Colin Seymour's Czech Trams Page

Czech Republic (Tschechische Republik)

This page covers specifically tramways in the Czech republic.

Most of the text and photographs here came from Richard Bilek from the Czech Republic, who died in 2001 (R.I.P.), and a mirror of his site provided by Alexander Elagin can be seen at http://tram.rusign.com/cz/engl-ind.htm

What's Here

  1. Brno
  2. Plzen (Pilsen)
  3. Most
  4. Olomouc
  5. Liberec
  6. Praha (Prague)
  7. Czech Tramway History (Manufacturers)
  8. Ostrava
  9. Abandoned Tramways
  10. General Information
  11. CKD Tatra
  12. More Czech Tramway Photos

This is believed to be an exhaustive list of all the cities with tramways in the Czech Republic:

  • Brno
  • Liberec
  • Most
  • Olomouc
  • Ostrava
  • Plzen
  • Praha/Prague [Praha is the original name in the Czech language, Prague is widely used in English speaking countries.]

Brno

Summary for Brno

Opening Date          17.08.1869
Gauge                 1435 mm
Current Voltage       600 V dc
Maximum Track Length  76,4 km (1994)
Current Track Length  76,4 km, 2,2 under construction, to be opened 1999
No.Of Cars            320 (approx.)
No.Of Depots          2
Maximum No.Of Lines   22 (1988-1992) **
Current No.Of Lines   13 **

** in 1994 they change their Line strategy, on most track there now runs
only one line approx. each 5 mins, while sooner there were approx. 3
lines, each one runs with 12-15 mins.
8 lines runs 24 hrs. a day.

Brno, now second biggest city of Czech Republic with approx. 390000 inhibitants, 'capital' of Moravia (eastern part of Czech Republic) operates now with big network, probably most progressive in last years. In 1839 Brno celebrates one of the first railway lines in (continental) Europe, railway line from Vienna. 30 years ago history repeated once again, Brno opened one of first european horse-drawn tramways. Vienna, capital of old Austrian Monarchy opened their tramway in same year - but Vienna had approx. 260.000 inhibtans in that time, Brno only 58.000! Length of track was quickly expanded to 14,4 km in 1870. Although cars were fulfilled with travellers (especially on Sundays), company went bankrupt in 1875.

In 1876 new company formed again, but they started to operate with steam-tramway for goods transportation, while horsecars remained only for passengers. This company was more successful than first one, but also went bankrupt in 1880. For the third time company was successfull. In 1883 they rebuilt tracks for steam locomotives and on 28.May 1884 they started to operate on 10 km length track (with two lines).

In 1890 a proposal to rebuilt steam tramway to petroleum tramway was given to company, but was rejected. First attempt to built electric tramway here was held in 1897. One year ago, tramway company was sold to city and city immediately started to rebuilt whole network to electric tramway. Last steam locomotive runned on 20th June 1900. Next day electric tramway began. Length of network was increased from 10 to 24km in 1910. Most of the new cars were self-built by the company.

After WW1 new stock-limited company was formed here to operate with network, approx. 60 % of stock was owned by city. Tramway expanded to newly built suburbs and in 1939 had 54 km of track. Tramcars were completely renewed in this period. They were built with co-operation of CKD Ringhoffer (Tatra Works) and Zbrojovka Zidenice, this factory built body of tramcar.

In the time of WW2, was network slightly expanded, very important route through Pekarska street was opened, so tramways needn't to run through historic centre. Also, local railway line to Lisen was rebuilt to tramway. After WW2 was network badly damaged. Because overhead wires were destroyed, steam locomotive No.10 "Caroline",built 1885 went back to service for two months!

Few tracks was abandoned, but new tracks were built, so in 1951 Brno had 62 km of network. In 1948 last two-axle tramways from Zbrojovka Zidenice were delivered. In the 50's city renewed their tramcars with new progressive tramcars of class T2. 94 tramways of this type were delivered till 1961. Surprisingly, no tramways of T1 class were here in service.

In 1963 new tramcars of T3 arrived. City wanted tramways with bigger capacity. Tatra Works developed articulated tramways of type K2 in the mid of 60's. First prototypes were tested here in 1965, and between 1966 and 1977 city purchased 132 tramways of this type, so they operated biggest amount of them in Czech Republic. These tramways are still most typical for Brno.

Although all Czech cities in end of 60's shortened their network, not here in Brno. Brno was the only city with uninterruptable expansion of track after WW2. There was only one exception, local railway to Lisen was closed in 1964. (about Lisen's museum see 'Czech tramway musems'). New housing estates in Brno also were connected with tramway, eventually with trolleybuses. Last (big) track was opened in 1989, short connection line was opened in 1994). Additional 2,2 km is under construction. City purchased new KT8D5 tramways, 28 pcs is in service. Now are tramways renewed with T6B5 type. City also wants to buy new low-floor tramways of RT6N1 type, maybe this year too.

City operates following tramways:

1401..1494 Tramcars of T2 type. Only 8 vehicles in service in February
           1997. With the delivery of new T6B5 tramways they should be
           withdrawned this year
1495..1694 Tramcars of T3 or T3SUCS. Mostly in service
1001..1132 Articulated tramways of K2. 126 still in service
1701..1728 KT8D5 Tramcars. One withdrawned after accident
1201..1220 New T6B5 tramcars, delivered 1995,1996
1221..1230 T6B5 tramcars to be delivered this year.

City also tries to renew their old tramways. Tramcar T3 no.1615 was rebuilt in 1993-1994 to new type T3MB with new body, renewed electricity, etc. There's hope to rebuilt approx. 70 tramcars to this state. Also, K2 tramcars should be renewed this way. First prototype was rebuilt in Pars DMN Sumperk works (small city approx. 120 km norhtern from Brno) and now is tested in Brno.

Tramways and trolleybuses together operates approx. 65% of all transport amount, while only 35% is served by busses!

Plzen (Pilsen)

Summary:
Opening Date          29.06.1899
Gauge                 1435 mm
Current Voltage       600 V dc
Maximum Track Length  48,4 km (1990-1994)
Current Track Length  46,2 km
No.Of Cars            120  (approx.)
No.Of Depots          1
Maximum No.Of Lines   5 (1973-1980, 1990-...)
Current No.Of Lines   5 (on nights only buses)

Plzen is industrial city in western part of Czech republic, now with 155.000 inhibitants, famous for it's worldwide-famous "Skoda Works", provider of military and transport equipment, and also for their "Staropramen/Gambrinus", famous beer selling worldwide. This industry also required fast transport of passenger and goods in the city. So in the end of 19th century several companies proposed complete tramway serviced to city. After several years, decision was taken to adopt Fr.Krizik's offer about new electric powerstation and a tramway. Fr.Krizik was also known for development of Prague's tramways, but not all of them were commercially successfull. This company - it was another deal, it was probably most successful tramway company in former Austrian-Hungarian monarchy.

First tramways started to operate on 29th June 1899 on three lines. Company operated with 20 tramcars purchased from F.Brozik factory (where they were developed under control of Fr.Krizik). In 1900 short line to railway station was built. Tramways runned unchanged untill end of WW1 (with exception of one new short track). After WW1, some new tramcars were purchased, in 1929 new line into Doudlevce was given into service. Also in 1929 first bus service was opened here, so company needed to reduce their expenses. In 1930 city purchased used tramways from Praha. Old depot was expanded untill 1933 where new tramway route into Slovany was opened.

During WW2 was the city under german control. Skoda-works were important for German army, because they produced big amount of military equipment. New trolleybus service was given into service in 1941. Trolleybuses then used old tramway depot, new one for tramways was built in Slovany, was opened in 1943 and is in service until today. After WW2 was Plzen badly destroyed by bombing, but tramways returned into service on end of may 1945. In 1947 new trailers were delivered. Bad condition of Roosvelt's Bridge resulted into closure of tramway line '3' betwenn Lochotin and Doudlevce.

