Prague's Negrelli Viaduct to see train traffic in mid 2020, shops will eventually open in its arches

The viaduct will create smoother train traffic, and the area under it will revitalize the neighborhood

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 09.10.2019 12:00:11 (updated on 09.10.2019) Reading time: 2 minutes

The arched railway bridge linking Prague’s Karlín and Holešovice districts will come back to life June 1, 2020 when train traffic begins.

Repairs to the
Negrelli Viaduct (Negrelliho viadukt) began in 2017, after five years
of preparation, and will cost some 1.44 billion CZK to repair 1.5
kilometers. Work being done by the Railway Infrastructure
Administration (SŽDC) includes complete replacement of the
superstructure, 3.3 kilometers of rails (in two directions), and
obsolete signal equipment.

Trains will be able to travel at up to 60 km/hour, which will significantly speed train traffic to and from the city.

Negrelli Viaduct in Prague 8 via Raymond Johnston
Steel bridge span on the Negrelli Viaduct in Prague 8. via Raymond Johnston

All 99 arches have
been repaired, including eight that cross the Vltava river.
Reconstruction work on the vaults was more extensive than originally
planned. Two steel bridges have also been completed. The arches over
the Vltava are made of granite, while the others are sandstone or a
combination of brick and sandstone.

The structure is a
protected landmark, so the restoration had to maintain the original
look and preserve as much of the original material as possible. An
elevated service house and a sluice gate were preserved.

AGENCY PROPERTIES

The SŽDC has also
placed new anti-vibration mats on the viaduct to reduce the noise of
passing trains. These prevent the transmission of vibration to the
structure itself, and makes for more comfortable and quieter trains.

Negrelli Viaduct
Gatehouse on Negrelli Viaduct. via Raymond Johnston

Work on the stone
lining of the bridge is almost complete. “The masonry and finishing
work is still in progress. For us, the goal is to complete the
load-bearing structure in order to allow the installation of gravel
and subsequently a grating. Of course, work under the bridge will
continue, basically until the end of next year,” SŽDC’s Ondřej
Göpfert said.

The original start date for train traffic was set for at the beginning of 2020, but work went slower than planned due to the poor condition of the arches.

Cafes, shops, and do-it-yourself workshops are expected to be among the tenants. The idea is to make something similar to what will open up in the renovated cubicles at Náplavka or the public spaces in Kasárna Karlín. The space under the arches was previously used for parking. A new square will also be created in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood.

Negrelli Viaduct
Negrelli Viaduct arches being repaired in June. via Raymond Johnston

The arches under the
viaduct are being set up with infrastructure so they can be used for
commercial purposes in the future. This will be handled by City Hall
and the city districts, not the SŽDC.

Repairs were planned
to start in 2010 but had been delayed several times for financial
reasons.

The Negrelli Viaduct
was built between 1846 and 1849, and trains began to run on it in the
summer of 1850. It connects Masarykovo nádraží and Bubny, on the
opposite side of the Vltava.

Negrelli Viaduct
Visualization of Negrelli Viaduct. via Praha.EU

At 1,110 meters it
was the longest bridge of its kind in Europe until 1910. It is
currently the longest railroad bridge and the third-longest bridge in
the Czech Republic. It was designed by engineer Alois Negrelli, for
whom it is named.

It is Prague’s first railway bridge and Prague’s second-oldest bridge of any kind across the Vltava, after Charles Bridge, which dates to the 14th century.

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