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The First Electric Tram From Letná to Stromovka. Its Operation Ended 120 Years Ago

Though Prague had horse-drawn streetcars as early as 1875, its first electric tram line was launched on July 18th, 1891 on a route just 800 meters long in the Letná. 

On 18 July 1891, the first Czech electric tram on Letná (Electric Railway on Letná in Prague) was put into operation.

This happened thanks to the leading Czech electrical engineer František Křižík, the famous Czech engineer who had invented the arc lamp.

Intended as a sign of technological prowess, it was launched at a jubilee exhibition marking mark 100 years of Czech industry and invention.

That was the very beginning of public transport in Prague. The first tram lines were owned by private companies and by 1896 there were already 55 km of tracks.

The new technology allowed service to be brought to Prague’s inner and outer suburbs, and the buyout and eventual retirement of the horse-drawn service allowed all future expansions to continue with electrification in mind.

The railway terminated its operation on 15 August 1900, 120 years ago.

Into the 20th century, the Prague Tramway continued to thrive, with the patchwork of private tracks strewn across the city eventually bought up by City Hall and the entire network coming under public ownership and control in 1907.

Today, there are 142.4 km of tram tracks in Prague, with about 52 percent of the tracks running isolated. The rest run along the roads together with the cars.

Trams in Prague carry over 360 million passengers a year. There are more than 930 trams and over 20 daytime routes.

Prazská Tramway, wood-cut illustration of a horse-drawn tram in action, c. 1876, public domain archival image

 

The first electric tram in Prague, Fr. Křižík in front

 

First electric tram in Prague, c. 1891, public domain archival image

 

 

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