First modern tramways of T1 type were delivered in 1955. 33 tramcars of this type was delivered until 1957. Type T2 was delivered between 1960 and 1962, 25 pcs.was purchased. In 1962 new line to Svetovar was opened too. Further expansion of track started in 1973, where two new lines to big housing-estates Skvrnany and Lochotin were opened. In the mid of 80's new line to Bolevec was built, and also routes in historic centre were little changed. Last portion of Bolevec's route was opened in May 1990. However in 1994 track to old depot (still used for tramway repairs) was closed (although it was not in passenger service until 1949). Now are tramways moved here with a truck.

As usuall, tramcars of T3 and KT8D5 type were delivered here, and they are mostly in service untill today. Also there can be mentioned, that Plzen was the last city to operate T1 tramways, they were withdrawned in 1987. Also in 1988 last T2 tramcars were scrapped. In 1993 city decided to renew some tramways of T3 type. In Plzen's Skoda Works they are upgraded into new look. First of these tramways (as T3MP named) were given into service in 1996, 10 tramways was upgraded until today.

City also decided to purchase (in future) low-floor tramways only. Because Skoda Works are developing new low-floor tramway Astra, there's hope to buy these tramways. City does *not* wants to purchase new tramways from CKD Tatra works.

Tramways in Plzen are today high-effective transport. Today they covers all of main transport needs. Although few ideas about new tramway routes, nothing is under project nor under construction.

Following tramcars operate here:

18       One of original Krizik's tramcars -as a museum vehicle
121      Museum tramcar of T1 type
152..207 T3 tramcars, not all in service
208..287 T3SUCS tramcars, all (with two exceptions) in service. 10 pcs upgraded to T3MP
288..299 KT8D5 tramcars, four out of service (mostly after accidents)

The following lines are in operation:

1 between Slovany and Bolevec
2 between Svetovar and Skvrnany
4 between Kosutka and Bory

These lines operates whole day
Lines: 3 Malesicka st. - Kosutka
       5 Malesicka st. - Bolevec

operate only in rush hours, 2 trains in each direction per a day. They are used to
transport workers to Skoda Works.

T2

Tramcar of T2 type photographed in May 1987 near main railway station

Overview of tramway network

Plzen, tramway tracks (April 1997)

Most

Summary:
Opening Date          07.08.1901          01.04.1957
Gauge                 1000 mm               1435 mm
Current Voltage       550 V dc              600 V dc
Closure Date          24.03.1961               -
Maximum Track Length  18,9 km (1948-55)  17,8 km (1981)
Current Track Length  -                  17,8 km 
No.Of Cars            -                     120 (approx.)
No.Of Depots          1                      2
Maximum No.Of Lines   5                      6 (1981-1993)
Current No.Of Lines   -                      5 (one during night too)

Most, now industrial city on north of Czech republic, with big chemical factories and brown coal mines was newly built after WW2. The "old" Most, old king's town, based in 13th century was completely destroyed, because brown coal was founded under city. Only the church "Nanebevzeti panny Marie" survived, although it was moved(!) for approx. 1 km! This is still written in Guinness Book Of Records, as the heaviest 'cargo' or history!

Please note, that today's northern part of Czech republic was settled mainly by german-speaking people (until end of WW2), so Most is also known under german name Brux. Both these words means 'bridge'.

Most's chemical works were based in 2nd half of 19th century. Another cities, such as Litvinov and Janov wanted to be connected with these works too, so after 1890 many tramway projects were checked here. In 1900 proposal of german firm AEG was accepted and works on first narrow gauge tramway route (1000 mm) started immediately. First line between Most's railway station, Litvinov and Janov was opened on 7th August 1901 with length of 13,3 km with 8 small AEG-tramcars. Fleet expanded in 1903, additional 3 tramcars were purchased from AEG. Until WW1 tramways were unchanged, in 1917 new route to Most-Cepirohy was built. After WW1 some used cars from German city Zittau were purchased. In 1931 new additional new tramcars were purchased.

Shortly after german occupation in 1938/1939 new passenger track to coal mine "Minerva" was opened, although it was not an entrirely new route, it was opened in 1921 for transport of coal. Chemical works were massively expaned during WW2. Tramway transport was too slow, and track was too far, so in they started to built in 1944 trolleybus route, but it was not completed until 1946. After war, new line to Zahrazany was opened, so narrow gauge tramways were extended to maximum length.

In 1950, decision was taken to built completely new normal gauge tramway line. It was not 'regauging' (as in Liberec), because new tramways used different routing. In 1955, first narrow gauge line betwenn Litvinov and Janov was closed. In 1957 fist normal gauge tramways started to operate between Litvinov And Chemical Works, again with czech T1 tramcars (40 was delivered). In 1959 normal gauge tramways reached Most (and they were extendended in Litvinov to Citadela too), so near main station was terminus for both narrow and normal gauge tramways. These 1000 mm tramways still served Most. In 1960, after fatal accident in station Gymnazium only one line remained. Normal gauge tramways were extended into Most-Velebudice in march 1961, last narrow gauge tramways were withdrawned one day ago. Second depot in Velebudice was opened in 1969, it was filled with new T3 tramcars.

'Old' Most was competely destroyed in end of 70's. So in 1978 were rails removed from 'old' Most, and new track was built. New railway station was also opened in Most in 1978, so new track was built here too. Last expansion comes in 1981, when new track to Velebudice-East was built.

As usual, tramcars of T1, T2 and T3 types were delived. In mid of 70's two prototypes of T5B6 tramcars were delivered. One of them is now preserved as 'historic' vehicle (although one of newest types at all), second is scrapped and used for spare parts. After 'fall of the wall' in 1989 Chemical Works drastically reduces their productions. It also reduces need of tramways. While in 1985-1990 approx. 105 tramways runs daily, now there's need only for approx. 65 tramways! So there is absolutely no need to purchase new tramways. Some tramways were also sold to Plzen.

Double-ended tramcars of KT8D5 type were highly unpopular here, so they were withdravned in 1993. 4 pcs. were sold to Hungarian city Miskolc, one was given (free of charge) to Bosnian city Sarajewo, and there's hope to sold rest of these tramcars this year to Miskolc or Sarajewo again.

Today tramways operate fast (really fast, often over 70 km/h) between Most and Litvinov. Some projects are still here, but there's still problem with money. City is now served with T3 (or T3SUCS) tramways exclusively.

The following lines are in operation:

1 whole line between Velebudice East and Litvinov Citadela (rush hours only)
2 city line between Velebudice East and Main Railway Station
3 connects Litvinov Citadela and Main Rly.Station in Most
4 'main' line between Most Velebudice and Litvinov Citadela
7 in rush hours runs between Litvinov East and Most Velebudice 

In night is line 4 in service, but it runs thru this period to Most's Railway station too.

Overview of today's tramway network

Most and Litvinov tramway tracks (1997)

Olomouc

Summary:
Opening Date          01.04.1899
Gauge                 1435 mm
Current Voltage       600 V dc
Maximum Track Length  18,4 km (1997)
Current Track Length  18,4 km
No.Of Cars            60 (approx.)
No.Of Depots          1 
Maximum No.Of Lines   6 (1992-1994)
Current No.Of Lines   4 (two in night)

Olomouc, beautiful city in Moravia (eastern part of Czech Republic), now with 110.000 inhibitans shows typical example of tramway need - their railway station was too far from the city centre, so in 1897 German firma Siemens & Halske started to built electric tramway here.

First line was opened in 1899 betwenn Railway station and Nova Ulice (Olomouc suburb). Railway station terminus was equipped with a loop - in that time it was something unusual and it was probably first loop in Austrian-Hungarian monarchy. Nine tramcars served this line, as well as second line to Sibenik opened half year ago.

In 1904 city bought tramway company. In 1912 depot was upgraded and new tramcars from Studenka purchased. New line to Central cementry was opened in 1914. Tramways in Olomouc were closed in 1917 because of war. They weren't back in service until 1920, when track was renewed. Also in 1920 new tramcars were purchased.

In 1928 was cemetry line expanded into Neredin, and in 1933 into airport. After WW2 tramcars fleet was poor. So in 1947 used tramways from Praha were purchased (approx. 50 pcs untill 1957 was delivered!)

In 1954 was completely changed track in historic centre. Single-track through 'city' was abandoned and new double-track was built. Depot was upgraded. In 1955 new line to Market Hall was opened, and in 1957 Hodolany were connected. But in 1956 was airport line shortened to Neredin, last approx. 300 meters of this line is still with single-track.

