Petřín cable car set for major overhaul

Photo: Martina Schneibergová

The cable car at Prague’s Petřín is set to get new wagons while its track will be completely replaced, officials said on Tuesday. The renovation will be carried out over the next four or five years at a tentative cost of CZK 210 million.

During the extensive overhaul the cable car will be out of action for around eight months, the city’s deputy mayor for transport, Adam Scheinherr, and the head of the DPP transport authority, Petr Hloch, said on Tuesday.

The authorities are planning a competition to design new wagons. The cable car has been in operation since 1891 and its current form dates back to the mid-1980s.

One reason the work is needed is that there is subsidence on the slope of Petřín hill. Though it amounts to mere millimetres annually, it is impacting the track and, for instance, loosening the sleepers, said Mr. Hloch.

He said that the subsoil needed to be overhauled and drainage carried out in order to make the slope more stable.

Photo: Kristýna Maková

The cars themselves also have problems. The frames are 90 years old and twisted and cannot be repaired on site. There is also emergency braking on the line and such cars have not been manufactured for six decades, Mr. Hloch said.

The transport chief said that the new system should be in place for 30 to 40 years and that the current wagons just wouldn’t last.

The ropeway and switches will remain the same, meaning that the new cars must be as heavy as the current ones.

However, they will be made of lighter material, thus allowing for the transportation of more passengers, said Deputy Mayor Scheinherr.

The current motor will remain and will only be refurbished. It may look historic but it is already digitally controlled, said Mr. Hloch. What’s more it is listed, so must be retained.

The cable car first went into operation in 1891 on the occasion of the Jubilee Provincial Exhibition in Prague.

Since then it has been out of action for two extended periods. It stopped in 1916 due to World War II and was not used again until 1932.

In 1965 extensive landslides destroyed the track and the cable car did not run again for two whole decades.

At the turn of 2016 it underwent significant renovations.