Global Conference in Prague, 2023 Reporter's Notebook Top

Take Prague’s historic tram for a ride to remember

Passengers check out Prague while riding one of the city's historic trams. (Anjola Fashawe/YJI)

PRAGUE – An adventure to the old city of Prague would not be complete without a ride on the historic tram. 

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(Viktorie Goldmannová/YJI)

We have all seen 20th century movies and pictures of people cruising on trolleys and trams around their hometowns, championing the culture and mood of their era.

Now, it was our turn to embrace the feeling of travel, free-spirit, and adventure on board the tram. There are two tram lines, with multiple cars operating on them. We took Line 42 and got into Car 412.

Under the former independent state of Czechoslovakia, Car 412 began operating in the 1920s as one of the first series of trams containing doors and nine windows along the sides. 

Today, the tram’s downfall is the inconsistency with which it runs. We had to wait almost 40 minutes for the tram’s arrival.

A seat on the tram also isn’t guaranteed – despite the two carriages, the maximum capacity is around 45 seats. 

Arooj Khalid/YJI

But the tram runs all day, so if you are willing to wait, it’s worth it.

Anxiously, we jumped on board the tram to await our fun fate. With a stamped ticket and tram brochure in hand, we took our seats to indulge in the sights of Prague.

One must not forget the best part: observing Prague without having to walk the city. 

With a hustle and a pull, the tram embarks on its journey. The sights of Prague from the tram are like none other.

A view of Prague’s Vltava River from the historic tram. (Anjola Fashawe/YJI)

The mix between river, stone buildings, brick roads, and a blue sky displayed to us the fairy tale reality of Prague.

Norah Springborn/YJI

The noise is another limiting factor to the otherwise beautiful tram. With it being such an old contraption, it’s easy to understand the clunking as it turns corners and breaks at stops.

Passengers observe the tram operators in the front of Car 412. (Anjola Fashawe/YJI)

There’s a bell which rings at each stop to indicate when passengers can get off and it lets off a long shrill noise which leaves your ears ringing.

But for the sake of preserving such an old tram rather than installing a speaker, it’s more than a worthy compromise.

A boy looks out at the Vltava River while riding Car 412. (Norah Springborn/YJI)

The conductors also shouted at each other, from opposite sides of the tram. They shouted in Czech, which was a bit alarming at first, but we eventually got used to it.

The tram’s wooden design gives a sleek, antique feeling. The smell of old wood runs throughout the tram and the leather handrails positioned above the seats add to this historic element. 

But passengers should not expect an easy ride. There are no seatbelts on the tram, so you find yourself moving along with every bump and jolt.

At any stop, all passengers braced themselves in order to prevent one from sliding into each other. 

The tram would promptly begin operating again, allowing passengers to once again pull out their phones to capture the tram ride experience.  

There was no power steering or easy breaking on the tram. Rather, the 1920’s technology – from the lighting to the steering – was on display even in 2023. 

Vintage lighting in Car 412. (Anjola Fashawe/YJI)

A historic tram ride is a must in order to interact with the city of Prague on a different level.

For anyone wanting to time travel back 100 years, the historic tram is one of the many beautiful sights and sounds of Prague. 

Gemma Christie is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from England. Anjola Fashawe is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from England. Norah Springborn is a Senior Correspondent with Youth Journalism International from the United States. Together, they did the reporting and photography for this article. Associate Editor Arooj Khalid contributed one of the videos.

YJI reporting team of Gemma Christie, Anjola Fashawe and Norah Springborn. (Gemma Christie/YJI)

Read more from YJI’s ‘Postcards from Prague’ series about the 2023 Global Conference.

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