New tramways of T1 type were delivered in 1957, 10 pcs was delivered. They were followed with five T2 tramcars, one of them was first prototype 6001 from Praha. All of these tramcars were withdrawned in 1982-1986 period. 72 tramcars of T3 type was delivered between 1966 and 1987, and they are mostly in service until today. No tramways of type KT8D5 were delivered.

In 1981 old line to Nova ulice was closed and new one was built through different street.

In the end of 80's city wanted to built second tramway route to Main Station. Some projects were created, but in 1993 this line was 'finally' rejected (because the shortage of funds). Hah! Only ten days after this decision (!) big accident of water pipes caused closure of route between Square Of National Heroes and Main Railway Station. For two weeks, city transport was paralysed. Then in 1994 they started to built this line. It was opened on 25th April 1997 as the newest tramway route in Czech Republic at all.

There's now necesarry to upgrade crossing on Square Of National Heroes, to allow direct service from Neredin through new line to railway station. Also there's hope to built new line to suburb Povel, but any expansion of track requires new depot, because it is impossible to store more tramways into old one.

Tramways covers approx. 55% of all transport needs in city.

Following lines are in operation:

1 from Fibichova st. to Nova ulice, now through new line
2 from Fibichova st. to Neredin
4 from Hodolany to Nova ulice, but through old line
5 from Hodolany to Neredin

Lines 4 and 5 operates through night too, but only 2 trains per line.

Overview of current track

Olomouc tramway tracks after 25th April 1997

More on Olomouc may be found at the archive site http://tram.rusign.com/cz/ol-tr-e.htm

Liberec

image
A map of the tramway network in Liberec
From Richard Bilek
Click to view full size

Liberec tramway tracks, shown on the map as of 12th December 1996.

Summary:
Opening Date          11.11.1897
Gauge                 1000 mm, regauging to 1435 mm in progress
Current Voltage       600 V dc
Maximum Track Length  25,4 km (1955-1960)
Current Track Length  17,7 km
No.Of Cars            50  (approx.)
No.Of Depots          1
Maximum No.Of Lines   5 (certain periods 1971-1996)
Current No.Of Lines   4 (no service thru night) 

Liberec, city under mountains Jizerske Hory with 108.000 inhibitans today operates smallest tramway network in Czech Republic, and the only one narrow gauge network after 1970 when Usti nad Labem abandoned their tramways. In the end of 19th century was Liberec (also known under german name Reichenberg) very rich city. To show it, city decided to built tramway network. First line between Railway station and Lidove Sady (there's now Zoo, opened 1928 as first Czech Zoo) was opened in 1897 with 8 tramcars. Until end of century second line to Rochlice was opened. In 1900 their city-rival Jablonec innaugurated tramways too. Shortly after this, connection between these two cities was proposed, but plans were rejected for more than next 50 years. In 1905 new line to Ruzodol followed, so two lines, 1 from Railway st. to Lidove sady and 2 from Rochlice to Ruzodol were in service. New tramcars from EAG Schuckert were delivered.

In 1906 during German-Czech Exhibition temporary track was built to move passengers into it. Third line from Soukenne names into Horni Hanychov, today's ski resort was opened in 1912. New german tramcars were again delivered, expanding fleet to 25 vehicles. Until end of WW2 track was mainly unchanged, with one exception in 1929 when line to Ruzodol was slightly extended, and with second exception in 1932 when short line between Railway station and Viadukt (onto Hanychov's route) was built and line between Viadukt and Soukenne Square was abandoned.

After WW2 was tramway fleet renewed with MT6 tramcar, Czech unique tramcar for 1000 mm gauge. Shortly after WW2 new projects about the connection between Liberec and Jablonec were created. In 1950 in Jablonec started to built, in 1954 they reached Vratislavice, village between these two cities and in 1955 was route completed. Route was operated with both Liberec and Jablonec tramcars until the closure of Jablonec's city tramways in 1965. Tramway network reached it's maximum length, but in 1960 was closed line 2 between Rochlice and Ruzodol.

Modern heavy tramcars of T1 type were not suitable for 1000 mm gauge, therefore first modern tramway was T2 type. First prototype 6002 arrived in 1957 and was tested (not in passenger service) here, and then moved to Bratislava. After 1960 batch of 12 tramcars of T2 type was delivered, after 1965 they were followed by -guess what- T3 type again. Additional T2 tramcars were purchased in years 1968-1971 from Usti nad Labem (they closed in 1970 their tramways). In the mid of 70's tramvay route to Jablonec was renewed, in end of 80's was renewed track in city of Jablonec too. In the mid of 80's were tramways in very bad shape. Track was in a bad condition, and tramways becomes unsafe. State authorities decided: Tramways needs to be completely renewed, or abandoned.

In August 1990 upgrading began. During a period of 1990 to 1995 main line between Zoo and Railway Bridge (Viadukt) was upgraded with unique three-rail system, that will allow both 1000 mm and 1435 mm operation. This was probably the worst work, because from time to time was complete network paralysed. New central terminus in Fugnerova street was opened in 17th November 1995. During 1996 a short section to the depot was regauged, and some of the depot itself. From December 1996, regauging has started on the Viadukt-Kubelikova St. track, this should be done for 1435 mm only. Regauging of this track is expected to last until March 1998. A new double track will be built from Vapenka (Calcium Mill) to Kubelikova St., replacing the existing single track. Rest of track to Hanychov will be upgraded later, this project ends probably in 2001. There's still hope to built new track between Horni Hanychov and funiculaire station to Jested hill (1012 meters high), this is approx 1 km far.

Operation on normal gauge should start in mid-February 1997, but it is delayed, since Liberec does not have enough funds to buy normal gauge tramcars immediately. However it must start before March 1998, so In mid-1997 or later, new normal-gauge, ultra-low-floor tramcars from the Czech manufacturer "Tatra" in Prague, type RT6N1, are expected to be delivered. Currently, there are approx. 30 tramways of type Tatra T3. Additional eight are now in the Skoda Works at Plzen (Pilsen) where they are being modernised. First two tramcars returned in February 1996. They are prepared for regauging to 1435 mm, but they are now in service on Jablonec's route. Because of the shortage of tramcars, the city has purchased six old tramcars of type Tatra T2 from Ostrava (for a very reasonable price) in 1995, and two more in 1996. These cars date back to the years 1958-1961; they were reagauged from 1435 mm to 1000 mm and now they are in service in Liberec. Some of these were orignally delivered for Usti nad Labem, where they operated on normal gauge too... They operate now under No's. 20 to 27. Also used tramways from Praha (T3 type} were purchased, and they are now modernised in Skoda Works too.

Situation of Jablonec's route is unclear. After regauging of Hanychov's route, there's hope to regauge entire track to Jablonec, but Jablonec does not want to invest money. So it is possible, that Jablonec's route will be regauged only to Vratislavice, and rest to Jablonec will be abandoned, but it is worst solution and all and we can hope, that this 'Momentary Lapse Of Reason' (Pink Floyd) never becomes a reality.

The following lines are in operation:

   * Line 1 from Zoo to Viadukt. This line can be operated both in normal
     and narrow gauge, so new tramcars can operate here.
   * Line 2 from Zoo to Calcium Mill is now out of service.
   * Line 3 from Zoo to Horni Hanychov. Narrow gauge tramways are in
     service here. Old track Viadukt - Kubelikova st. is now out of use,
     but there is temporary track on the left side of street, so tramways
     can still operate here.
   * Line 5 from Fugnerova st. to Prosetice-Vratislavice (on the interrurban track to
     Jablonec). Regauging of this line won't start before 1999, so this
     line will be unchanged for years...
   * Line 11 from Fugnerova st. to Jablonec. Same as above.

Liberec's tramways are probably most interesting in Czech Republic at this time. They often operates through forests, so they should be visited. Good reason is 100th anniversary of tramways that will be held this year (1997).

Abandoned Tramways

Currently, 7 cities operates tramways (and two additional cities, Jablonec and Litvinov are served too). But in the past, additional 8 cities operates tramways. Here's short overview, sorted by date of closure.

