A new retro vehicle will debut in Prague on Sunday as the Tatra K2 joins the Czech capital’s historic line 42 through the city center. The K2 tram was originally designed in Prague and produced in the city for 17 years, but never officially took to its tracks as it was produced for export.
On Sunday, February 5, 2023 from 10:00 a.m., that will change when a K2 vehicle begins carrying passengers in the Czech capital for the very first time on Prague’s nostalgic line. The date will mark 40 years since the last Tatra K2 trams were produced in Prague.
Prague’s new K22 tram was unveiled to the media during a ceremony on Thursday, where it was christened with the registration number 7000. The vehicle was originally manufactured in Prague in 1977 at the ČKD Tatra factory before being delivered to Slovakia, where it ran on Bratislava’s tracks.
“Today we ceremoniously launched the unique K2 tram into Prague traffic,” Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr said on Thursday during the unveiling of the historic vehicle.
“Two famous Czech designers participated in its design – František Kardaus, the creator of the design of the iconic front of the tram, and Miroslav Navrátil, who designed the fiberglass seats.”
“With Prague Public Transportation, we want to be pioneers in the modernization of public transport and provide passengers with comfort and convenience in the form of modern cars. At the same time, however, we aim to popularize Prague transport, for example, through historic vehicles.”
The Tatra K2 trams were first developed in 1966, following the classic T3 models that can still be seen on Prague’s streets. They were manufactured largely for Czechoslovak cities outside of Prague (Brno, Ostrava, and Bratislava), as well as countries including Yugoslavia, the former Soviet Union, and even Egypt.
In Prague, the K2 trams only rode on the city’s tracks as part of manufacturer tests, and never officially joined the city’s fleet of vehicles. Due to Prague’s uneven terrain, the city preferred to stick with the more dynamic T3 trams for general use.
Prague’s new Tatra K2 tram is part of ongoing efforts to revitalize the historic tourist lines that run through the city center with a diverse assortment of classic vehicles.
“As part of the retro operation, we are trying to present the most important representatives of Tatra trams from the most successful historical period of the 1950s and 1960s, which are characterized in particular by the exceptional design of the Czech artist František Kardaus,” explains DPP’s Jan Šurovský.
“From this period, we lacked a representative of the K2 cars in our fleet of historic trams, which, although they never ran regularly in Prague, are forever linked to the capital, because they were only produced here, at the ČKD Tatra plant between 1966 and 1983.”
“In 2021, we took advantage of a unique opportunity and bought the K2 tram, which had been parked in the Krasňany depot for 12 years, from the Bratislava Transport Company for a symbolic fee of €1,000. I am extremely happy that our colleagues from the Transport Company of the City of Brno, who have years of experience with this type of tram, succeeded in completely repairing it and preserving its original appearance from the 70s.”
If you want to be among the first to catch Prague’s historic K2 vehicle, you can look out for it from tomorrow on the 42 line, which runs through Prague’s Old Town, New Town, and Malá Strana districts. An all-day pass to ride the line’s historic vehicles costs CZK 250.