In mid-December 2022, the newest extension of the Brno tram system opened after three years of construction, thus taking the entire network in the Czech Republic’s second largest city to roughly 72 km.
The 900 m long branch line in the west of the city is used by line 8 and runs from the junction station Osová to the Bohunice hospital. The key part of the new route is a 650 m long tram tunnel, the longest such structure in the Czech Republic, including the country’s first underground tram stop at the intermediate calling point Západní brána.
At the surface level terminus at Campus Bohunice, space constraints have prevented the installation of a turning loop, thus requiring line 8 to be operated only with bidirectional LRVs. To this end, the municipal operator DPMB can rely on its existing fleet of 38 Tatra KT8D5, although it also received the five new Škoda 45T between mid October 2022 and late March 2023. These 31 m long 45T offer space for 233 passengers, consist of three articulated sections and have been locally classified as nos. 1760-1764. They initially had to complete commissioning trials and driver training and therefore were only used sparingly for revenue services during late 2022 and early 2023. DPMB ordered these trams from Škoda 2020 and has options for 35 more.
At the new Nemocnice Bohunice terminus the track capacity offers enough space for four idle trams, plus there are also two additional layover sidings for overnight stabling. Aside from the hospital, the terminus also serves a new office complex and adjacent shopping centre, additionally functioning as a convenient interchange between the tram network and the expansive trolleybus system.