Cesky Tesin. Last In / First Out. This medium city operated tramways between 1911 and 1921. Their only route connected city with far railway station - - usuall reason to built tramway for these small cities. After fall of Austrian- Hungarian Monarchy, this city was in area, that both Czech Republic and Poland wanted to join. After local war (!} in 1920, city was divided. Old historic centre becomes to be Polish city Cieszyn, while railway station was Czech property. Tramways were in service for half an year, they crossed borderline 18 times in a day. Traffic was drastically reduced, so in 1921 were tramways abandoned. These tramcars were probably sold to another Polish city Lodz in 30's. Urban transport is provided by buses on Polish side now, while Czech part (much smaller} is without this.

Jihlava. Tramways were opened here in 1909, same as in Cesky Tesin to connect city with railway station. Operation with up to five tramcars on 2260 m long route remain unchanged until 1948, route was then abandoned and replaced by trolleybuses. They are in service in city until today.

Ceske Budejovice. City in the southern part of Czech Republic opened their network in same year as Jihlava, Two lines were in service, one from railway station to north, second from railway station to south. In 1933 it was changed, so one line runs directly from north to south, and second (short) operated between Railway station and central square. Again, network was closed in 1948 and was replaced with trolleybuses too. However, trolleybuses were abandoned in 1971 and city transport was provided by buses only, until 1990 when trolleybus service was innagurated again and today's still under expansion.

Marianske Lazne. World-wide famous spa opened their first (and last) tramway route in 1902. It connected again city with near railway station. This tramway was very popular by spa's visitors and survived until 1952 when it was replaced by trolleybuses. Trolleybus network is in service until today, it is now smaller european trolleybus network! However, maybe it will be closed in near future.

Opava. Silesia, province of Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy was lost by Marie Theresie during wars in 1750-1770. Only small part remained in Monarchy, and after 1918 becomes to be a part of Czech Republic. Opava was a capital of this province, their tramway network was opened in 1905, when first line between Hospital and East Railway station was opened. Until 1912 was network expanded to People's Garden, Katerinky and Central Cemetry. Between wars track remained unchanged, after WW2 new extensions to Katerinky II. and to Jaktar were built. In 1952 trolleybus service was opened and until 1956 completely replaced all of trolleybus network.

Teplice. Their tramways were opened in 1895, as second electric tramway after Prague. They operated main line between Retenice through city to Spa Dubi, with complete length about 15 km. Additional extensions to Spa Sanov and to (suburbian) railway station Zamecka zahrada were built before WW1. After WW2, in 1952 they started to operate trolleybus network. Although this should not replaced tramway, in 1956 decision was taken to rebuilt tramway to trolleybus completely. Last route between Novosedlice and Dubi was abandoned then in 1959.

Jablonec nad Nisou. City near Liberec opened their network in 1900. This was connection between Jablonec and Rychnov, this village was station of main railwai line between Liberec and Praha. Network was extended with new lines to Brandl, Janov, and Paseky. In 1951 city operated 33 km long network. In 1955 tramway line to Liberec was opened. But in early 60's decision was taken to close whole network and replace it with busses. It was done in 1965. Only interrurban tramway to Liberec remained. Between 1965 and 1972 it was served from Jablonec's tramway depot too, but depot was abandoned in 1972. Today's there's still hope to extend Liberec route to central bus station. But it is problem with money - Liberec does not want to invest money "because it is not in our city" and Jablonec too "because it is not our tramway". Rest of urban transport is served by a bus.

Usti nad Labem. Closure of this tramway 1970 was crime of the century, because this tramway network was one of the biggest in Czech republic. It was opened in 1899, and quickly spreaded its wings over whole hilly city. Until WW2 maximum track length over 45 km was reached, served with 9 lines. After WW2 some small extensions of track were built. In 1957 first line to Telnice was closed, but in 1960 18 new modern tramcars of T2 type was delivered. However they were too heavy for this poor track, so decision was taken to abandon tramway and replace it (probably) with trolleybuses. Tramways were officialy closed in 1969, but until June 1970 they runned in rush hours. After closure old tramcars were scrapped, rest of T2 tramcars was sold in 1971 to Ostrava and Liberec. Some of them are still in service, Liberec withdrawned them in 1988, but in 1995 they purchased some of Usti's tramcars from Ostrava again. Replacement with trolleybuses was not done, city was served by buses. After 18 years, in 1988 was opened first trolleybus route. After big expansion is now second biggest trolleybus network in Czech Republic here - however tramways are gone.

But wait! Chemical Works Spolchemie had an industrial railway. It was server (for safety reasons) with electric locos. This railway, operating on a very narrow gauge 565 mm was closed in May 1996. And there's hope to 'move' track to a public route between trolleybus station and Zoo. So maybe 'tramways' will be again in service in Usti...

Table of abandoned tramways

Please note, that all of these tramways operated on narrow gauge 1000 mm, and they never had more than one depot, so this is not mentioned...

City                  Opened    Closed    Max.Length   Max.No.Lines     Voltage
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ceske Budejovice   14.06.1909  28.10.1948    4,7 km         2           550 V dc
Cesky Tesin        18.02.1911  11.04.1921    2,2 km         1           550 V dc
Jablonec n.N.      07.02.1900  31.03.1965   33,1 km         5           600 V dc
Jihlava            26.08.1909  04.12.1948    2,2 km         1           500 V dc
Marianske Lazne    12.05.1902  27.04.1952    2,1 km         1           580 V dc
Opava              04.12.1905  22.04.1956    8,8 km         4           550 V dc
Teplice            25.07.1895  28.02.1959   17,8 km         2           500 V dc
Usti n.Labem       01.07.1899  01.06.1970   45,1 km         9           600 V dc

Sure, every city over 20.000 projected their own network, but these plans *never* becomed a reality. Last of them were created shortly after WW2. There are two exceptions:

  1. German city Bad Schandau started to built connection between todays Czech village Mezni Louka in 1913. But this track was never given into service, shortly after beginning of WW1 was project abandoned. Track was not layed on today's Czech side.
  2. In 1982 (!) Czechoslovak government decided to built new tramway between Chomutov and Jirkov. In 1986 they started to built new depot in Jirkov, also one street in Chomutov-Prisecna was prepared for tramway tracks. Shortly after 1989 these plans were converted to trolleybus network, depot was used for trolleybuses. This youngest czech trolleybus network was opened on 1st July 1995.

Praha/Prague

Summary for Praha

Opening Date          23.09.1875
Gauge                 1435 mm
Current Voltage       600 V dc
Maximum Track Length  150,9 km (1959)
Current Track Length  136,6 km
No.Of Cars            800  (approx.)
No.Of Depots          7 (eight as museum)
Maximum No.Of Lines   32 (1976-1979)
Current No.Of Lines   24 (additional 8 in night)*

*Standalone night lines started to operate on 3rd November 1985. Sooner
7 or 8 lines was running 24 hrs a day.

The Praha museum (local telephone no. 24 98 46 42)

Opening times for 1997 season:

Praha's tramway museum is opened every Saturday and Sunday until end of October, 9-18. In workdays can be opened for request.

Special tramway line 91, equipped with old two-axle tramways runs in Praha this year too, fare is 20 CZK. It started near Exhibition Place and it's circle line runs through city back. Tramcars runs hourly.

Museum mestske dopravy
Patockova 1
Praha 6 - Stresovice
Czech Republic

The tramway stop "Vozovna Stresovice" (Depot Stresovice) is in front of this museum. Tramway lines are: 1,2,18,25,26.

There are other tramway museums in the Czech Republic (watch this space).

Praha/Prague: Tramway History

Praha (Prague), is now capital and biggest city of Czech Republic (1.200.000) It now operates the biggest Czech tramway network with approx. 136 km of track and approx. 800 vehicles. History is more than 120 years long. It started with a horsecar in 1875, when Belgian company led by Eduard Otlett opened on 23rd September first tramway line. Company had originally 30 vehicles with 65 horses in service. Until 1893 (when last line of horse tramway opens) this network expanded to approx. 35 km. Horse-drawn tramways were slow, but popular here. Time flies... First electric tramway runs in German capital Berlin in 1879, however it was experimental only. Two years later W. Siemens opened in Berlin again first public line.

