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Scheme of tram tracks in Prague in 2008
Prague tram
The Praguemarker tram (streetcar) system is the largest tram system in the Czech Republicmarker, consisting of 140 kilometres of track, over 900 tram cars, and 34 lines with a total route length of 540 km. It is operated by Dopravní podnik hlavního města Prahy a.s., a company owned by the City of Prague. The system served 356 million passengers in 2008. The first horsecar tram line was opened in 1875, the first electric tram ran in 1891.

Prague trams today

As of September 2008 Prague tram network includes:
  • 25 day routes (numbered 1 to 22, 24 to 26),
  • 9 night routes (numbered 51 to 59) and
  • 1 historical route, number 91 (in service between April and October).
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

Night Trams operate between midnight and 5:00 or 6:00. Apart from two lines, their routes are distinct from the day network. 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.

History

Horse tram

Horse tram in Prague
The horsecar trams started to operate on September 23 1875 along the route Karlínmarker - National Theatermarker. The owner and the entrepreneur of this road was Eduard Otlet, from Belgiummarker. 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 Smíchovmarker Railway Station. In 1882 the network was extended to Vinohradymarker and Žižkovmarker. 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

The "nostalgic tram" no. 91 runs through the city centre
In 1891 the first electric tram line was opened in Letnámarker, 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 Florencmarker to Libeňmarker and Vysočany, joining the industrial suburbs of Prague with its residential area in a 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 Smíchovmarker to Košířemarker. 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 městomarker (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 the this, construction of new track started along with electrification of the existing tracks.

Early 20th century

In the early 1900s, 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

The coming of war conflict with the fast pace, elaborated new strains to the network. In favor of earlier-coming sanitation trains from a war frontier, sanitation trams were rebuilt too. The lack of horse wagons – then the transportation problems in metropolis construction – by itself, it forced the imposition of such tram elaborations as transporting the warfare and fuel, raw materials, and food. During the war, the product of ammunition, warfare should go for every price with an increasing demand, It came also to the melting of trams and falls in capacities (the melted trams were used to produce grenades and bombshells, etc). This situation ended by the year of 1918, by signing the Peace Treaty noted as Czechoslovak Republic.

First republic

Again, the tram network underwent expansion, mainly to the newly built quarters of the expanded metropolitan Prague, such as Dejvicemarker, Nuslemarker or Žižkovmarker. 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.

Interesting facts

At 20:00 night trams begin their work. It helps to replace the day trams which are already coming to depots, and then work with the rest of day trams. About midnight whenever a tram arrives to its terminals, it changes its route designators to (51-59), and works already as a night tram.

Rolling stock

As of May 2008, there are the following tram cars of the property of Prague Tram Rolling stock:

Image Tram Car Type Modifications and subtypes Board numbers Depot Allocations
Tatra T3 Tatra T3, Tatra T3SUCS, Tatra T3M, Tatra T3M.2-DVC, Tatra T3R.P, Tatra T3R.PV, Tatra T3R.PLF *T3 67xx-69xx *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
Tatra KT8D5 Tatra KT8D5, Tatra KT8D5R.N2P (23 trams modernized till May 2008 ) 9001-9048 non-modernized (without 9006 - damaged), 9051-9098 modernized. When a tram gets modernized 50 is added to its board nuber Hloubětín
Tatra T6A5 Tatra T6A5, Tatra T6A5.3 (Only one tram is listed in property) 8600-8750 Motol, Strašnice, Žižkov
Škoda 14 T Škoda 14 T 9111-9170 Motol, Hloubětín
Škoda 15 T ForCity Škoda 15 T No. 9200-9500 on test rides; in future probably Pankrác and Kobylisy


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