I have written previously about the wonderful integrated public transport system that we enjoy here in Prague. And it is also extremely pleasing to see money being put in to both upgrade and extend it. However, when this happens, the network inevitably gets disrupted whilst these engineering works take place.
In order to get into the centre of Prague, we normally make the ten minute walk from the Chaplaincy Flat, to our nearest tram stop at Podbaba. From there we catch Tram 8, which in less than twenty minutes takes us to Dlouhá trída, two minutes walk from St. Clement’s Church. We can also get off at the third stop from Podbaba at Vítezné námestí and either catch another tram or transfer to the Metro at the neighbouring Dejvicka station.
But as you can see from this photograph, since the early hours of Monday 16th May until 31st August, no trams are running between Podbaba and Vítezné námestí – instead we have to make that first part of our journey by bus.
Earlier this year, work started on extending our tramline from its current terminus at Podbaba, to a new terminus adjacent to the Prague-Dresden railway line with plans for a new adjacent railway station to further integrate public transport. I took this photograph back in February when work on the new tram terminal turning circle was well underway.
However, if you look closely, you can see a series of pits where archaeological work was being undertaken. I have never fully discovered exactly what they were digging for except for one sentence on a local resident’s website which said that some early mediaeval items had been found. Apparently this archaeological work delayed the tramline extension project by three months.
Work on the new tram tracks leading to this new terminus did proceed quite rapidly as can be seen in this photograph looking from Podbaba towards the railway line in the distance. You should be able to just make out the bridge where the railway crosses the road and the new tram turning circle will be off to the left of the bridge.
I did wonder how this new extension would be successfully joined to the existing tramline at Podbaba without disrupting the normal tram service. Back in early May, I found out the answer to my question – by closing down the whole line from Podbaba to Vítezné námestí for three & a half months!
To be fair to the Dopravní podnik hravního mesta Prahy or dpp for short, they have decided to use this opportunity to totally renew all the track from Vítezné námestí to Podbaba. Within a few days of the closure, most of the old track had been ripped up, the earth underneath excavated and fresh ballast had begun to be put in place.
These two photographs show the extent of the work at the old Podbaba terminus. The first photograph was taken on Sunday 15th May, the last days that trams were turning around here. The second was taken only a few days later!
It is frustrating to be without our normal tram service for over three months. And I do feel sorry for all those who live nearer to all this construction work than we do as the dust and noise must be irritating to say the least. But the end result will be improved transport infrastructure providing an even better and more accessible service. And according to the plans I’ve seen, the new tram stop at Podbaba will be a little closer to where we live making it only an eight rather than a ten minute walk to get there!