architect, have built my share of real buildings and have seen my share of tunnels and just think it unlikely that a) one person could do this and b) that this isn't three different tunnels. I have been looking for other attributions and sources and have not found them yet but will update as I do.

See for yourself at English Russia

Tags: Do It Yourself | Russia | Transportation

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