Prague marks 135th anniversary of construction of Vinohrady railway tunnel
The 1860s and 1870s saw a boom of railway construction in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the city of Prague was no exception. 135 years ago this week, the first train went through a newly built railway tunnel which actually runs right underneath the Czech Radio building here in the Prague district of Vinohrady. On the day of the anniversary, a historic train complete with a steam engine went in the same route to mark the occasion.
On September 19th, 1871, the Vinohrady tunnel, over a kilometre long, connected Prague with the world. Its history is closely connected to the Vinohrady district and Prague 2 municipality where it is situated. Michal Basch is the mayor of Prague 2.
"The original station Kralovske Vinohrady which in translation means 'royal vineyard' was at the other end of the tunnel. It was a station where only the local trains stopped, not express trains and so on. But then it had to be torn down because it was in the direction of the second tunnel which was built. There are three now. But the second went just through that building. So it was torn down, another building was erected again in place of that Royal Vineyard station. The building stand there but the trains don't stop there for about 20 years now."
A third tunnel, parallel with the first two, was finished just 17 years ago even though digging started during the Nazi occupation. The nearby Main Railway Station is now about to undergo thorough reconstruction which should turn it into a public transport facility for the 21st century.