Chomutov railway depository shows off collection to public

Chomutov railway depository, photo: Jan Beneš

Around one hundred historical trains, including a mid-19th century steam locomotive, have been placed on display to the public at a locomotive depot in the northern Czech town of Chomutov. It is the first time the collection has been open to the public for an extended season.

Chomutov railway depository,  photo: Jan Beneš
The exhibition comes courtesy of the Czech Technical Museum, based in Prague, which administers the country’s largest collection of historical rail vehicles. The rolling stock on display is based in the Chomutov railroad depository, a former train station, which now serves as depot for The National Technical Museum. The collection includes a steam train from 1870 all the way up to a snow plough from the 1980s. The trains come from both the former Czechoslovak State Railways (Československé státní dráhy) and the previous Imperial-Royal State Railways (KKStb) of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Karel Ksandr, head of the Czech Technical Museum, told Czech Radio that the exhibition offered visitors the chance to see countless unique trains:

Chomutov railway depository,  photo: Jan Beneš
“I think that there are around one-hundred rail vehicles on display to the public, and it is really one pearl next to another. For example, we have the Albatross, a locomotive which in 1964 managed to set a speed record at a circuit in Velim.”

That train is formally known as the “Lokomotiva 498.1”. Built in 1954, ten years later it achieved a speed of 162 km/h at a test circuit east of Prague near the town of Kolín, which is still in operation to this day.

Ksandr also explained how such a collection ended up in Chomutov:

“In 2012, the National Technical Museum acquired the former Czech Railways depot which existed here. Because obviously the 146 railways vehicles in our possession need to be stored somewhere, and so that is what we managed to do here in Chomutov.”

Chomutov railway depository,  photo: Jan Beneš
Trains are restored and refurbished at the depot in Chomutov before being placed on permanent display at the Czech Railways Museum in nearby Lužná near Rakovník. And not only can visitors peruse the depot’s collection, but every Sunday up to the end of August, visitors will be able to board a historical motor coach which travels from Chomutov to the museum at Lužná near Rakovník. Trains depart Chomutov at 1448 and arrive just over an hour later in Lužná near Rakovník, with stops at Žatec and Krupá. A morning service runs the other way leaving at 1050.

The depot is open to the public from Thursdays till Sundays right through to October. Chomutov mayor Marek Hrabáč, expressed his delight that the depot has helped to attract new visitors to his town:

“I am naturally very glad that Chomutov has gained such a tourist attraction.”