Petřín Funicular (Lanová dráha na Petřín)
The Petřín funicular runs along the route Újezd – Nebozízek – Petřín and links to tram lines at the Újezd stop. At the very top it crosses over the Hunger Wall. The two-carriage funicular reaches a height of more than 130 m on a 510 m long track. The funicular was originally water-powered when it began operating in 1891; it was electrified in 1932. Due to extensive landslides, operation of the funicular was suspended in 1965 for 20 years.
November – March
- Whole week
- 09.00 – 23.20
April – October
- Whole week
- 09.00 – 23.30
The Petřín funicular is part of the Prague public transportation system. Route and stops: Újezd - Nebozízek - Petřín.
daily all year round
- April - October 9.00 - 23.30, interval 10 minutes
- November - March 9.00 - 23.20, interval 15 minutes
The ride takes 4 minutes, the 2 cars unit overcomes a height of 130 m.
tickets same as for the Prague public transportation system
not wheelchair accessible
Nearest public transport station:
tram 22, 20, 12, Hellichova or Újezd; tram 6, 9 Újezd
The idea to construct the Petřín funicular dates back to 1890 when it was decided to build the Petřín Lookout Tower (Petřínská rozhledna). Since the beginning, the Petřín Lookout Tower Cooperative wanted to facilitate the journey to the tower, therefore both of the building projects were carried out simultaneously. The funicular was first put into operation on 25 July 1891. At that time it was the longest funicular in Austria-Hungary. The track of the funicular was originally shorter: the lower station used to stand slightly higher than today and the upper station was near the Nebozízek restaurant.
The funicular used to overcome the elevation of over 102 m and its total length was 396.5 m, the gradient was almost 27 %. The gauge of the railway track was 1 m. The track had three rails, so both wagons went on the central one and a short four-rail section served as a switch rail. The wagons were 6 m long and 2 m wide and had the capacity of 32 people. They were produced in the Ringhoffer Factory. A ride took 6 minutes.
During the World War I, the operation of the funicular was stopped. After the war, The Petřín Lookout Tower Cooperative considered the possibility of reopening the funicular. However, there were not enough funds available. Only before the IX Sokol festival, the company Electric Enterprises (Elektrické podniky) took care of the renewal because the funicular was transferred into their property in 1931. The old funicular was dismantled, some of its parts were handed over to the Technical Museum as the exhibits and a new funicular was built quickly, operating on electric power. The lower station was moved slightly lower in a Baroque house in Újezd where Jindřich Eckert, the famous photographer of old Prague, had his first studio. The upper part of the funicular was prolonged by the breakthrough in the Hunger Wall (Hladová zeď) up to the Lookout Tower near to which a new constructivist station was built, designed by architect František Šrámek.
The funicular’s length attained 511 m, the height difference amounted to 130.5 m and the maximum gradient was almost 30 %. The track was built on the system of two rails with the gauge of 1435 mm and the switch rail in the middle part. For the first time in the world, there was used a system of safety cables, thanks to which it was possible to stop the wagon wherever on the railway immediately and absolutely fluently, in contrast to the then funiculars of the Swiss type that slowed down rapidly. The electric propulsion was provided by the Ward-Leonard machine set, located in the engine room in the upper station. The machinery equipment was produced by the ČKD company (the abbreviation stands for Českomoravská Kolben-Daněk) so well that there has not been a need to change anything up to now. The operation was driven completely automatically, though in case of necessity it was possible to operate the funicular manually from the engine room. The prolonged railway had one stop at Nebozízek in the direction up. The new wagons were again produced by the Ringhoffer Factory. This time their length was 12 m, their width equaled to 2.4 m and their capacity was 70 standing and 35 sitting passengers.
The operation of the new funicular launched on 5 June 1932. The speed of 4 - 6 m/s and the increased wagon capacity brought to the funicular a significant primacy: the highest transport capacity in Europe of 1300 people per hour in one direction. The funicular operated without problems even during the World War II, until 7 June 1965 when due to long rains it was seriously damaged and later there was a dangerous land sliding of the Petřín Hill that damaged a part of the track, too. Therefore the funicular operation had been interrupted since that time for 20 twenty years.
In 1981, after the extensive reinforcement of the Petřín Hill and specialized expert’s opinions, it was decided on commencing the reconstruction of the funicular, which then started in 1983, with maximum use of the original constructions and technology. A monolithic bridge construction was built in the places where the middle part of the track was damaged. This construction was stiffened by several supports, based on the micro-columns, which are anchored in the rock bedrock. Thanks to the chief mechanic who had kept the original machine equipment of the funicular in a good condition for full 20 years when the funicular was out of operation, it could be used for the new funicular as well.
A part of the engine room can be seen behind the glass roof in the upper station: It is a slantwise placed wheel with a diameter of 3 m that leads a steel tow rope of the length of over 0.5 km and width of 3.5 m that is lead along the track by 190 pulleys. Behind this wheel is a minor propelling wheel joined with an engine of the capacity of 106 kW. An entirely unique construction in the world is used there: it consists of two types of cables: towlines and braking cables. The towline provides the motion of both wagons that are suspended on it. The other cables, which do not move, are the braking cables that can ensure even an emergency stop reliably and fluently. The operation is safe because of the towline with 8 times excess capacity. To the original equipment from the year 1932 also belongs the device called “tratiměr” (meaning: the measuring of the track) that shows the immediate position of the wagons on the track. Only the wiring was changed and a new control room with a radio connection with wagons was made. The original bases were used for the new wagons of the weight over 12 tons, the length of 23 m and width of almost 2.5 m, which were produced by the company Vagonka Česká Lípa. The wagons have the same gradient as the average gradient of the track, i.e. 25 % and reach the speed up to 4 m /sec. Their transport capacity is 1400 passengers per hour. They pass through the track of the original length of 510 meters with the stop at Nebozízek in just over 3 minutes.
• track length: 510 m
• number of stops: 3
• number of wagons: 2
• elevation: 130 m
• steepest grade: 298 ‰
• speed: 4 m / s