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Developments in Prague

Škoda 15T low-floor trams are now a common sight on many routes in the city, with many more on the way; 9238 on Palackého náměstí in August 2012. — Howard Pulling

Nine tramway extensions and a new metro route are planned for the Czech capital. Witold Urbanowicz explains the current intended expansion schemes in more detail.

The Czech capital has ambitious plans to intensively develop its public transport infrastructure. Dopravní podnik, Prague’s public transport operator, lists no fewer than nine projects for the construction of new tramlines, which together will total around 27km (17 miles) of new network. Under the plans, some 55 pairs of new tramway stops will also be built. Dopravní podnik’s latest projects are being taken forward with the help of co-financing from the European Union, as part of the 2014-2020 EU Financing Directive.

Nine new extensions
On the tramway, the longest planned new route is to run from Chodovská – Spořilov – Opatov – Háje, serving the Jižní Město district and providing access to the metro line C. This new route will be approx. 6.5km (four miles) long, with 13 pairs of new tramstops.
In the northern part of the city, a 5.5km (3.4-mile) line with 13 pairs of stops is planned to connect Kobylisy and Bohnice, also providing access to metro line C. The next new route in terms of length is the 4.48km (2.78-mile) line (with seven paired stops) planned for the northern part of the city between Nádraží Podbaba and Suchdol to provide access to the agricultural academy; a park-and-ride facility is also planned.

Further current projects are smaller in scale: Divoká Šárka – Dědinská (2.3km/1.4 miles, with five pairs of stops); Sídliště Barrandov – Holyně – Slivenec (1.6km/one mile and with three pairs of stops); Sídliště Modřany –  Libuš (1.8km/1.1 miles with four pairs of stops), which will provide connection with the planned fourth metro line (D); Na Veselí – Pankrác – Budějovická (1.5km/0.9 miles and with three pairs of stops); Zlíchov – Dvorce, with a bridge over the Vltava River (800m/0.5 miles and one pair of stops); and finally a line to run on Počernická to serve the Malešice neighbourhood. This will be around 2.1km/1.3 miles in length with six pairs of stops.

Fourth metro line
In addition to tramway extensions, it is planned to construct the first section of the city’s fourth metro line, to be known as line D. The initial 7.9km (4.9-mile) portion is to have eight stations and run between Pankrác and Depo Písnice; although currently in the preparatory phase, it is hoped that construction could begin in either late 2017 or early 2018.
Metro line D is intended to provide a vital link for the Libuš, Lhotka and Krč neighbourhoods in southern Prague, serving an area of 175 000 residents and 127 000 workplaces. The first stage will connect Pankrác station; journeys towards the city centre will be facilitated by a connection with the existing line C.
In the future it is intended that line D will itself be extended towards the city centre, to Náměstí Míru station (and a connection with line A), as well as in a further stage to Náměstí Republiky (to interchange with line C).
DP Praha representative Jiří Došlý states that 17 three-car trains will be needed to serve the new line D.

Modernised metro, new trams
Prague’s plans for the EU funding do not in principle include anything for rolling stock. The metro fleet has been modernised over the last 15 years (without EU money), and the tramway is currently mid-way through a contract for 250 new 15T vehicles from Škoda. Some 157 new vehicles under this contract had been delivered at the time of writing (the first arrived in 2010).
Since 2005 the Czech capital’s tramway has also been home to 14T vehicles – also from Škoda and the first low-floor trams to arrive on the system. It is also home to a range of Tatra products, including the classic T3 design that dates back to the Communist era and was built in its thousands for Warsaw Pact countries.
Finally, in wider transport terms, new buses are bought each year to ensure that the average age of the operator’s bus fleet remains at not more than nine years, in accordance with European (and Czech) legislation