Trains will return to the Czech Republic's longest railway bridge next week

The second-oldest bridge in the Czech capital will see train service restart from early next week

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 29.05.2020 13:44:45 (updated on 29.05.2020) Reading time: 4 minutes

Trains will return to the repaired Negrelli Viaduct (Negrelliho viadukt) in Prague after three years of repair work.

Service from Prague to Kralupy nad Vltavou and Ústí nad Labem, as well as express lines from Prague to Kladno will return to their original routes. Timetables will change as the route stops and times are different. Trains using the viaduct will no longer stop at the Praha-Holešovice station or new Praha-Bubny stop near Vltavská.

“From the first day of resumption of operation on the Negrelli Viaduct, that is from Monday, June 1, we plan to return to the original train routes on the S4 lines to Kralupy nad Vltavou and Ústí nad Labem, as well as on the S5 and R45 lines from Prague to Kladno,” Jakub Goliáš, České dráhy’s regional business director for Prague and the Central Bohemia, said in a press release.

Negrelli Viaduct crossing the Vltava / via Raymond Johnston

“Passengers from Kralupy can thus travel up to seven minutes faster by passenger train thanks to a shorter route to Prague’s center at Masarykovo nádraží, and above all these connections avoid the heavily used track junction in the Balabenka area. Transport should be smoother and more reliable. Passenger and express trains of the S5 and R45 lines from Kladno will also head directly to the center without changing,” he added.

The trains on the S4 line, as it did two and a half years ago, will run from Podbaba to the original Prague-Holešovice stop and avoid the new Holešovice railway station. Express trains from Děčín and Ústí nad Labem (line R20) will continue to go to the new station and will go on to Prague’s main railway station, Hlavní nádraží.

On lines S5 and R45 to Kladno, the Prague-Bubny Vltavská stop will be canceled. The trains will stop again a 250 meters further away at the original Prague-Bubny railway station and will continue directly to the center via the Negrelli viaduct to Masarykovo nádraží.

Prague transport organizer Ropid has faced some backlash on social media, as passengers prefer the new Bubny stop, which is much closer to the metro. They say the new Bubny Vltavská stop was supposed to have been permanent.

“Unfortunately, maintaining the stop closer to the Vltavská metro station is now ruled out because trains will continue through the switches to the Negrelli viaduct, meaning they must stop in front of the departure signals, which are located at the Prague-Bubny station about 250 meters further north than the temporary platform at the blind track,” Prague Integrated Transit (PID) said on Facebook.

“As part of the modernization of the line in the direction of Kladno, a new Prague-Bubny station is, of course, being prepared, which will have separate platforms for the line to Kladno and Kralupy and will be as close as possible to the entrance to the Vltavská metro station, generally where there was a temporary stop,” PID added.

Negrelli Viaduct
Negrelli Viaduct arches being repaired in June 2019. via Raymond Johnston

Repairs to the Negrelli Viaduct began in 2017, after five years of preparation. Work by the Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) includes complete replacement of the superstructure, 3.3 kilometers of rails (in two directions), and obsolete signal equipment. Repairs had been planned to start in 2010 but were delayed several times for financial reasons.

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

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.

Negrelli Viaduct in Prague on May 29. 2020 via Lucas Nemec
Negrelli Viaduct in Prague on May 29. 2020 via Lucas Nemec

The repaired viaduct is expected to help revitalize the area underneath it. Cafes, shops, and do-it-yourself workshops are expected to be among the tenants of the spaces in the viaduct’s arches. The idea is to make something similar to what will open up in the renovated cubicles at Náplavka. A new square will also be created in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood.

The Negrelli Viaduct was built in184–49, 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.

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.

Negrelli Viaduct.
Visualization of Negrelli Viaduct with renovated cubicles. via Praha.EU

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.

Reconstruction of the historic Negrelli viaduct began three years ago. The total investment costs for the repair eventually climbed to 1.9 billion crowns. According to the Railway Administration, the repair will help increase the flow of traffic and increase the number of trains dispatched. Once opened, the viaduct will be the first completed section of track to the airport.

The Negrelli Viaduct is the first railway bridge in Prague across the Vltava and the second oldest standing bridge in Prague. It connects Masaryk railway station via the island of Štvanice with Bubny. The 1100-meter-long building, which was put into operation at the beginning of June 1850, is a protected monument. It is named after the builder Alois Negrelli.

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