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Old postcards of Prague   the Franz Josef I Railway Station

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In 1868 there were two railway stations in Prague: the station of the state railways in the new town and the station of the Bohemian Western railway in Smíchov. The rapid industrial boom, the interest of entrepreneurs and, last but not least, the state’s interest required further extension of the railway network. It was essential to connect the individual industrial areas with Prague, to interconnect them and to include them in the international network. First, it was necessary to connect Prague through the so-called southern route starting from Vienna. The company of Franz Josef I Railways (the Emperor is hereinafter referred to as FJI), which was established in 1869 resolved to achieve this connection via České Budějovice as soon as possible. As the management of this project was taken over by the well-known railway entrepreneurs, the brothers Klein and V. Lanna, the works on this link could be launched at full speed as early as in the course of the same year.

After a variety of overwhelming technical difficulties the link was successfully completed in 1871. Simultaneously with the works on the link, the construction of a new railway station was launched. The station was situated on an area measuring 100 x 850 metres between the Horse Gate and the New Gate, where the city wall still ran at that time. There could not have been a better choice of site - in the vicinity of Václavské Square, and later on in the very centre of Greater Prague. The station comprised from 1872 the much more modest train station serving the Prague-Neratovice railway. After the construction of the Prague connecting railway had been completed in 1888, passenger transport was launched between the FJI Station and the Smíchov Railway Station of the Bohemian Western Railway. This is how the operational difficulties arose at the FJI Station.

The original trackage was extended in 1892, and the transportation of goods was administered by the neighbouring storehouses of the Neratovice line, though all this proved to be only a temporary solution. The exclusion of oversized freight was contemplated more and more frequently as was the conversion of the FJI Station into a central railway station for passenger transport. This could only be achieved by means of a thorough reconstruction, the dominant part of which was to be the railway station building. The reconstruction of the entire area and the construction of a new railway station followed an elaborate scheme between 1901 and 1909, though the operation of the railway was not interfered with during this period. Simultaneously, the trackage was extended and a concrete platform was covered by a huge iron construction.

postcards Franz Josef I Railway Station

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