Feb 11, 2024

Prague Bids Farewell to Classic, Short Trams

Sian Bradley

Sian Bradley

Prague’s beloved short trams are set to become a rarity as the city embarks on a major tram fleet upgrade.

The recent order of 40 Škoda ForCity Plus 52T trams, with an option for 160 more, marks a significant step towards a complete generational renewal.

While these modern trams boast improved comfort and accessibility, they also spell the end of the era of classic solo cars like the Škoda 14T and the iconic T3 design.

Jan Šurovský, Prague’s transport company’s technical director for surface transport, explains that the new trams won’t come in a shorter version due to various reasons.

Instead, the need for shorter trams on less busy lines will be addressed by modernizing the existing T3 trams for night operation.

This modernization project involves purchasing 65 more facelifted cars for the existing fleet, with each tram costing around CZK 10 million.

The new Škoda ForCity Plus trams also address the long-standing issue of track wear and tear caused by older tram designs.

Unlike the 14T trams with their unique wheel design and higher axle load, the 52T features conventional swivel bogies at the edges and non-rotating bogies in the middle, offering a more sustainable solution for Prague’s track infrastructure.

One notable feature missing from the new trams is air conditioning, which was initially planned for the first series of Škoda 15T trams delivered in the last decade.

However, due to unresolved contractual issues and the lack of a clear cost-benefit analysis, adding air conditioning to these trams remains uncertain.

The first Škoda ForCity Plus 52T trams are expected to arrive in Prague within a year for testing and homologation purposes. If all goes well, passengers can expect to see them rolling on the city’s streets soon after.

This generational shift in Prague’s tram fleet means not only an upgrade in technology and passenger comfort but also a farewell to a part of the city’s identity.

While the classic trams may be fading away, they leave behind a legacy of charm and nostalgia that will continue to hold a special place in the hearts of Praguers and visitors alike.

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