Famous czech electric inventor F. Krizik was also very keen on electric transport. He worked together with W. Siemens, after splitting he started to design his own tramway systems. In 1891, during National Centennial Exhibition in Praha he opened first electric tramway line with two vehicles. This line was very succesful, however after closure of exhibition it was only rarely used by public. In 1895 Fr. Krizik spread his wings over newly built tramway line Praha - Liben - Vysocany from Praha to industrial suburbs on east of Praha. Here was great success! Most of this line is still in service as one of the most important of Praha's tramway lines.

Western suburb Smichov was connected with Praha with electric tramway in 1896. However, owner of this tramway M. Hlavacek, Mayor of Smichov was after construction in serious commercial troubles, and commited suicide soon after this tramway line was opened. In 1897 was also opened Tramway of Kralovske Vinohrady on southern east of Praha, again with courtesy of F.Krizik. City council was very disappointed with co-operation of owner of horse-drawn tramway. After few tries city took control over horse-drawn tramway in 1898 and immediately started to rebuilt it to electric tramway. All of the lines of tramway were rebuilt until 1901, with one exception, with very short line over Charles Bridge, one of the oldest European stone bridges, built 1357-1362. Horse-drawn tramway survived here until 1905. In this year it was rebuilt to electric tramway too, but not with overhead wires, but with third electric rail in mid of track. Several tramcars were adapted for this line, although they could run with overhead wires too. Tramcar No.180 was photographed here and this picture was very famous not only in Czech Republic, so when City gave one tramcar to UK Tram Museum in Crich, another tramcar (with same serial no.) was renumbered to 180.

But back into 1907. All of another private tramway lines were sold to city at least this year. In 1908 tramcars introduced for first time line numbers instead of colors. Network was expanded up to 92 km in 1914. In the years of WW1 tramways ran in less quantity. In 1915 last batch of tramcars for several years was delivered. Old Austrian Monarchy crashed in October 1918. 28th October 1918 was announced new country - so called Czecho-moravian Republic, but only two days later was joined together with Slovakia into Czechoslovakia. Praha was a new capital. In 1922 was Praha joined together with satelite cities in Velka Praha (Big Praha), but this name was not used and we still have Prague. Expansion of network started in 1919 and until 1938 it growes up from 92 to 134 km. New tramcars were delivered. Regular bus service was inaugurated in 1923 and buses started to cooperate with tramways. After WW1 there was 14 lines in service, in 1938 there was 23 lines. New progressive tramways were built too, but Czechoslovak government decided to buy licence for US tramways "PCC" type (President's Commitee Car). However this decision was made shortly before WW2, so it was not completed in this time. German troops invaded Czechoslovakia in March 1939. One of their first decisions was, that all transport should be right-sided. It was quickly changed over. Tramways ran with big problems in years of war. There was a hope to built new tramway tracks into Letnany, where were new military works, but these plans were rejected in 1943. In April 1945 the city was badly damaged by US Bombers. War ended here on 9th May 1945 and after one week first tramway line started to operate again. But consolidation was not ready until November 1945. In 1948 communist goverment started to rule here. They want to expand tramway and trolleybus network (opened 1936) as much as possible. Also, licence from US was purchased and in 1951 first prototype of tramcar T1 was given into service. Up to 133 of these were purchased. Tramway tracks expanded into its maximum 152 km in 1959. In 1958 Praha also has 110 km of trolleybuses. In the early 60's time changed for electric traction... Goverment decided to expand buses rather than electric traction. Tramways should be preserved in two ways - in far suburbs, and also for underground tramway in the mid of Praha. There were plans to close rest of tramways before 1980. In 1966 they started to build first line of underground tramway. There were many protests against, because of weak capacity of underground tramway. Building stopped in 1967 and plans were changed to built classic underground (tube) here. There also were plans to withdraw all tramways (maybe with exception of industrial east of Praha) and all trolleybuses and replace it with buses. Trolleybuses really didn't survive, last line was closed in 16th October 1972. But opinions of tramway role changed, once again with oil crisis in the mid of 70s. First tube was opened in 1974. With construction of another tube lines tramways were withdrawn from historic city, so in 1978 we had only 128 km of track. But again new lines were built and city still wants to expand tramways into new housing estates. Last line was opened on 25th May 1995 into Modrany. Few new lines is already planned now, in 2001 there ought to be new line to Barrandow, in 2002 into Komorany (with new depot) and in 2004 new bridge accross the river Vltava. In this year tramway should have 153 km of track, real maximum in history. Tramways should run with cooperation with tube (now 46 km of track)...

City now operates with Czech tramways only. In years 1962-1976 huge batch of 892 tramcars of type T3 was delivered, approx. 450 still in service there. From 1983 to 1990 similar type T3SUor T3SUCS was delivered with 292 pcs., all of them (with one exception) still in service. City also purchased double-ended tramway of KT8D5 type, but this is not very popular here. Although this tramcar should replace all of old tramways only 45 are now in service. In 1995 city started to operate with new modern tramway of type T6B5, 130 was delivered until end of 1996, next 20 vehicles should arrive this year. 4pcs of new low-floor tramway was purchased also in end of 1996. Praha also operate several special sightseeing trams, also historic tramways. City uses 7 tram depots, it has 24 day lines, 7 nightlines.

Currently tramcars can be seen with these numbers:

6092       Tramcar of type T1, in 1976 (after accident) rebuilt to T3
6102..6992 Classic tramcar of T3 type
7001..7020 Tramcars of type T3SU (seats 2+1), delivered  in 1983
7021..7292 Tramcars of type T3SU (seats 1+1)
8005..8106 Some of classic tramcars of T3 type were rebuilt to T3M type
           with different electricity. But their look was unchanged
8601..8680 Tramcars T6B5 delivered in 1995 (seats 1+1)
8681..8730 Tramcars T6B5 delivered in 1996 (seats 2+1)
9001..9048 Double-ended tramcars of type KT8D5 (three withdrawed)
9051       Prototype of low-floor tramway RT6N1. Property of factory!
           At present time in Polish city Krakow (Cracow) for testing.
9101..9104 Tramcars RT6N1. In march 1997 still not in regular service

5500       Tramcar of type T4YU (seats 2+2). Used for sightseeing
5601,5602  Tramcars of type T3, rebuilt to sightseeing trams (also 2+2 seats)

55xx       Special tramways (not for passenger services), approx. 25 vehicles

Czech Tramway History: Tramway manufacturers

History of Czech tramways cannot be completed without Tramway manufacturers. During 120 years many manufacturers were here, and one of them CKD Tatra becomes biggest tramway builder of the world. History of this company started 225 years ago! In 1771 Frantisek Ringhoffer opened his first workshop in Praha. He worked with cooper and his workshop expaned into regular factory at least in 1852 when his grandson (Frantisek too) opened his Smichov's (Praha's suburb) factory. Railway expansion in 40's years of 19th century was excellent job, so he started first to repair railcars. In 1854 he built first own (goods) railcars, in 1857 first personal railcar. In 1859, because of expansion he moved into new Smichov's location.

Praha's horse tramway started to operate with belgian railcars, however in 1876 Ringhoffer built his first tramcar. Until the closure of horse tramway, most of their cars were made by Ringoffer. First electric tramways in 1891 and in 1896 were built by Fr.Krizik, however their bodies were also manufactured by Ringhoffer's Factory. His tramcars also were in use in small cities, such as Cesky Tesin. Before 1918, his tramcars were NOT in service in north (used with german cars) and on Slovakia (hungarian cars).

After declaration of Czechoslovakian independence in 1918, Ringhoffer factory was capitalised. In 1923 was reunied with Tatra, factory from Koprivnice in Northern Moravia. Although this factory never built tramways before 1918, it was very popular for their autos. This new factory was named Ringhoffer-Tatra a.s.

Between 1918 and 1938 approx. 75% of Czech tramcars were built through Ringhoffer-Tatra a.s. In the 30's was the era of expansion of private cars. In USA they wanted to stop this with construction of new tramway type PCC (President's Commitee Car). These cars were quickly spreaded through whole USA. In 1938 Ringhoffer-Tatra decided to purchase a licence, and to built these tramways too. However, war started very early. After war, in 1946 was this company nationalised and renamed to Vagonka Tatra.

