Looking for a special treat? Rent a veteran tram for a ride through Prague

While daily commuters in Prague want a comfortable and fast ride to work, veteran tram enthusiasts saviour the feeling of getting on one of the old open, wooden trams for a nostalgic ride through Prague. With that in mind, Prague City Transport invests not only into modern technology, but into maintaining some of the city’s veterans which are brought out on special occasions.

Photo: Tomáš Maleček,  Czech Radio

The red K2 tram went on its first tour of Prague close to half a century after leaving the factory gates of CKD Praha in 1977. It was selected for Bratislava where it served in training drivers up until 2009. After that, it stood forgotten in the Krasňany depot in the Slovak capital.

Two years ago, the Prague Transport Company bought it from Slovakia for 1,000 euros, i.e. less than 25,000 crowns, giving it a new lease on life. The K2 then spent more than a year in Brno's Medlánky depot, where the transport company renovated it for 9.5 million crowns.

Photo: Tomáš Maleček,  Czech Radio

Last Sunday it was taken out for its first-ever ride through Prague taking passengers on a nostalgic tour of the city.  Jan Šurovský, the technical head of the transport company, had the privilege of being in the driver’s seat.

“Right now we're going at 20 kilometres per hour because we're passing a tram stop. The tram can travel at around 60 kilometres per hour, but you only accelerate to that speed on a longer, flat terrain, certainly not uphill. By the way, not every tram driver can drive a veteran. There is a special course for that and you must get a license to drive the so-called two-axle trams, which are those old open, wooden trams."

The K2 is now in very good condition. However, its renovation in Brno took 14 months and was much more than just a facelift. It was taken apart down to the chassis and put back together again, using  the original pieces.

Photo: Tomáš Maleček,  Czech Radio

The interior and the driver's cabin have also been renovated according to the original design. Drivers will also find modern elements, but these are hidden so as not to spoil the original appearance of the tram.

These old Prague trams take to the road several times a year on special occasions. But if you want them to yourself or a special party at the time of your choosing it is possible to hire a veteran for a ride of one or more hours through old Prague, cutting across Wenceslas Square, past the National Theatre and Prague Castle. The ride starts and ends in the Stresovice depot. The cost for one hour is just under 5,000 crowns.

For a cheaper thrill you can visit the Museum of Public Transport. The permanent exposition, opened in May 1993 by the Prague Transport Company, showcases more than forty historical vehicles and many other exhibits – tram models, photographs, historical documents, tickets, plans, etc.

Photo: Tomáš Maleček,  Czech Radio
Authors: Daniela Lazarová , Tomáš Maleček
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