Rotterdam Metro Tunnels

I'm sorry ... I have not been in yet. I don't know how (and when) to get in them. I'm still dreaming of walking through the metro tunnels, with or maybe without permission. But I've collected some relevant information. You can find the following subjects here:

There are two metro lines in Rotterdam. Every day 300.000 people travel with the Rotterdam metro.

The "ERASMUS" runs approximately North-South and dives under the river twice. It starts at the Central Station and ends at Spijkenisse. The section Central Station - Wilhelminaplein runs underground. The rest runs on above-ground viaducts.

Here you're looking south from metro-station Slinge.

The "CALAND" runs approximately East-West. It starts at the Marconiplein and ends at Capelle a/d IJssel, Ommoord or Zevenkamp. The section Marconiplein - Kralingse Zoon runs underground. The rest runs at the road-level.

Here you're looking west from metro-station De Terp.

There is also an underground metro-line ("de verbindingsboog") between Blaak and Leuvehaven. This one connects the two metro-lines. It does not carry normal traffic. It is used to shuffle cars between the lines and it's there for emergency situations.

Interesting features of some stations - legal

Erasmus (Centra Station - Spijkenisse) Caland (Marconiplein - Capelle)
  • Stadhuis - water flowing along the vertical glass panels
  • Wilhelminaplein - the newest station, it has a lot of marble and a sloping platform
  • Rijnhaven - great view of the river
  • Maashaven - large grain silo's, great view of the harbour
  • .....
  • Blaak - connection to the train tunnel, medieval castle in the tunnel, climable steel arch above the station - pictures are shown in the buildering section and the underground section of this website
  • Oostplein - glass windows in the floor (you can see the tops of the cars), modern art gallery, metro museum
  • Gerdesiaweg - four ventilation shafts near the end of the platform
  • Kralingse Zoom - the permanent blue light in the tunnel shows where the emergency exit is
  • .....
  • There are atomic fall out shelters under several metro-stations. All together they can house 52.000 people
  • .....

Security - warning: actual entry is illegal and dangerous!

All of the stations are guarded by closed-circuit video cameras connected to security stations. There are 7 security stations that are spread approximately every 6 stations. They are always manned by one security guard with 10 monitors. The cameras show the entrances, exits and an overview of the platforms. No tunnel views. The camera's are always active during business-hours. You can see the camera-pictures by looking at the security monitors through the windows of the security rooms. These are situated at the stations:

There are 600 camera's in the 42 metro stations. In tootal there are seventy monitors in the security stations. Every camera-view is shown for 30 seconds. That means that a cycle through all the camera's takes 4 to 6 minutes.

During business-hours stations are guarded by mobile teams of 2 guards who also check the tickets of the passengers while they're on the train. I don't know what happens during the quiet hours.

CALAND: The first trains leave Marconiplein at 5:44 and arrive at Alexander at 6:14. The last trains leave Marconiplein at 0:46 and arrive Capelsebrug at 1:00. So that leaves a window of opportunity between 1:00 and 5:00.

ERASMUS: The first trains leave Central Station at 5:42 and arrive at De Akkers at 6:14. The first trains leave Slinge at 5:25 and arrive at Central Station at 5:39. The last trains leave Central Station at 0:43 and arrive at Slinge 0:56. The last trains leave De Akkers 0:19 and arrive at Central Station 0:50. So that also leaves a window of opportunity between 1:00 and 5:00.

The small "Entry forbidden" gates do not lead to alarms.

There is a steel walkway running through the middle and along the sides of the metro-tunnels. In most places there is enough room to let the trains run past you. I don't know how severe the wind-drag would be if that happened.

The electrified "third rail" carries 750 volts and can be fatal. Fortunately it is covered by an insulating sheath on top and along the sides. So the risk of elecrocution is relatively small. The collector uses the under-side of the rail to get it's current. The rail is situated in the middle, between the rails so if you use the walkway you don't even come near it.

The platforms are cleaned every day, but not the tunnels. There is no periodic cleaning or maintenence inside.

There are no infrared detectors or alarm systems in the tunnels.

Reconnaisance - legal

The metro schedules are available free of chrge at every station.

You can see inside the tunnels by waiting untill a driver opens his door during hot weather. Then you can also look at the monitor on the right side of the cabin. This monitor shows the platforms while the car is entering and leaving a station. The platform-camera is connected to a monitor in the driver's cabin through a radio link. He uses it to check if all the people have got in and out of the train. Something like a rear-view mirror. These are disconnected when the train leaves the platform.

Points of entry - illegal

The most promising entry point is station Zalmplaat. It is the safest and the most adventurous. It lies at the outskirts of Rotterdam. The above-ground rails dive under the harbour and exit again at the other side. The tunnel is easily accessible, as far as I can see no camera's. Could there be sensors in the tunnel? You have to walk 200m along the walkway beside the tracks to reach the mouth of the tunnel. There's a small room here that might be useful as a hiding place and a springboard for the real inside of the tunnel. Graffiti abounds. Probably I would have to take a friend in case we meet some strange characters down here.