In 1948 US licence for PCC tramcars was definitely purchased. Their protoype, under T1 name was built in 1951. It was delivered into all Czechoslovak cities with 1435 mm gauge. Batch of 20 pcs was sold to Rostow-na-Donu, the only one Russian tramways with 1435 mm gauge. Two were sold to Poland, and under another licence they were built here in Konstal Factory under name Konstal 101 and Konstal 102 for several years. Last railcar - saloon car for J.V.Stalin was built here in 1950. In 1955 followed tramcar of T2 type, it was upgrade of T1 class, and it was also able to run on 1000 mm gauge. After few years, T3 class followed and it becomes with more than 18.500 cars the most spreaded tramcars of the world. In 1959 was this company unified with locomotive manufacturer CKD and renamed to CKD Tatra. In 1965 they built batch of shunter locomotives of class T 334.0. Same year also bring an agreement between goverment of Czechoslovakia and Eastern Germany, so CKD Tatra becomed the only tramway manufacturer for all eastern-european (or communist) countries, with exception of Poland and Romania.

Because of the narrow streets of Eastern Germany's cities, new type T4 was built. It was very similar to T3 type, however its body was only 2,2 meters wide, instead of 2,5 meters of T3 type. This T4 type was also sold to Sowiet Union and Yugoslavia. Another intersting vehicle, type B3 {or B4, with narrow body) was delivered in 1968. This was something between coach and trailer. It was equipped with motors, however not with driver's cab. So this vehicle was able to run as 2nd or 3rd car of tramway train. These cars were delivered only to Eastern Germany, but they were very popular here. Productions of T4, B3 and B4 tramcars stopped in 1988. Articulated tramways were recommended for bigger capacity too. Two protoypes of K1 tramcars were built, and serial production of K2 type started in 1966. They were very popular in Russia, not so much in Czechoslovakia, only Brno, Bratislava and Ostrava purchased these.

In 1969, batch of K5 tramcars was delivered to Egypt's capital El Qahira {Cairo}. This was articulated tramcars, similar to K2 type, but double-ended! This tramcars was also equipped with both seats of 1st and 2nd class! 120 tramways were sold to Egypt before 1981, however they do not survive after 1982 year. Shorter version of K2 tramcar was called KT4. It was also articulated tramcar, but it was only 4-axle tramway instead of 6-axles K2 tramcars. Production of this type started in 1976 and it was delivered into Eastern Germany, Yugoslavia and Soviet Union. This tramcar was never in service in Czechoslovakia.

Hungarian capital Budapest required in end of 70's special tramway. Their lines mostly weren't equipped with a loop, however they didn't wanted double-ended tramways. Simple solution was called T5C5. It was single-ended tramway, but with door on both sides. Two tramcars are joined by their ends, so they can operate as a double-ended vehicle. These tramcars are now main part of big Budapest's tramway fleet.

New type of T5B6 was created in end of 70's. This type never goes into serial production, but similar type T6B5 was delivered into Russia after 1982. This type is here known under name T3M, but it is brand-new tramcar.

In the early 80's under massive communist propaganda, new big double-ended tramcars of KT8D5 type were developed. Although approx. 200 was builded, they weren't very popular. Praha operates large fleet. New tramcars were delivered to Moscow and to North Korea's capital Pyongjang. One of the Korean's batch was sold to (today's) Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Some used KT8D5 from Kosice and from Most were sold to Hungarian city Miskolc, as well as to Germany city Straussberg (very close to Berlin) in period 1988-1996. There's still chance to deliver similar tramcars RTN8D5 to Philipinne's capital Manilla for their fast tramwayroad.

Developement of non-articulated tramways followed with T6A2 type, which was sold to Eastern Germany in period 1988-1989 and with T7B5 type. This tramcar was delivered to Russia and first protoype is still in service in Norway's capital Oslo! After 1989, Czechoslovakian fleet was renewed with T6B5 tramcar. Firstly were delivered to Kosice in 1991, and now they serve Bratislava, Praha, Brno and Ostrava too. Expansion of low-floor vehicles resulted to RT6N1 type. This tramcar is developed until 1992 and hopefuly it comes into regular service in Praha and Brno this year. Some of these tramcars were also ordered from Polish city Poznan (or Posen, in german language). After more than 40 years it was first tramcar to be delivered to Poland. There is in prepartion another tramcar RT6S, similar to RT6N1, but equipped with electricity made by german factory Siemens. There's hope to sold these tramcars to Western European countries soon.

After 1968 Tatra built at least 800 tramways every year! But the orders were still bigger, approx. 1200 tramways in year. So in 1981 Czech government started to build new factory in Praha - Zlicin, there was hope to built 1500 tramways in one year! But it comes "fall of the wall" in 1989, and it was also fall of mass production... Although Zlicin's factory is opened, production comes down rapidly. Sure, the company is NOT near bankrupcy, but there are still serious problems... Factory hopes, that they should deliver new tube cars for Praha's underground in 1999-2004 to replace russian cars of Ecs and 81.71 type... Future is still opened here...

CKD Tatra was surely biggest, but not the only-one manufacturer. Here's short overview of the rest:

Brozik, Plzen.

This company produces railcars. In 1899 they built batch of all 20 first Plzen's tramways, with co-operation of Frantisek Krizik. After 1900 small production continued with cooperation of Strojirna Zeman in Plzen 37 tramcars was a total, they never run outside Plzen. After WW1 this company was bought by Skoda Works, Plzen

Vagonka Ceska Lipa

This producer of goods railcars started after WW2 build own tramcars with cooperation of Vagonka Studenka. They built tramcar of MT6 type. This tramcar runned on 1000 mm gauge only, but was very popular. It was delivered to Bratislava, Liberec, such as Jablonec and Usti nad Labem and Teplice too. This company was also the only-one producer for 760 mm gauge, so whole post-war fleet of Ostrava's narrow gauge tramways was built here. Also Trencianska Tepla was equipped with these tramcars, however coaches were built in Vagonka Studenka. After development of T2 tramcar in Tatra, production stopped here.

Vagonka Kolin

Between wars, it was small producer of tramcars too. This company cooperated with Skoda Works, Plzen, but they built only bodies. Their tramcars were relatively popular for their low-costs, but mass production never was here.

Kralovopolska strojirna

These tramcars were only in service in Brno - this factory was settled in Brno too. After WW2 big plans were here, however by governement decision, production ceased in 1951.

Vagonka Poprad

Now on Slovakia, it is producer of goods railcars, however in 1955 they developed some trailers for Tatra Electric Railway (in Poprad too).

Vagonka Studenka

Famous Tatra-Works in Koprivnice were originally based by three brothers. One of them in 1900 moved into near city Studenka, where he based another company. It becomes a specialist on railcars, and until today it is still big producer of motor coaches and railcars. In 1909 they started to built their first tramway, it was delivered to Olomouc. Between wars, several tramcars was built too, they served Brno, Bratislava and Kosice. Production was relatively succesfull, but in 1923 this company reunied with Ringhoffer and production stopped. Although now it is once again 'standalone' company, they are not building tramways.

After 'fall of the wall' two new manufacuteres were base.

World-wide famous Skoda Works in Plzen surprisingly never built any tramcars (with exception of cooperation with Vagonka Kolin). In 1993 they started to develop new tramcar under codename Astra (asynchornous tramway). Protoype should be ready this year. It should be low-floor tramway with german electric motors. Future is unknown, but it is very interesting project... Also, their 'home' city Plzen supports this development, and they hope to operate with these tramcars very early

Pars DMN Sumperk.

This former railway workshop is not producer of new tramways, but they are able to completely renew tramcars of T3 and K2 type, cities of Praha, Brno and Ostrava hopes to have 'new' tramways for reasonable price. There are bright prospect in this company!

Ostrava

Summary for Ostrava

Opening date         18.08.1894      22.12.1902
Closure date           ------
Gauge                1435 mm         30.09.1973
Current Voltage      600 V dc          -----   (600 V dc in 1973)

Maximum Track Length        174,4 km  (1954)
Current Track Length         64,1 km
No.Of Cars                  270
No.Of Depots                2
Maximum No.Of Lines         19 (1950-1953,1996-..)
Current No.Of Lines         19, 7 runs 24 hrs. a day

(the last five numbers includes (where applicable)
normal and narrow gauge lines together)

Please note that this article also describes all overland routes to far cities such as Orlova, Karvina, and Bohumin. Especially Bohumin was sometimes reffered as city with standalone tramway network - but it was in 1914 connected (with another company's lines) with Ostrava.

