Trams in Prague

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Prague tramway network
Škoda 15T, Tatra T3R.P & Tatra KT8D5R.N2P on. the loop of the end station lines 3 & 17.JPG
Prague Škoda 15T, Tatra T3R.P, and Tatra KT8D5R.N2P trams
Overview
Locale Prague, Czech Republic
Transit type Tramway
Number of lines 30 (21 day routes, 9 night routes)[1]
Annual ridership 324.2 million (2012)[2]
Website Dopravní podnik hlavnívo města Prahy
Operation
Began operation 1875 (horse)[3]
1891 (electric)[3]
Operator(s) Dopravní podnik hlavnívo města Prahy
(Prague Public Transit company)
Technical
System length 142.4 km (88.5 mi) – track length[1]
518 km (322 mi) – total route length[1]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Tram routes in Prague

Tram v Praze-10.2008.svg

The Prague tramway (streetcar) network is the largest such network in the Czech Republic, consisting of 142.4 km (88.5 mi) of track,[1][4] 931 trams,[1] and 21 daytime routes and 9 night routes[1] with a total route length of 518 km (322 mi).[1] It is operated by Dopravní podnik hlavního města Prahy a.s., a company owned by the City of Prague. The Prague tram system (including the Petřín funicular) served 324.2 million passengers in 2012,[2] up from 312.9 million passengers in 2011.[5] Prague's first horsecar tram line was opened in 1875, and the first electric tram ran in 1891.[3]

Prague trams today[edit]

As of 1 September 2012, the Prague tram network includes:

  • 22 day routes (numbered 1 to 26 [excluding 15, 19, 21 and 23]),
  • 9 night routes (numbered 51 to 59) and
  • 1 historical route, number 91 (in service between April and October, weekends only).

The day lines run from 4:30AM until 1:00AM the next day. Most of the lines run everyday from early morning to late night. Some lines also only run at selected times (usually workdays) and/or rush hours.

Night trams[edit]

Tatra T3 at Spořilov on night route 55

Night trams operate between midnight and 5:00 or 6:00. Their routes are different from the daily ones, since in the night the trams have to substitute for the Metro. All lines converge at Lazarská in the city centre, although other interchanges exist. At Lazarská, passengers can change between all routes within 5 minutes, although individual services only run once every 30 minutes. Trams operating on the night lines start their shifts at about 8:00 PM on normal day lines, changing their routes at midnight and returning to their depots at the start of normal operations.

History[edit]

Horse tram[edit]

Horse trams in Prague in 1876

The horsecar trams started to operate on September 23, 1875 along the route Karlín - National Theater. The owner and the entrepreneur of this road was Eduard Otlet, from Belgium. This way lead to the theater, along the Národní Třída street. Tracks went approximately in direction of today's Metro Line B. In 1876, the track was extended west of the National Theater, through the Újezd hub to the Smíchov Railway Station. In 1882 the network was extended to Vinohrady and Žižkov. At that time, they were independent suburbs of Prague, but now they are incorporated into city. In 1883, the size of the entire network was 19.43 kilometers.

Electric trams[edit]

An 1890 drawing showing the design for Prague's first electric tram

In 1891 the first electric tram line was opened in Letná, a popular place of recreation in Prague. This line led from the upper terminal of the Letná Funicular to the pavilion of the Jubilee Exhibition through Ovenecká street. After two more years, this line was extended to the Governor's Villa, a further distance of 1.4 km. In 1896, on March 19, František Křižík opened a second, more important tram line, which lead from Florenc to Libeň and Vysočany, joining the industrial suburbs of Prague with its residential area in the center.

In a continuation of the rapid growth of Prague's trams, another new lined was opened in 1897. This time it was a suburban route from Smíchov to Košíře. It was named "Hlaváčkova electric railway". Later, a new passenger railroad in Královské Vinohrady was opened. The Prague to Vinohrady stretch spanned 5.8 kilometers, had 17 stations, and passed through Nové město (New Town).

At another side of the city, thanks to above-listed railway between Anděl and Smíchov, it allowed Prague tram to provide one-seat-ride between Košíře and Vinohrady. Eventually, the municipal enterprise, Prague Transportation Company, was formed.

In 1898 the horse railway was bought by the company. Due to this, construction of new track started along with electrification of the existing tracks.

Early 20th century[edit]

Tram with trailer in Prague in the early twentieth century

In the early 20th century, a monopoly was formed to provide transportation in the city. It began to electrify the horse tram and soon the Otlet Prague trams came under the control of competitors of the electric enterprises. As the monopoly grew, it took over the tracks of the rest of its private competitors. The last private track, the work of František Křižík, was transferred to the city by the year of 1907. In 1905, the electrification works were finished. Even the last horse tram route through the Charles Bridge was electrified (also a project of František Křižík). The tram route through the Charles Bridge operated until 1908.

World War One[edit]

An open tram in the Old Town Square, 1913

The war added new strain to the tram network. A lack of sufficient horse-drawn transport meant that trams were used to carry war materials, fuel, raw materials, and food. Additionally, the need for ammunition led to trams being melted down for their metal and used to produce grenades and bombs, leading to further fall in capacities. This pressure came to an end when the newly formed First Czechoslovak Republic signed a peace treaty.

First republic[edit]

Again, the tram network underwent expansion, mainly to the newly built quarters of the expanded metropolitan Prague, such as Dejvice, Nusle and Žižkov. In 1927 the length of the network exceeded 100 km. At that time the new unidirectional tram types were introduced and the dead-end terminals were rebuilt into loops.

