476 - The front of the original FJI Station viewed from the Museum
The building was constructed in Neo-Renaissance style between 1869 and 1871 by I. Ullmann and A. Bervitius. The train station, along with a trackage and storehouses, was located on the Vinohrady side facing the New Town city fortification for four years, i.e. before the city fortification was demolished. In front of the station building, which was 150 metres long, an access road was built after demolition of city fortification. The telegraph office, the office of the station master, the operational office and the police commisariate were situated in the central part of the building. Both side wings ended with a covered walk which was where fiacres and horse-drawn coaches arrived at the station. In the left wing there were three halls for the passengers, in the right wing there was a court lounge with a few plush rooms for the wealthy patrons. Clocks were installed in both towers of the building and their dials were illuminated by gas. Electric tram tracks were laid here in 1897.
PHOTOTYPE. AROUND 1898
477 - In this picture you can see the trackage of the FJI Station
In this picture, taken from the tower of the old train station building, you can see the trackage of the FJI Station with the parallel trackage of the Bohemian Morthern Railway (also called the Prague-Neratovice Railway) in the middle. (The trackage for this line was first situated between the original trackage of the FJI Station and the Vinohrady slope, which had its own, much more modest train station building, an engine depot and operational buildings.) In the picture you can see the situation after 1892, i.e. following extension of the two trackages, after moving of the store-houses closer to the slope, and after establishment of the shunting rails for transport of freight beneath the slope. On the right side you can see two rows of 400 metre-long storage-houses for transportation of goods. Karlova Street, winding in the background from along the blocks of flats up to Žižkov, was vaulted over by five short bridges. The Bohemian Northern Railway left the Station in the direction of Neratovice through three bridges located in the vicinity of the engine shed.
PHOTOTYPE. PICTURE AROUND 1898. F. J. JEDLIČKA, AROUND 1904
478 - A picture of the trackage made from Jungmannova Street, in particular from the site above the entrance to the Vinohrady tunnel
The tracks were not covered until construction of the new railway station, and the trains were only accessible by crossing over the tracks. On the left, behind the blind track, you can see a storage-house for the so-called express goods (see picture 475). The storage-houses on the right, which have been mentioned previously, served the needs of the two railways. The watch-house in the foreground monitors the entrance to the Railway Station - the other watch-house, at the far end of the Station, was the final and 139th on the Vienna- Prague route. A good view of activities on the tracks could be enjoyed from windows of house No. 94 (on the left), which was built in 1882 by a. Wiehl.
PHOTOTYPE. PICTURE AROUND 1898. K. BELLMANN, 1902
479 - The rear wing of the original building and trackage of the FJI Station viewed from Vinohrady
The original number of nine to eleven tracks for passenger trains and freight transport was extended in 1892, but, due to gradual convergence of more lines and increasing demands for transport of freight, a radical measure was taken in the late 1890s - a new train station building was to be constructed which would exclude freight. This picture is an eloquent proof of insufficient capacity of the Railway Station at the very moment before its reconstruction of 1901. The sloping access roads to the storage-houses of Jungmannova Street, which passed along the Railway Station and merged on its far end with Karlova Street, leading to Žižkov, are also worth noticing. This is where carts entered the station and loaded goods from the storage-houses which had been transported here by trains from the entire monarchy as well as other parts of Europe.
PHOTOTYPE. K. BELLMANN, 1900
480 - This picture was taken from the same site as picture No. 478, though some seven years later
The new railway station building is still being completed, but the vaulted construction above the tracks, which is 235 metres long, 76 metres wide, and 18 metres high, has already been completed. It is made of 21 double arches with a span of 33.3 metres. The riveted steel construction was made by the S. Bondy company and its construction required 2 thousand tons of steel, 1.2 million rivets, 18,000 square metres of zinc-coated metal plate for the roofing and over 200 large window panes for both facades. The departing train is drawn by a freight engine, bearing the serial number 73. This type of engine was produced in the Monarchy by about eight companies between 1885 and 1909. In Prague-Libeň, the First Bohemian-Moravian Engine Factory produced these between 1901 and 1909. This engine type was constructed for shunting, its maximum speed was 40 kilometres per hour. In front of house No. 97 you can see the rear wing of the new German Theatre (behind the wall), the performances in which were sometimes disturbed by unpleasant beeping of the engines.
