Friday, June 24, 2022

Trains and trams in Prague

 It is nice to blog about something Train related for the first time in a while. Today I am checking out regional trains, subway trains, trams and train museums in Prague!

With Covid-19 restrictions I have been unable to travel outside Australia from March 2020 until April 2022. Over two years!

In addition, the popular train routes in Australia between states during that period were mostly stopped due to state border controls limiting non-essential travel during Covid.

In May 2022, with travel outside Australia now permitted, and Europe restrictions mostly removed, I was requested to do a business trip to Prague, Czech Republic.

It was my first time to travel to Prague, and my first international travel since mid-2019, before Covid-19 took hold. It is a 32 hour flight from Australia to Prague, and as expected it was very long indeed.

With a high degree of caution though, I successfully completed the trip with no covid-19 infection! 

That said, on the flight over and back, I travelled much closer to the active war right now in Ukraine than I expected to be flying, which was quite concerning at the time...

Although nearly all of the trip was strictly business, I had a weekend off in between two weeks of work, where I was able to spend some time to explore Prague and ride some of the trains and trams!

Before I begin on that, I have written many other blog entries here about trains and train journeys over the years, covering trains in Australia, Japan, US and now Czech Republic. 

Here are some on this blog to get you started (there are many others too), if you are interested to see even more amazing trains:


A-Train and Sakura Shinkansen

Riding the Test Linear Maglev Shinkansen

Seven Stars In Kyushu Luxury Train Day 1

Seven Stars in Kyushu Luxury Train Days 2-4

Nagoya SC Maglev and Railway Park

Tokyo to Hakata trains

Sunrise Seto Night Train trip to Takamatsu and Naoshima

Kyushu Shinkansen and Steam Locomotive Hitoyoshi

Seikan Tunnel, Tohoku Emotion and Hayabusa Gran Class Trains

Train trips to Otaru and Hakodate

Hokuriku Shinkansen and Setsugekka Trains

Cassiopeia trip from Tokyo to Sapporo

Takamatsu to Matsuyama and return to Tokyo train trip



Indian Pacific train from Adelaide to Sydney

Melbourne Puffing Billy Steam and Metro Trains

Overland Train from Adelaide to Melbourne

Steamranger Steamfest in Adelaide Hills

RedHen train and Peronne Steam in Adelaide

The Ghan train trip from Adelaide to Alice Springs


California State National Railway Museum in Sacramento

Ok, back to Czech Republic now!

I wasn't sure what to expect of Prague, but it is a beautiful city, with some lovely old town areas and some great trains and trams to look at! My first tram I saw in Prague was this one:

Keen to explore, I checked out the tram stops and tried to work out how to ride them.

As a local you can use your smartphone with a Czech language only app to buy a ticket, with no need to validate. If you are a foreigner like me though, you need to buy a paper ticket.

You can buy tickets valid for a few hours, a day, or 3 day tickets. This is a 30 Koruna ticket, valid for a few hours travel, on trams and subway trains in Prague.

The clock starts ticking on first validation. You only need to validate once, not every time you board.

While mucking around getting a ticket, I could take a look at some of the variations of trams running in Prague:

There is a nice combination of modern and classic old trams running:

I rode this one running on Tram line 14, which looks in-between modern and old:

In Czech Republic they drive on the right side, and so the trams reflect this running also. Coming from Australia where everything is on the left, it takes a little time to adjust to being on the wrong side of the road to board and looking the other way to avoid cars!

Being spring time in Prague, the weather was fantastic throughout my trip. I took this tram to go to a business dinner at a nice hotel (I was not staying there). 

This allowed me to see some stunning views across the Prague skyline and watch the local and international trains coming into and out of Prague.

Some of the trains appear to be double deck style:

It makes for a lovely photo watching the trains crossing the river that snakes around Prague.

For me, my favourite moment while up there was seeing the trains coming into Prague via the tunnel. The city scape and telecommunications tower provided a wonderful backdrop to the arriving trains:

Sunset over Prague - yep, looks amazing:

I then caught the Line 14 Tram later in the evening back to my hotel. Here is the screens in the Line 14 tram showing the route and stations:

Moving on to another day, I wanted to explore the Prague subway system during my weekend off. I went to Nadrazi Holesovice subway station.

I need to get another ticket which meant fighting with the ticket machine which didn't accept my card multiple times, before finally deciding it would..luckily the ticket machines can be used in English.

Nadrazi Holesovice subway and station signage - an island platform with two tracks:

The line information was important to help me find where I needed to transfer to other lines - there are three subway lines in Prague, A, B, and C with different colours. This station is on the red C line.