Post-war era[edit]

A KT8D5 (right and foreground) and a T3 (left and background)

In the sixties, construction began on first underground sections of the Prague's tram network. While the works were already underway, the project was changed to become a full Metro system and the trams were expected to gradually phase-out similarly to most of the western cities. In this time, several important track sections were destroyed, including the line on the Wenceslas Square. However, in the eighties, the communist government understood advantages of a modern tram system and began ordering new tramcars, such as the Tatra KT8D5 as well as more Tatra T3, and started constructing new track sections, most of which were completed soon after the Velvet revolution. There weren't many new tracks opened during the first twenty years after the revolution, since much more attention was paid to modernizations of existing tracks and vehicles. The modernization project is still underway, causing major service disruptions every summer.

Planned network development[edit]

Restoration of some lines cancelled in the 1970s and 1980s, including the construction of new lines, is being considered. Some tracks are already included in the zoning plan, the fate of most of the proposed projects should be regarded as uncertain.

Infrastructure[edit]

Interior of Pankrác tram depot

The network has seven active depots:[6]

Another depot, Střešovice tram depot, no longer runs an active service, but houses the Prague Public Transport Museum.

Rolling stock[edit]

The Prague public transport company has currently available for standard operations a sizable fleet of 968 trams of varying types, ranging from the classic Tatra T3 cars to the modern Škoda 15 T low-floor trams. These trams are distributed across seven depots across the city. Besides these, the company owns also a fleet of heritage streetcars kept within the transport museum and several trams especially equipped for use for driver training or snowplowing, bringing the total number of vehicles to over 1000.

Tatra T3 and modifications[edit]

A modernized T3
A modernized T3
A low-floor T3
A low-floor T3

The various modifications of the Tatra T3 tram cars, which are common all over the former Eastern bloc, form the bulk of the fleet, since they were produced in Prague in large numbers for both domestic use and export. More than half of the classic streetcars have undergone modernization during the first ten years of the 21st century, which equipped them with new motors and electrical equipment, new audiovisual information system for the passengers and refurbished interiors. The renovated trams were named Tatra T3R.P, where R stands for Renovated and P for the used electrical equipment. Both the original design and the modernizations have proved so successful that the transport company has decided to produce newly built trams according to the original design, but with a low-floor section in the middle.

Newer Tatra trams[edit]

In the eighties, it was decided to produce a higher-capacity tram vehicle. The result was the Tatra KT8D5 articulated tramcar, of which 49 were delivered. More than half of these were modernized and equipped with a low-floor section. After the Velvet revolution, the company decided not to continue with the deliveries and instead ordered delivery of 150 standard-length Tatra T6A5 cars. Shortly after these deliveries ended, the traditional producer of trams for Prague, ČKD Tatra, went bankrupt, stopping new tram deliveries for several years.

After strong demands both from the handicapped community and from the general public, the Prague transport company decided to order new low-floor trams from Škoda Works. 60 Škoda 14 T trams, designed by Porsche, were delivered between 2005 and 2009, to be followed by 250 of a more modern 100% low-floor Škoda 15 T from 2010.

Image Tram Car Type Modifications and subtypes Fleet numbers Depot Allocations In service
Estakáda Krejcárek, 7270.jpg Tatra T3 Tatra T3
Tatra T3SUCS
Tatra T3M
Tatra T3M.2-DVC
Tatra T3R.P
Tatra T3R.PV
Tatra T3R.PLF
T3 67xx-69xx (withdrawn)
T3SU 7001-7020
T3SUCS 7021-7292
T3M 8005-8106
T3RP 8211-8245, 8300-8554,
T3R.PV 8151-8181
T3R.PLF 8251-8258
Hloubětín, Pankrác, Strašnice, Kobylisy, Vokovice, Žižkov 699
Výluka Zenklova, Vychovatelna, Tatra KT8D5, dc.jpg Tatra KT8D5 Tatra KT8D5
Tatra KT8D5R.N2P
9001-9048 non-modernized (without 9006 - damaged)
9051-9098 modernized. When a tram gets modernized 50 is added to its board number
Hloubětín 47
Praha, Libeň, křižovatka Sokolovská-Zenklova, Tatra T6A5 č. 8652+?.jpg Tatra T6A5 Tatra T6A5 8600-8750 Motol, Strašnice, Žižkov 150
Přístaviště - Dvorce, Škoda 14T.jpg Škoda 14 T Škoda 14 T 9111-9170 Motol 60
Hradčanská, 9226.jpg Škoda 15 T Škoda 15 T 9201-(class of 250 under construction) Pankrác, Vokovice 100+

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Company Profile - Dopravní podnik hlavnívo města Prahy". Dopravní podnik hlavnívo města Prahy. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 
  2. ^ a b "Annual Report 2012". DPP.cz (via: http://www.dpp.cz/en/annual-reports/) (pdf). Dopravní podnik hlavnívo města Prahy. p. 20 & 66. Retrieved 2013-09-20. 
  3. ^ a b c "History - Dopravní podnik hlavnívo města Prahy". Dopravní podnik hlavnívo města Prahy. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 
  4. ^ "Annual Report 2011". DPP.cz (via: http://www.dpp.cz/en/annual-reports/) (pdf). Dopravní podnik hlavnívo města Prahy. p. 22. Retrieved 2013-02-21. 
  5. ^ "Annual Report 2011". DPP.cz (via: http://www.dpp.cz/en/annual-reports/) (pdf). Dopravní podnik hlavnívo města Prahy. p. 75. Retrieved 2013-09-20. 
  6. ^ "Každý den odtud vyjede 50 tramvají. Vozovna Žižkov slouží 100 let". idnes.cz (in Czech). 28 April 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 

External links[edit]