LACQUERED COLOURED COMBINED PRINT. D. KOSINER AND CO., 1907
481 - This picture was taken from approximately the same place as picture 476
Reconstruction of the Railway Station was launched in 1901 by demolition of its north-east wing. The construction of the north-east wing of the new building followed, resulting in a massive administrative block. Close to the north-east tower of the old building a temporary entrance into the Railway Station was created. It served its purpose practically until completion of the central part of the new Railway Station. This unique picture documents this very state: a part of the old building still with two towers, but deprived of both side wings, the north-east part of the new building, and a temporary entrance in the middle. Heaps of old bricks from the demolished south-west wing, meticulously ordered and probably used for construction of the new building, attest to the thrift of our ancestors.
COLOURED PHOTOTYPE. 1903-1904
482 - The newly completed north-east wing of the administrative building
A close-up of the newly completed north-east wing of the administrative building and the temporary entrance to the Railway Station (on the right). Only one third of the completed building was sufficient for passengers and passers-by to realise the monumental appearance and architectural qualities of the new Railway Station. The generously decorative Art Nouveau style was the design of K. Fanta, with participation of other renowned artists. The artistic decoration was carried out by V. Jansa and F. Fröhlich, the sculptural decoration by S. Sucharda, L. Šaloun, B. Šimonovský, and Č. Vosmík. The horse-drawn carriages waiting for the train create an atmosphere of sleepy peace - but don’t let yourself be fooled, as work is being carried on with the same intensity, this time in the south-west wing (see picture 483).
483 - The imposing north-east wing of the new administrative building with an administrative block, viewed from the north-west
Rhe central part of the old railway station with towers has already been demolished - in the background the south-west administrative block is being constructed as well as the frame of the tower. It is essential to note that even a building of this size did not pose any threat to the peace, tidiness and order of the neighbouring area. One of the scandals of that time is linked with the train station, in particular with its sculptural decoration. As early as the time of the completion of this block which was embellished with sculptures of unclad figures, moralists, represented by the Catholic press, protested loudly. After completion of the central part, the two towers of which ended in crowns being held by well-developed and nude mythical atlases, the campaign advocating their concealment grew substantially. This case was dealt with at the highest level, but it took a lot of time and no decision was reached. After the atlases were defended by S. Sucharda, who put forward convincing arguments in their favour, the outcry started to die out and the original appearance of the statues remained intact, as created by their author.
PHOTOTYPE. V. KRÁTKORUKÝ, 1905
484 - The newly completed south-west wing
With the administrative block shortly before construction of the central part was launched, viewed from the museum. Only a small part of the south-west wing of the old railway station with its covered walk remained intact. However, one of the supporting columns and a part of the tympanum are missing. They had to be removed in order not to hinder the construction of the block of the new administrative centre. The two-storey building still served with this amputated appearance for some 20 years before it was converted into a more modern building after the removal of the covered walk. A steel construction rises behind the administrative block. By means of massive double arches it covered the extended and newly modified platform.
COLOURED PHOTOTYPE. F. J. JEDLIČKA, AROUND 1906
485 - A first-class and a second-class restaurant
A first-class and a second-class restaurant was also located in the block of the north-east wing of the new building. The decoration and the equipment of the vast hall were as equally refined as the remaining parts of the new Railway Station. We can assume that the service and the food were of a high quality - this was surely taken care of by the licensee of the restaurant, František Zavřel.
PHOTOTYPE. AROUND 1905
486 - Central part of the new building
In the final period of reconstruction, which lasted about two years, a massive central part of the new building was built with an entrance hall and a passage to the platforms. Compared to its predecessor’s length of 150 metres, the new building was 64 metres longer and its height and the overall impression it made were also more imposing. This work was completed after eight years in 1909 without disruption of the operation of the Railway Station. One should not forget to remember the names of the architects who participated in its construction - they deserve it. They were V. Gregor and A. Elhenický. The Station served its purpose in this form until 1977, when it was extended by a new passenger hall linked to one of the underground lines. Fanta’s original building still awaits a thorough reconstruction. After disintegration of the Monarchy the Station was renamed after the American president Woodrow Wilson. During the Nazi occupation and in the period of Communism it was referred to as the Main Railway Station, the present denomination is the Main Woodrow Wilson Railway Station.
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