The subway train arrives, ready to board to go and explore Old town Prague!

The subway maps for the three lines displayed in the train itself was very useful.

Getting out at Muzeum station, I could explore the area around the Prague Museum, which is very nice, and full of shops.

They also have two old Prague trams converted into a cafe on the median strip separating the road:

Food prices in Prague are very reasonable. Here is the second tram used for the cafe.

Exploring further into old town I saw the markets and beautiful astrological clock tower in the central old town area.

I then boarded the train to meet up with a work colleague after lunch. He had offered to take me to a local train museum in Luzna u Rakovnik, a local town well outside Prague, to experience some of the Czech Republic intrastate train services and see the old steams trains they used to run, some still used for local trips!

There is a small museum in Prague itself in the transport museum, but it has nothing like the collection on display at this local CD museum.

You can catch a train to the museum there, but due to our hectic schedule for the afternoon, we drove out an hour to the museum to start off, with plenty of train trips planned after the museum visit.

Stations outside Prague are quite different. 

This is Luzna u Rakovnika station, which is next to the railway museum we are going to visit today.

I like the look of these station buildings, reminds me of the older railway stations in Australia too.

Platform side. When I say platform though, there is no platforms as such. You walk across the railway lines to catch your train!

Another view of the "platform" side:

Next to it is an old disused ticket office building I presume...

Coming into the railway museum, I got this museum information pamphlet (Czech language only)

I was taken by surprise how beautifully maintained these old trains are:

Closer view:

Here is a still functional small steam locomotive used for shunting (I was told) around the railway yards.

A static display steam train:

Beyond this is a turntable and Roundhouse for storing still working rolling stock:

These trains are so well maintained here - they look new!

Particularly striking is this USSR era steam train, one of several functioning steam trains at the museum.

The original plan for the day was we would be riding a steam train ride from the museum a few stations and return.

Unfortunately (like in Australia), when the weather is considered too hot, the steam trains don't run and they use diesel trains instead. And so it was today, I couldn't ride one. Sad.

On the positive side, they don't care here if you jump onto many of the trains to look around, so I couldn't resist the opportunity!

Here is the cab view from the steam train I showed above:

The boiler:

Continuing to look around the turntable/roundhouse area of the museum, there are many interesting trains still to see.

They have some seriously huge steam locomotives here in the roundhouse, most in operational condition.

This one is called "Stokr":

Sadly the museum is very local and has no english pamphlets or translations available. Czech language only, and I don't read or speak Czech. I guess they don't get many foreigners here, given how local the area is.

Love the striking red highlights on the locomotive.

They also have some beautiful Blue steam locomotive trains, and this one, called "Albatros" has the largest boiler and wheels I have ever seen on a steam locomotive!

Side view, showing the huge boiler and the tiny cab at the rear!

Here is inside the cab - I can't imagine how hard it was to see out of this thing!

Another blue coloured steam train is next to it, also quite impressive:

I would love to tell you all about these steam trains, but as the information was all in Czech, I had to just enjoy them for what they are - please enjoy the photos!

The roundhouse was really fun to explore.

Exploring around the turntable, there is many other trains on display;

Being able to see so many beautifully maintained trains in one place is truly wonderful for a train fan like myself.

Also to one side is some old freight wagons, and an older passenger train carriage which has a cafe in it.

Prague's love of beer is well known, and so many good beers to choose from. Given it was a hot day, it was a good moment to sit in the passenger carriage and relax for a bit.

Here is the inside of the cafe passenger carriage:

I would love to experience a longer train trip on a train with a restaurant or cafe, but it was not possible in the time I had available.

Beer downed, and feeling much cooler, I had a look at another, more modern, shunting train onsite:

Inside one of the buildings is a display of various railway switching mechanisms, memorabilia, and also this Model railway Diorama, featuring various Czech model trains:

When I first saw the switch box below, I was surprised - first by how small it was compared to UK/Australian ones, and secondly, this was still fully functional and used for the museum!

This switching looks so much easier to use than the Australian equivalents...

At this point, we need to leave the museum, but not before I bought some souvenirs from the shops of course! A coffee mug, more train magnets for the fridge, stickers, coins and train coaster.

Close cup of the mug, featuring a Czech train wrapped around the mug. Happy to say it survived the long trip back to Australia.

We went to the railway station next to the museum to catch the first of a few local trains we would be riding this afternoon.

