It was a terrible glory for us, recalls the man who stood at the birth of the Prague metro


It was from Kačerov that the first train set off towards Sokolovská, today’s Florence, after the ribbon cutting, which was watched by a government delegation led by General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Czech Republic Gustáv Husák. “I was afraid that it would all turn out well,” he admitted to Práv, adding that fortunately there were no hiccups.

Photo: Archive of the transport company hl. city ​​of Prague


Minor ailments only appeared during normal operation a day later. “We were just now finding out how it works. Somewhere, for example, the turnstiles at the entrance to the subway got stuck,” revealed an eyewitness who was also involved in preparations for the operation of the Prague underground railway. Towards the end of the 1960s, he got a place in the very first group that dealt with them. The team consisted of twelve experts from different professions.

“We got to know how the metro works. We drew on literature, mostly Russian, of course. Our first business trip led to Moscow, Lenigrad, Kiev. We brought the basic operating regulations, in Russian, which we had to think up so that they would work in Czech conditions,” recalls the pensioner, who was 37 years old when the metro started operating.

The team collaborated with designers from Sudop, one of the oldest design and engineering organizations in the Czech Republic, from which Metroprojekt emerged. Both companies still exist. “They designed something, we assessed it. For example, track layouts, we consulted on station equipment and the like,” he mentioned.

In the 1970s, he worked as an external lecturer at the Metro School, where he trained future operational employees, for example station supervisors or train drivers. According to him, there was no shortage of candidates. He later coordinated the trial operation.

First live in 1973

For the first time under voltage, the train ran the entire route on the night of December 29, 1973. “It was a terrible glory for us,” smiles Cimrhakl, who was tasked with overseeing the temporary control room at the IP Pavlova station for the occasion. “We saw on the panel that the train arrived at the Prague Uprising station, then Vyšehrad and continued to us. There were five of us in the dispatch room, we couldn’t hold back and ran down to the platform outside the dispatcher and watched how what we had been preparing for six years came to fruition,” he recalls with a smile.

Initially, the sets consisted of three cars. Eleven of them whistled underground. The peak interval was three minutes. They got from Kačerov to Sokolovská in 13.5 minutes. From midnight to 5 a.m., the subway was out of service, just like today. Why actually? “Sometimes the cleaning of the station and the normal preventive maintenance of the tunnel have to be done,” stated Cimrhakl.

Later the trains got longer. Residents from the south of Prague called for new bus lines to the metro stations, and when that happened, the metro had to be strengthened because of the increase in passengers.

He fondly remembers his years in the transport company and is happy that he remains connected with the city’s largest company even today, when he is enjoying a well-deserved retirement. In fact, his descendants and subsequent generations followed in his footsteps.

In Prague, the historic metro started



The article is in Czech


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