Czech Republic Magazine

On this Day, in 1974: Prague Metro officially went into operation

prague-metro-creation

On May 9, 1974, the mostly Russian-built Prague Metro officially went into operation in the capital city of then Czechoslovakia.

The first known proposals to provide Prague with an underground transport system dates back to the late 1890s, but local residents would have to wait nearly 100 years to get their own metro system.

The building of the first station (Hlavni Nadrazi) started in 1967 in communist Czechoslovakia. Initially thought as the first link in a sub-surface tramway route, the whole enterprise was later rethought as a genuine city-wide metro system by communist authorities. The Prague metro officially went into operation on May 9, 1974, offering a regular service between the stations of Sokolovska (Florenc today) and Kacerov.

The first line to go in operation was the Line C (Red) which today connects the stations of Letnany and Haje on a north-south route. The Green Line (A) was inaugurated a few years later in 1978, followed in 1985 by a third one.

In the months following the Velvet Revolution, over a dozen metro stations were renamed to remove all traces and references of the former communist regime. This includes Leninova (Dejvicka today), Moskevska (Jinonice) and Gottwaldova (Nadrazi Holesovice).

The Prague Metro system suffered heavy damages during the floods which hit the Czech capital city in 2002 and, to a lesser extent, 2013.

Today, the Prague Metro system comprises three lines: Green Line A (17 stations), Yellow Line B (24 stations) and Red Line C (20 stations) serving a total of more than 60 stations (including three transfer ones) in a network of 65 kilometers of mostly underground railway.

The city’s metro system – including its information system and the names of stations – uses a special font named Metron created for that very purpose. The colours of the tiles at each station was also meant to create a symbolic association with the part of the city under which it’s located (for example, the gold colour at Hradcanska station symbolises the nearby Prague Castle, seat of Bohemian and Czech rulers for centuries).

A fourth line (Blue Line D) connecting the city center to southern parts of Prague is expected to go into operation around 2027. There have also been talks about a fifth, circular line E, and an extension of the line A to connect Prague to Vaclav Havel international airport just outside the city.

Carrying more than 620 million passengers per year (or 1.7 million people on a daily basis), the Prague Metro is one of the busiest metro systems in Europe.

Worldwide, the busiest subway systems can be found in Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai, Moscow, Guangzhou, New York, Mexico City, Hong Kong and Paris.

Visualisation of a metro station on the upcoming line D, via Metroprojekt Praha.

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