As we got there, there was this very small two car train arrived at the station, awaiting departure. Here is it is on the "platform" with a passenger about to board it.

I just couldn't imagine a "platform" like this in Australia. We would have flashing lights, security fences, automated gates, loud speaker announcements and a bunch of other health and safety stuff!

Here though, the train rolls up, you walk across the tracks and enter the train...they assume people are not stupid enough to walk in front of trains while moving. We could learn something from that.

Our first train, an Arriva regional train from Prague arrived. We will ride this train today.

You can see people just cross the tracks with absolutely zero safety controls to board the trains. Still can't get over it.

Once on board, I took a look around - this is a very modern train, with a tracking screen and information screens, fold out tables and power points for charging.

As you can see, we are only going to travel one station on this train, to the final stop on this particular line.

The views of the local fields in full bloom was a lovely view from the train:

We soon arrived at the next station Rakovnik, and exited the Arriva for our next train!

The "platforms" here were a little better than the dirt mounds on the previous station, but still no safety controls at all.

Rakovnik station is quite nice, and the style is a little different to the one we were just at.

The departure screens are very small and you do need to check carefully as the "platforms" are not numbered or anything. They assume you can work it out yourself apparently.

Our next train is an older single car train, which makes it clear we are going even more rural with the next part of our train trips today:

After a short journey we arrived at the very small station of Senomaty:

Because of the decision not to run the steam train on the line back to the museum today, we decided to choose a shorter section to ride the old carriages on, since it would not be steam hauled.

Hence why we got off here at Senomaty, and waited for the museum bound train to arrive at the station.

We didn't wait long at all - and soon we were onboard. Given it was an intermediate stop and we had only a few seconds to board, I didn't get a photo of it arriving - sorry!

Inside the passenger carriages, there is a mix of standard class and first class carriages. We got into the standard class carriage, and the carriages (like at the museum) are beautifully maintained - these are all wooden inside.

Like older Australian carriages, the windows use a strap to lower and raise the windows, and you can feel the spring air hit your face and look out the windows and enjoy the wonderful scenery.

The scenery was very beautiful. Perfect timing for canola crop flowering:

So nice to see the vivid colours from the train windows as we pass by.

With the ride back to the museum over, we exited the train, which gave me an opportunity to grab some photos of the full train from the ..ummm.. platform:

Don't think I can ever get used to passengers entering/leaving trains like this!

I was so glad to ride a number of trains in regional Czech republic today. However, I needed to get bak to Prague as I only had the day.

I caught the Arriva train back to Prague's main regional train station:

Getting back on a modern train again was quite a contrast from the trains I had ridden today!

It takes an hour and half to get from the Luzna U Rakovnik station to Praha (Prague).

Time to relax and enjoy the wonderful thing that is train travel. It is really, the best way to travel. With views like this, why would you do anything else?

As the train was pretty empty in the early parts of the trip, I took some photos of the carriage I was in - I noticed that there are bike racks and plenty of passengers used these as they boarded during my journey back to Prague.

The carriages are light and airy, seats are comfortable enough.

Coming back in to Prague, the views of the river from the train are fantastic.

Back in Prague old town area now, and real platforms!

Here is a train next to mine as I arrived. It is large double decker train I photographed earlier in this blog entry, arriving into Prague.

In the UK, at the station they say "Mind the gap" to warn passengers about the (small) gap between the train doors and the platform edge.

In Prague they say nothing, and the gap is huge. Disability friendly this is not.

It is good to be back in Prague again, and being in the station gave me the opportunity to look around the platforms before I left the area. Here you can see three different trains waiting on the platforms.

Prague makes some beautiful buildings, but these platforms are extremely basic for such a station.

Outside the station, it looks nice enough, but with parts under construction I couldn't see all of the outside.

I walked to the nearby Namesti Republiky subway station to take the subway (a different line this time) back to my start point.

These escalators took my breath away when I got on them to go down to the platforms - they ran so fast! 

Down at platform level, they have a large passenger area which indicates that this station obviously gets quite busy - luckily for me, not at this time.

I plan to travel on this B line a short distance and transfer to the C line to return back to the start point of today.

Some signage at the concourse area.

Platform side now - I like the different patterns they use on the walls of the subway stations in Prague.

The train is arriving:

I got off at Florenc (no 'e') station to transfer subway lines.

Muzeum station also has another unique pattern on the subway platform walls:

I really enjoyed Prague, the scenery and buildings are amazing - it is well worth seeing it.

I hope you enjoyed my first train blog entry for some time - I hope to do more in the future as I get to travel again!

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