In January 2000 Last weekend a Metro carriage lost both motors and was derailed in this tunnel. When the rescue team arrived they found the carriage empty. The passengers had smashed a window and had walked out through the metro-tunnel. Yes, this gorgeous, long, metro-tunnel under the river (near Zalmplaat). What a lucky bastards!

The ventilation shafts at Gerdesiaweg might be another entry point. Just at the end of the platform there are ventilations shafts. Once you're inside you are invisible from the tunnel and from the platform. There is not much to see there and it leads nowhere but it would be a first step. This shaft is only accessible during operational hours. The trick would be to get in between two metro-car-arrivals unnoticed by camera's and passengers. I've thought that I could try this plot:

In fact every station that connects ground-level with the tunnel-level might be a good entry point:

I received several hints from readers but I don't know if they're useful:

Where are the other explorers?

I'm certain that lots of other people have been in the metro tunnels illegally. There is a lot of graffiti in the tunnels. No large/complex graffiti there, only tags. So I assume the writers never stay long. I have tried to make contact with the writers but all my attempts have failed.

Construction of the new Benelux line - Recent pictures

The Benelux-line is under construction at the moment. It will be 11.8 km long when it is finished in 2002. It will run on viaducts (6.9 km), tunnels under land (3.2 km) and one tunnel under the river (1,7 km). It costs 1.600.000.000 guilders.

I have visited the building site last year during a (legal) excursion. We were shown the sections of the tunnel that will run under the river. At the moment they are actually lying on the river bottom already.

On the right you can see the different tunnels that run through the section.

Here you can see the inside of the tunnel. The first picture shows the length of the segment. The other picture shows the doors that connect the emergency tunnels with the regular tunnels.

Construction - Historic pictures

Imagine - I got these pictures from Johnathan Littell from America. He found them in some old publication.

The metro during it's construction. You can see the Hilton-hotel and the tower of the town-hall. The chaotic terrain in the foreground is the construction pit. They used a classic way of building city-tunnels: you dig a pit, build the tunnel in the pit and cover the whole thing again. In the meantime the normal traffic is subject to anarchy and improvisation.

A view inside the metro tunnel. Nowadays they don't look so clean anymore. The metro car is 35 years old and some of them are still in use today. They will be decommissioned this or next year.

Metro verkenners in de jaren 80

Syp Fiets: Tijdens de bouw van de oost west metrolijn in rotterdam  - ergens in de jaren 80 - ben ik samen met een vriend een keer van station coolhaven tot station blaak gelopen. we deden ons voor als een soort van ingenieurs of opzichters, we hadden allebei een bouwhelmpje op en niemand legde ons toen een strobreed in de weg.

later hebben wij de lokatie van de in aanbouw zijnde metrotunnel nog gebruikt als dekor voor ee aantal foto's voor een boekje wat wij toen schreven. in dat boek was de ns-spoortunnel - die toen alleen nog op papier bestond - een toevluchtsoord voor daklozen in het jaar 2005 geworden. zoek in de bieb maar naar "het luchtspoor". het boek is uitverkocht ik zal die foto's wel eens inscannen en naar je toemailen. zo zie je dat urban adventure al een zoektocht uit een lang verleden is. wie wil er niet zien wat achter het bordje verboden toegang ligt.

*** Hierbij de beloofde foto van de metrotunnel te rotterdam. De foto is genomen tijdens de bouw van de tunnel, begin jaren 80(?), ergens tussen station eendrachtsplein en churchilplein, kijken in de oostelijke richting. de foto is later in een door ons geschreven boekje over Het Luchtspoor (=ook de title) gebruikt. Helaas uitverkoop, nog wel in de gem. bieb.

*** en succes met je webzine, ik kijk regelmatig naar wat nieuws --- ps ben je al op de hoge heeren of de hoge erasmus geweest, ik zie die gebouwen groeien maar als vijftiger kan ik al die trappen niet meer op.

Atoomschuilkelders in de metro

Denk je dat je ook de atoomschuilkelders in de metro kunt bezoeken (als verzoeknummer) er zijn er heel wat en zo ook onder het Dijkzicht ziekenhuis heb ik gehoord. Maar ook in Den Haag is er natuurlijk heel veel gegraven om zulke plekken te maken, ik weet dat uit ervaring en was vaak verbaasd over de enorme hoeveelheid vrachtwagens die er reden op verschillende bouwlocaties (werkte toen als chauffeur in het centrum van Den Haag). Ik heb zelf eens de kelder bezocht onder het Leyenburg ziekenhuis, waar ik met stomheid was geslagen over de enorme capaciteit die zulke "onderkomens" hebben te bieden, eigenlijk luguber als je er goed over nadenkt. Alhoewel die boel wel op slot zal zitten denk ik en daardoor misschien moeilijk toegangkelijk is.

Nou ja hoe dan ook veel succes met je nieuwe avonturen ik wacht met spanning je reactie af ik hoop dat je me "up to date" wilt/kunt houden.
vr. gr. Wouter van Veldhuizen -

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1998, 2000 Petr Kazil - Updated and revised 1 March 2000