Since the ‘Velvet Revolution’ of 1989 new opportunities have opened up to visit this densely trafficked ex-communist country, which has many surprises for the discerning rail fan. Not least is the huge variety of liveries carried by the loco fleet as drivers still retain ‘their own’ locos in individual and colourful livery variants.
The majority of the main line network is electrified and in this informative programme we contrast main line services on the lines from Prague to Brno and Olomouc with the rural and highly scenic line from Karlovy Vary to Mariánské Lázn.
Cross border passenger services with Slovakia and Austria in the south and Poland in the north, provide interesting comparisons. Also featured are cab rides and plenty of local pick-up freight action.
Visits are made to a cement works near Prague – one of Czech Railways most important customers and to the internationally famous test track at Bystrice.
Loco classes include the characteristic 750 ‘Goggles’ class and numerous other distinctive electric and diesel types, plus narrow gauge diesels and steam.
Main line steam isn’t forgotten either with splendid action over the beautiful ‘Prague Semmering’ route.
• Prague Masarykovo nádrañí, Main station and suburban services.
• Prague Semmering, along the Sazava valley with a visit to the brewery at Velké Popovice.
• Diesel hauled freight action at Kladno, west of Prague.
• Beroun Cement Works with class T334.0 (710) and 4 silo type bogie wagons.
• Zdice-Strakonice-Volary, including a cab ride with a double headed ‘Frowning’ class on a heavy freight, along this attractive country route.
• The former KFJB line from Vienna between Ceské Velenice and Mariánské Lázné, now electrified at 25 kilovolts AC .
• In southern Moravia, the diesel worked Brno-OkÍíšky-Znojmo line. International expresses and freights on the AC Prague-Brno-Breclav main line.
• DC electrics hauling heavy freight and passenger on the intensively worked Prague-Ceská Trebová-Olomouc 160 kph ‘corridor’.
• Polish border services at Ústí nad Orlicí-Letohrad-Lichkov Local pick-up freight on the Cervenka-Mlade branch. Street running at Vysoké Mýto.
• The standard gauge Tanvald-Harrachov rack line – adhesion worked! Narrow gauge diesel and Mallet 0-4-4-0 from Jindrchçv Hradec to Nová Bystrice.
• Loco classes include: 150, 163, 182, 240, 242, 350, 363, 705.9, 710, 714, 721, 731, 742, 751, 754, 771, 781, 810, 830, 842 and their many variants, plus steam types 423.0, 434.2, and U47.0.