Ostrava, now strongly industrial city in Northern Moravia with 315.000 inhibtans is one of biggest Czech cities. It is main city in so-called Ostravian-Karvinian Norther Industry Region. City is known for their coal mines and iron works. First iron work were opened in 1840, and Ostrava, in 1840 little city with approx. 6.000 inhibitans started to expand. Many coal mines were opened in 2nd half of 19th century, while first railway line was opened in 1847.

City needed a faster transport, so they want to build tramway too. Because of the coal mines, there was idea of steam tramway instead of those horse-drawn. In 1893 Brno's tramway company offered to city to built steam tramway (of same type as in Brno) here. City gives licence to built it here, so first line was opened here in 1894. They operate goods transport as well as passenger transport.

Tramway company was relatively successfull, but in 1898 they sold tracks to city. City formed a new company, built new tracks (so in 1899 there was 14 km) and in 1900 they started to rebuilt tracks to electric tramway. It was done on 1.May 1901. Old King's city Bohumin (till 1844 bigger than Ostrava) was also connected till 1847 by railway line. But railway station was approx 4 km far from city, so city wanted to make better conection. All railway plans in end of 19th century were rejected, so city decided to built here new tramway. In 1902 horse-drawn tramway with 760 mm gauge was innaugurated here. Although transport was faster, new city called Novy (New) Bohumin was based near station, while old Bohumin is called now Stary (really Old) Bohumin now. (Little note, although it was oldest narrow gauge tramway here, it also was the last one, closed in 1973). In 1904 was this line rebuilt to steam tramway, with only one engine. Other cities wanted to be connected with Ostrava too. So new company, Local Railway Ostrava-Hrusov was formed in 1903. In 1904 they opened their first line from Ostrava to Hrusov with 9 km length, again with 760 mm gauge. It was operated with steam locos, rebuilt to electric tramway in 1911. It was not enough, so in 1908 Local Railway Ostrava-Karvina was formed. In 1909 they opened their first (and last) line from Ostrava to Karvina with the length of 20 km. Line was built with 760 mm gauge and 560V dc overhead wires. Both these tramway lines were connected with normal gauge (steam) Ostrava's Tramways, but weren't connected each other, there was approx. 900 m difference.

Another company Silesian Land Railway was formed in 1911. This company also wanted to connect Ostrava to Karvina, but through norhtern way accross Bohumin and Petrvald. They opened their fist line in 1912, again with 760 mm gauge and 600 V dc overhead from Karvina to Frystat, and also from Ostrava to Michalkovice. In 1913 they reached Bohumin and in 1914 Hrusov. They also taked control over Local Railway Ostrava-Hrusov, so direct trains Ostrava-Karvina could run...

Next company was formed in 1913 in souther part of Ostrava. It was property of Vitkovice Iron Works, one of the biggest factories in Ostrava. They built electric tramway with normal gauge to connect their works with other tramway lines. They have only 6 km of track, it was expanded only once, in 30's (but later)

Between wars, 6 companies were here.

1. Ostrava's tramways. They operate main Ostrava's network with 1435 mm gauge. Their track was expanded in 20's to Svinov as well other prats of city. Company's cars were mostly self-built by the company.

2. Silesian Land Railway (SZD). They operated main line from Ostrava through Hrusov and Bohumin to Karvina and Frystat, as well as branch line from Ostrava to Michalkovice and from Orlova to Orlova-Kopaniny. This network was not expanded in this period, but in 1928 they taked control over Local railway Svinov-Kyjovice. This steam railway was connected in Svinov with Ostrava's tramways, but it was never connected with the rest network of SZD. Rest of track remained unchanged in gauge 760 mm.

3. Local Railway Ostrava-Karvina (MDOK). Gauge 760 mm. Not expanded.

4. Bohumin's city tramway. Shortly before war was this line rebuilt to electric tramway. They rebuilt their steam car to electric car, and in 1921 they purchased second (new) electric car. This line was not expanded. In 1947 city sold this line to Silesian Land Railways.

5. Vitkovicka zavodni draha (property of Iron Works) was expanded in 1928 to 5,2 kilometers. In 1930 it taked control over Local Railway Marianske Hory - Brusperk (but this line never reached Brusperk, it ended in Hrabova). This line was rebuilt to electric tramway in 1934.

6. Not mentioned yet - Klimkovice's Local Railway. It was connection between old city Klimkovice (now only village) and Svinov. This line was built as classic steam railway in 1911, but in 1922 it was rebuilt to electric tramway. It used standard gauge, 1435 mm. (It was closed in 1978).

After WW2, and after victory of communist party in Czechoslovakia were all tramways nationalized. So in 1949 Dopravni podnik mesta Ostravy (DPMO) was formed, and all tramway companies (except Vitkovicka zavodni draha) were joined into it. Shortly after this, in 1950 missing piece of narrow gauge tramways in Ostrava between (former) tracks of SZD and MDOK. It was the beginning of golden era of narrow gauge tramways here! Until 1953 it was expaned network mainly in Karvina, where new suburbs were connected. New tramcars from Vagonka Ceska Lipa were purchased (approx. 25). In 1953 was also Vitkovicka zavodni draha taken over DPMO, and one year ago, after construction of new (normal gauge) lines in Zabreh there was a network with shocking length of 174 km, biggest in Czechoslovakia for anytime. Hilly narrow gauge route to Michalkovice was replaced by trolleybuses in November 1954.

Newly built iron works NHKG on southeast part of Ostrava required high-capacity transport. So construction of new normal gauge tramways began. It was built as double-track, but 4 km can be built only with single track, because the presence of track of MDOK. So in 1957 there comes a decision to rebuilt this 4km track to normal gauge. It was done in 1959. Narrow gauge tramways ended in Radvanice, where passengers must changed tramway. Ten golden years of narrow gauge tramways ended in 1960, when some tracks in Ostrava and Karvina were abandoned. City changed its policy about 180 degrees. Now they want to replace all tramways, especially narrow gauge tramways with buses.

This was not quite possible, because during years small village Poruba (part of Ostrava) expanded from 1.600 inhibtans in 1949 to 109.000 in 1967!!! Biggest Ostrava's housing estate needed high-capacity transport, so decision was taken to preserve tramways in this part of Ostrava. In the mid of 60's new modern depot for 180 tramways was built here. But narrow gauge tramways were massively abandoned. Last remained Ostrava in 1967. Last two lines from Novy Bohumin to Stary Bohumin and to Hrusov survived until 1973. Several tramways were preserved in Brno's Tramway Museum.

Normal gauge tramways were renewed from mid of 50's by new T1-class tramways. 46 tramways of this type were followed by 100 pcs of T2 tramcars in 1959-1964. In the mid of 60's tramways of T3 class were delivered here, but yet in 1970 city bought five tramways from abandoned tramway tracks in Usti nad Labem. 10 pcs. of type K2 was also delivered, but no more tramways of this type were delivered. In 70's city still operated several single-track routes to Hrabova, Klimkovice, Kyjovice and Hlucin (rebuilt route of Czech State Railways, 1950). City council decided to close all of these 'forest' tramways until 1985. Line to Hrabova was closed in 1974, Klimkovice followed in 1978, while Hlucin was abandoned in 1982. Last forest tramway remained. Old two-axle tramways were here used until 1985, as last track in Czechoslovakia. In 1984 decision was taken to preserve this line too, only upgrade it for heavier vehicles of T3 class. This was done in 1985, but track was then upgraded again in 1990-1992. In end of 70's tramways reached new ousing estates. Last track was opened there in 1984. Several new routes are in project, but none is under construction. In the end od 80's equipment was renewed by double-ended tramcars KT8D5, and in 1993 first new T6B5 tramways were delivered.

