The Prague Transport Company has launched the operation of the Tatra K2 tram in the metropolis, expanding its fleet of historic trams, which it deploys on special lines 23, 41, and 42. Although the K2 trams have been manufactured in Prague for 17 years, they have never been used with passengers. Their chassis is not suitable for the demanding Prague traffic. The transport company is putting them on trial in February.
“As part of the retrofitting, we are attempting to present the most important representatives of Tatra trams from the most successful historical period of the 1950s and 1960s,” Jan Šurovský, technical director of surface transport at DPP, said.
“We were missing a representative of K2 cars in the fleet of historic trams, which, while they never ran regularly in Prague, are forever linked to the capital city because they were only produced here at the ČKD Tatra plant between 1966 and 1983,” he added.
This particular set was produced in 1977 at the ČKD Tatra Prague plant and delivered to Bratislava as the last K2 tram. From the beginning, the Bratislava Transport Company used it only as a driver training car.
In 2009, it was scrapped and parked in Bratislava’s Krasňany depot without carrying passengers. As a result, it has not undergone major structural modifications and has been preserved with many of its original features.
They paid 1,000 euros
That is why, two years ago, the Prague Transport Company decided to buy the tram for 1,000 euros (roughly CZK 23,800 today). Since then, it has been undergoing modifications at the Brno Transport Company.
“No major repairs have ever been carried out on the car. An unpleasant surprise awaited us when we removed the whole car. The bodywork was badly deformed, and we had to replace a large part of the supporting elements,” said Miloš Havránek, director of the Brno City Transport Authority.
The interior of the car and the driver’s cabin have also been transformed beyond recognition. Although they correspond to the original design, drivers will also find modern elements that have been sensitively hidden so as not to disturb the car’s original appearance.
“We have assigned the tram the registration number 7000 symbolically – it was originally the first ever articulated tram manufactured in Czechoslovakia, type K1 from 1964, which was test-driven in Prague, and for a short time, it was also used by the prototype of the K2 tram, and under this number, it was also exhibited at the International Fair in Brno in 1966,” added Šurovský.
The tram first went into Prague on the first Sunday in February. This month, it will run on line 42 on February 11, 19, and 25.
In March and April, technicians will take the tram at the DPP Central Workshops in Hostivař for about two months to fine-tune it in cooperation with workers from the Brno City Transport Company.
“We expect that the K2 tram will return to permanent operation on historical lines at the end of April and the beginning of May,” Šurovský said.
In addition to line 42, the tram should also go on line 23, which runs between Královka in Prague 6 and Zvonařka in Vinohrady. The transport company also wants to offer it for rent and the T3 Coupé-designed tram.
“With the Transport Company, we want to pioneer the modernization of public transport and provide passengers with comfort and convenience in the form of modern cars, but at the same time, we also aim to popularize Prague transport, for example, through historic cars,” said Deputy Mayor for Transport Adam Scheinherr from the group Praha Sobě.
“We have a moral obligation to take care of our technical heritage and preserve it for future generations. That is why, when the opportunity arose to purchase the missing K2 car for a symbolic amount for our fleet of historic trams, we did not hesitate. I am glad that its rescue and repair were successful, and we can send it to the streets of Prague symbolically on the 40th anniversary of the end of production of this type,” added DPP General Director Petr Witowski.
A total of 569 K2 vehicles were produced. In Czechoslovakia (234 units), they made their way to Brno, Bratislava, and Ostrava and were exported to the former Yugoslavia (90 units) and the Soviet Union (245 units). Another essential export application was the supply to Cairo, Egypt, for which a notable two-way modification K5 was produced in compensation for the collection of Egyptian cotton.