One-of-a-kind 1960s locomotive heads for National Technical Museum

Velká laminátka (Great Laminate)

A unique prototype locomotive created in the 1960s set off at the weekend from Plzeň train station for Chomutov, where it was placed in the town’s railway depositary and will join the collection of the National Technical Museum.

Velká laminátka  (Great Laminate) | Photo: Techmania Science Center

The red, white and black S699.001 was produced by Škoda Plzeň in 1963 and bears the nickname Velká laminátka (Great Laminate). Only one of the engines was ever actually made.

When it was being transported to its new home on Saturday the electric locomotive – which is included on the country’s list of valuable cultural historical artefacts – was pulled by a special train at reduced speed.

It had previously been held at the Techmania Science Centre in Plzeň and was last week moved to the West Bohemian city’s Czech Railways depot to be inspected and readied for the journey.

Velká laminátka  (Great Laminate) | Photo: Techmania Science Center

A spokesperson for National Technical Museum, Jan Duda, said that the engine was the largest and heaviest machine of its kind ever created for rail service on the territory of today’s Czech Republic.

Mr. Duda said that the S699.001 locomotive that was now being purchased for the National Technical Museum was another in a series of successful acquisitions by the institution.

This year the NTM has enriched its collections with dozens of rolling stock, unique vehicles that reflected the railway network’s history and present in this part of the world, he told the Czech News Agency.

The “Great Laminate” will find a new home in the Chomutov railway depository in the north of the country, where it will be exhibited to visitors in the coming years during seasonal opening.

Velká laminátka  (Great Laminate) | Photo: Techmania Science Center

However it will then move to a more prominent location: After the completion of a permanent exposition of the NTM’s Museum of Railway and Electrical Engineering at Prague’s Masaryk Station it will be displayed there.

In addition, the one-of-a-kind engine may also travel occasionally to be displayed on a temporary basis in other parts of the country, Mr. Duda said.

The NTM spokesperson described the S699.001 as a pioneer from the period when alternating electric traction, which soon dominated the entire country, was first developed on Czechoslovakia’s rail network.

It is also extremely valuable due to is iconic design by Otakar Diblík, who made use of a new and largely untested material, laminated glass, and in so doing literally made the locomotive a work of art, Mr. Duda said.

Author: Ian Willoughby