Currently following tramways are in service here:

594..699    T2 class tramways. In January 1997 only 12 remained in service.
            Some of them were sold to Liberec (regaguged to 1000 mm). Company
            is planning to withdraw rest of these this year, some of them
            may be sold to Liberec again.
701...798   T3 tramways 
901...1028  T3SUCS tramways delivered in mid of 80's
801...810   K2 tramways. All in service
1101..1120  T6B5 tramways.
1701..1715  KT8D5 tramways

Next batch of 10 pcs. T6B5 tramways should be delivered this year. Although Ostrava's tramways lost part of its beauty, a trip with line 5 to Kyjovice is very nice pleasure.

Thanks to Richard Bilek, Czech Republic (R.I.P. - died in 2001), a mirror of his site provided by Alexander Elagin can be seen here

Czech Republic - General

The tramways are all standard gauge, except for Liberec which used narrow gauge until recently when it was replaced by normal gauge, from 1988 onwards, in a programme to end in 2001. On some tracks both gauges exist together. Currently only narrow gauge trams are in service, but there will be a changeover in February 1997 when reconstructed depot with both gauges will operate.

Tramways in Czech republic are not preserved only in Prague's Museum. Prague's museum is probably most famous, but is not the biggest! Biggest tramway museum is in Brno. History of this museum is long. At beginning of this century village Lisen, nearly 10 km from Brno was connected to city by local railway. After years, during WW2 this railway line was rebuilt to tramway - in Lisen there were big industrial plants and war factories. After WW2 was Lisen connected by buses, and in early 60's tramway was closed. Decision was taken, that old tramway (or railway?) station Lisen will be preserved as a museum. Enthusiasts started to collect tramways, buses and trolleybuses from whole Czech Republic. Not only standard gauge tramways, but also narrow gauge tramways from varied cities are here. This museum was not opened for public in general, but only in special cases. Brno is known for their trade fairs, so especially at these days tramcars runs to city. After more than 30 years, in 1992 this museum was opened to public.

1997 Opening Times: Brno's tramway museum is opened daily except Monday until end of September, 10-18. In October it will be opened on Sat and Sun, 10-17.

They have following highlights:

  • More than 40 tramcars
  • Steam tramway locomotive No. 10 Caroline, built in 1885, fully operational!
  • Approx. 15 tramways from Brno, all main types
  • Tramways from abandoned 1000mm gauge systemes in Usti nad Labem, Jablonec, Most and Teplice
  • Tramways from abandoned 760mm gauge in Ostrava's Industrial Region
  • Electric tramcar from 760mm gauge interrurban tramway Trenc.Tepla - Trenc. Teplice (now in Slovakia) built 1909
  • Tramcars from 1000mm gauge systems in Bratislava and Liberec
  • Tramcar No.5064 from Prague

How to get there?

From Brno's Main Railway Station - tram no. 8 direction "Lisen" to station "Novolisenska", then by bus 58 to station "Karoliny Svetle" and five minutes walk, or (on workdays) directly by bus 78 to station "Museum".

In Prague, there's approx.12 vehicles of this kind. But, although they not property of Museum, they can also be seen in Depot Stresovice, when they are not in duty. In summer (May-October) they usually run on special weekend line "91" through historic city. In 1996 this line runs hourly from Exhibition place through historic centre. - for very reasonable price, 10,- CZK per person.

Tramways can also be rented for sightseeing. There are 3 special modern tramways (based on vehicles of T-Class) with 45 seats, that can be used. Or, of course any old twin-axle tramways (but it costs more). More detailed information can be obtained also in Prague's Museum

In Brno, there's additional 4 vehicles. But they are not in Brno's Museum, they are located in Depot Pisarky (tram 1 from Main St. direction "Bystrc").

Plzen's tramway network was opened in 1899. One of the first 20 tramcars survived until today. In 1996, in case of celebration 700th anniversary of city Plzen, this tramcar was restaured into original state and is now fully operational - as oldest electric tramcar in Czech Republic. Plzen also preserve tramcar of class T1, No. 121, the last one tramway of this type, built 1952, withdrawn 1987. Both are they in Depot Slovany, endstation of tram lines No. 1 and 2

Most, city between brown coal surface mines has originally 1000mm network, built 1901. Big chemical factory need faster transport. Shortly after WW2 there was parallel trolleybus line, but it was not enough. So from year 1954 they started to regauge newtwork to 1435mm. First tramways started to operate on new line in 1957, last ones on 1000mm stops in 1961. There's now very fast network, tramways run here max 80 km/hour! But none of original tramcars survives here. City has one "historic" tramway. But it is very unique - it was one of two prototypes of T5B6 Class (never built in batch), it is not historic - it was built in 1973, then tested in Russia. It was in regular service in Most for years 1976-1990. Now is preserved in Depot Velebudice, endsation of line 4,7, or station of lines 1,2 (line 2 from main railway st.)

In Liberec, there's one historic car of No. 88. It is not in service. City celebrates this year 100 th anniversary of electric tramways, so there's hope to finish reconstruction of this tramcar to this date. Future of this tramcar is unclear - it is for 1000mm gauge, and Liberec is now reaguging to 1435 mm.

In Olomouc there's one historic car and one trailer. On sundays in summer they usually run across the city. It can be seen in Depot Olomouc (station "Soud" of all tramway lines).

Last not least - Ostrava, high-industrial city (comparable with UK city Sheffield). For years, there were two gauges - 1435 mm network and 760mm network. Narrow gauge network serves with interrurban tramways cities around Ostrava, such as Karvina, 40 km far! But this network was abandoned until 1973. Some of tramcars are now in Museum of Brno, however in Depot Poruba (station of lines 3,7,8,9,10,17) are some 1435mm-gauge vehicles from 1920 to 1950. Ostrava was the last city in Czech Republic that operated old two-axle tramways. Last one were withdrawn from service in March 1985.

In general, these vehicles are NOT for public sightseeing. However, if circumstances permit and you speak very nicely to the guard, you may be give permission to go inside the depot. Special official opening can be arranged for groups (visitors are mostly welcomed).

CKD Tatra

The Czech manufacturer CKD Tatra can be contacted as follows:

CKD Tatra a.s.
Chabska ul. No.5
Praha/Prague 5
Czech Republic
CZ-150 08

Phone +420-2-3017771
            -3017774

Please note that CKD Tatra are no longer located at the old address, which was on Plzenska St., Praha 5.



More Czech Tramway Photos

Tramcar No.62

Tramcar No.62 near Hlucin in April 1982, one of last journeys on this route. Similar tramcar No.64 was the last two-axle tramway to be used in Czechoslovakia in regular service.

RT6N1

Prototype of RT6N1 photographed in June 1996 in Praha-Smichov Still with original number 0028. This car is now rarely used in Praha's public transport, although is still property of factory.

T1, No. 5029

Tramcar T1, No. 5029, photographed in March 1982 near central railway station.

T3

Typical look: T3 (but originally T1) photographed in October 1995 in Praha-Kobylisy.

Tramcar No.1615

Tramcar No.1615. property of Brno, rebuilt to T3M type shown during Brno's International Industry Fair in September 1994.

KT4D, No.2

Photo of KT4D, No.2, delivered 1982, in typical german tramway, near main rly.station. Photographed in Goerlitz, 11 May 1997 (Shorter version of K2 tramcar never in service in Czechoslovakia).


Acknowledgement and Postscript

Thanks to Richard Bilek

I found the following email in my archives from Richard, which dates from setting up a webpage on the Czech tramways at he.net using information received from him in the late 1990's:

From agray@***.** Wed Jul 2 02:37:20 1997
Date: Wed, 02 Jul 1997 11:35:22 -0700
From: Richard Bilek <agray@***.**>
Reply-To: agray@***.**
Organization: private use
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.01Gold (Win16; I)
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: netking@he.net
Subject: Welcome at the TramwayParadise
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Hello,
I would like to inform you, that I opened my own webpage. It can be
found at:

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/2003/

Currently, bigger version of my article on your page is here too. If
you want to save space, you can delete it from your page, and put link
towards my page.
Article about slovakian tramways is still under construction. It will
NOT appear on my page, because there will be informations about czech
tramways only.

Happy browsing!

Greetings, Richard Bilek

Note: The link quoted above will not work, as the GeoCities service was shut down on October 26, 2009.

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