Parade of historic trams celebrates 130 years on Prague rails

A procession of historic trams will make its way through Prague tomorrow morning in honor of 130 years of electric trams in the Czech capital.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 17.07.2021 13:12 (updated on 17.07.2021)

The very first electric tram in Prague began its route in the city on July 18, 1891, and a procession of historic vehicles early tomorrow morning will honor 130 years of trams in the Czech capital.

Thirteen historic trams from around the Czech Republic will arrive at the Královka tram stop from around 7:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, July 18, providing a unique opportunity for fans to photograph them together.

From 8:15 a.m., the vehicles will begin their procession towards Letenské náměstí, passing by central Prague locations including Prague Castle, Old Town Square, Karlovo náměstí, and Wenceslas Square. The journey will last about 70 minutes.

The vehicles taking part in the parade will include the oldest serviceable tram in the Czech Republic, a historic no. 18 from Plzeň. It will lead the procession.

Other vehicles taking part in the parade include two historic Ringhoffer models, six Tatras, and two modern Škoda trams.

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The parade route ends near the starting location of the very first electric tram in Prague 130 years ago.

Prague's first electric tram was developed by famed inventor and electrical engineer František Křižík, nicknamed the "Czech Edison" for his pioneering use of electricity and numerous inventions.

Křižík began developing the electric tram in 1890, and had already started construction on the new railway by the time he was granted the necessary permits in May, 1891. Just two months later, his tram took off on its first journey.

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Prague's first electric tram line was located at the top of Letná Hill, near the location of the upper stop on the city's former cable car up the hill, and ran for just 800 meters.

Today, the area contains one of the city's more popular beer gardens. But a tiny piece of the railway that carried Prague's first electric tram has been preserved in Letná Park, and is marked by a small plaque.

Tracks for the first electric tram. via Raymond Johnston
Tracks for the first electric tram. via Raymond Johnston

Read more about the tramway, and other interesting tips in the area, in our piece on Prague uncovered: Letná park, from Stalin to the Blob and beyond.

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One special Prague tram won't feature in the parade procession, but you might be able to see it for the last time in the Czech capital this weekend.

A modified no. 11 tram, outfitted with wheels for filming purposes, has been used during the shooting of the Netflix blockbuster The Gray Man in Prague over the past two weeks.

Over that span, it has picked up bullet holes, broken windows, and extensive burn damage. By the time filming wraps next week, it might be completely destroyed.

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