May 09, 2024

May 9th, 1974: Prague Metro Celebrates 50 Years Today!

The Prague Metro turns 50 today! On May 9th, 1974, the first section of Line C, stretching 6.6 kilometers with 9 stations, opened its doors to the public.

Today, the network boasts a tenfold increase, with 61 stations spanning the bustling Czech capital.

The concept of a Prague subway dates back surprisingly far – 1898, to be exact. Ladislav Rott, a visionary engineer, presented a proposal to the city’s electricity company. Unfortunately, the idea wasn’t embraced at the time.

Another proposal in 1926, by Bohumil Belada and Vladimír List, was the first to use the term “Metro”, and though it was not accepted either, it served as an impulse for moving towards a real solution of the rapidly developing transport in Prague.

In the early 1960s the concept of the sub-surface tramway was finally accepted and on 9 August 1967 the building of the first station (Hlavní nádraží) started. However, in the same year, a substantial change in the concept came, as the government, under the influence of Soviet advisers, decided to build a true metro system instead of an underground tramway.

Fast forward to 1966, and the groundwork finally began. Construction took nearly a decade, culminating in the 1974 launch of Line C. Four years later, Line A followed suit, and Line B completed the network in 1985.

Naming these stations proved to be a challenge. While current practices prioritize location, pre-1990 stations served as political propaganda.

Passengers searching for “Moskevská” (Moscow) on Line B would have found themselves at today’s “Anděl” instead. Similarly, “Gottwaldova” became “Vyšehrad” on Line C, and “Budovatelů” (Builders) received the grand title of “Chodov”.

Festivities will take place on May 9th, with the Centre for Architecture and Urban Planning (CAMP) hosting film screenings and lectures exploring the Prague Metro’s past and present from 1 PM to 9 PM.

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Construction of green line A

In 1978, the first section of line A opened with seven stations between Leninova (now Dejvická) and Náměstí míru with a transfer station at Muzeum. While all stations on Line C were built using the cut-and-cover method, line A used drilling technology. Line A is located deep underground so that the foundations of the houses would not be damaged. With a depth of 52 m, Náměstí míru is the deepest metro station in Prague and has the longest escalator in the network.

Construction yellow line B

In 1985, the first section of Line B opened with seven stations from Smíchovské nádraží to Sokolovská (now Florenc). Between the stations Hůrka and Lužiny, the metro train runs through a closed metal tube with double track, a length of 375 meters and 17 meters above the ground. An interesting detail is the gradually increasing number of windows which prevent drivers from being blinded as the metro enters the tunnel. From then on, the metro network has three transfer stations Můstek to line A and Sokolovská (now Florenc) to C and Muzeum to lines A and C.

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