Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Prague metro comprises three lines, each of them represented by its own color on the maps and signs: line A (green), line B (yellow) and line C (red). There are 51 stations in total (3 of them are crossing stations), connected by more than 50 kilometers of mostly underground railways. The metro service operates between 5 am and midnight every day, with around 2-3 minutes between trains during rush hours. Over 420 million passengers use the Prague metro every year.
The metro is run by the Prague Public Transit Company Inc. (Dopravní podnik Praha or DP Praha) who manage all means of public transport around the city (the metro, tramways, buses and the funicular to the Petřín hill). Since 1993 this system has been connected to commuter trains and buses and also to "park-and-ride" parking lots - together they form a public transportation network reaching further from the city, the Prague integrated transport (Pražská integrovaná doprava - PID). Whilst the large system is zonally priced, the metro is fully inside the central zone.
It is not uncommon for the Prague Metro to have combined stations, i.e. that stations are physically located between two squares/junctions. (This is why the name of a station may easily turn up at two different places in the city, or there may occur unnamed stations on the map.) So it is not enough to get off at the right station, but one should watch out to choose the right way out to the surface – otherwise they may find themselves at a different place, 15-20 minutes' walking distance from the required destination.
Layout and stations
The Prague metro system is laid-out as a triangle, with all three lines meeting in the center of the city at three transition stations. The depth of the stations (and the connecting lines) varies considerably. The deepest station is Náměstí Míru, located 52 meters under the ground. Parts of the tracks in the city center were mostly bored using the tunneling shield. Outer parts were dug by the cut-and-cover method and the stations are only a few meters under the surface. The B line partly runs inside a glassed-in tunnel above the ground.
Most stations have a single platform in the center of the station hall (tunnel) serving both directions. The sub-surface stations have a straight ceiling sometimes supported by columns. The deep-level stations are larger tunnels with the track tunnels on each side. The walls of many stations are decorated using colored aluminium panels, each station having its own color.
The Prague metro is an open ticket system. Passengers are obliged to buy and validate a ticket before entering the metro platform. There are plainclothes ticket inspectors who have the right to check the validity of the ticket at any time within the compulsory ticket area.
The tickets are the same for all means of transport in Prague (excluding commuter trains for single tickets). The basic single ticket (the transfer variant) costs 12 CZK (as of February 2004) and allows a 60 minutes ride (90 minutes during the weekends). The non-transferable ticket (costs 8 CZK) is valid for a distance of four metro stations (not including the station of validation) allowing changes between lines A, B and C, but no longer than 30 minutes in total.
There are also transferable season tickets valid for 24 hours or 3, 7, or 15 days. Also, long-term (monthly, quarterly or yearly) tickets can be bought.
Although the Prague metro system is relatively new, ideas to build some kind of underground transport in the city reach far into the history. The first proposal to build a sub-surface railway was given by Ladislav Rott in 1898. He encouraged the city council to take the advantage of the fact, that sewer systems building and demolishing parts of the Old town were being in progress, and wanted them to start digging tunnels for the railway at the same time. However, the plan was denied by the city authorities. Another proposal in 1926, by Bohumil Belada and Vladimír List, was the first to use the term "Metro", and though it was not accepted either, it served as an impulse for moving towards a real solution of the rapidly developing transport in Prague. In the 1930s and 1940s, intensive projection and planning works were being held, taking into account two possible solutions: an underground tramway (regular rolling stock going under ground in the city center, nowadays described as a "pre-metro") and a "true" metro having its own independent system of railways. After World War II, all work was stopped due to the poor economic situation of the country, although the three lines, A, B and C had been almost fully projected.
In the early 1960s the concept of the sub-surface tramway was finally accepted and on 9 August 1967 the actual building of the first station (Hlavní Nádraží) started. However, at the same year, a substantial change in the concept came, as the government decided to build a "true" metro system instead of an underground tramway. Thus, during the first years, the construction continued while the whole project was conceptually transformed. The regular service of the first section of line C began operating on 9 May 1974 between Sokolovská (now Florenc) and Kačerov stations. Building continued quite rapidly since then. In 1978 the first section of line A was opened and, finally, line B in 1985, thus forming the triangle with three crossing points. After that, the tracks have been extended further from the center. The line B has been finished after the last sections completed in 1994 (Zličín to Nové Butovice) and 1998 (Českomoravská to Černý most; however, the Kolbenova and Hloubětín stations were opened in 2001).
In the meantime, the old Russian and slowly wearing out trains are being reconstructed and replaced. Such reconstructed trains are projected to serve for another 15 years. The renewal of the rolling stock should be completed by 2007.
In August 2002, the metro suffered disastrous flooding that struck parts of Bohemia and other areas in Central Europe. 19 stations were flooded (see map ), causing a partial collapse of the transport system in Prague; the damage to the metro has been evaluated to approximately 7 billion CZK (over $200 million). The affected sections of the metro stayed out of service for several months, the last station (Křižíkova, located in the most-damaged area - Karlín) reopened in March 2003. Small silver plates have been placed at some stations to show the water level during the event.
A northern extension of the line C was opened on 26 June 2004, with two more stations, Kobylisy and Ládví. Notable is the way that the new tunnels were built under the Vltava river. A unique "ejecting-tunnels" technology had been chosen to underpass the river. First, a trench had been excavated in the riverbed and the tunnels had been concreted in the dry docks on the riverbank. Then the docks had been flooded, and the afloat tunnels were moved as a rigid complex to their final position, sunk, anchored and covered .
The construction of the extension of the line C now progresses further to the north-east, to connect the city center to the large housing blocks in Prosek. Three more stations (Střížkov, Prosek and Letňany) are planned to open in 2008.
There are further projects to start building a completely new line, the D line, represented by the blue color, afterward. It should connect the center to the southern parts of the city and go from Hlavní nádraží (the main station) through the Nusle quarter down to the Krč, Libuš and Písnice suburbs (see the map at ) in the south. If the project goes well, the first sections of the line will begin operation around 2013.
Eventually, the line A will be extended on both ends, too. There are - so far unofficial - plans to extend the NW part ot the track further to Petřiny and Bílá hora. This section should be connected to the proposed rapid railway going to the Ruzyně international airport.
- Official pages of the Prague public transport including maps, fare information, etc...
- Urban Rail - concise metro information
- www.metroweb.cz - pages of Czech metrophiles with plenty of information and pictures (in Czech)
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