May Day holiday brings passenger services to Czech industrial network

PASSENGER services ran on May Day on part of the large industrial rail network in the Czech city of Ostrava as part of a public holiday tradition to have open day events at industrial locations in the city.

There were free hourly shuttle trains for visitors, operating between the Vítkovice Doprava loco depot (close to the Škoda Vagonka works) for about four kilometres to Vítkovice Cylinders.

The trains are nicknamed the ‘Vítkovice metro’ as they utilise ex-Prague metro cars Nos. 2395 and 2501, top-and-tailed by VD locos. No. 703 821 is often used, which has been converted to operate on natural gas.

The ‘Vítkovice metro’ shuttle seen on the Vítkovice internal network on May 1 with gas-powered, two-axle shunter No. 703 821 leading and Bo-Bo diesel No. 740 621 on the rear. SHAUN WALLACE

Ostrava was once a major centre of heavy industry, and despite relative decline, a complex network of operational standard and narrow gauge freight lines remains.

Private freight operator Vítkovice Doprava (VD) maintains a locomotive depot servicing the locos, providing transport around the area of the Vítkovice steelworks.

As the country’s second largest city, Ostrava is trying to leave an industrial past of coal and steel production behind and rebrand, with some derelict factories being converted for modern use, such as an arts centre.

Our thanks to Shaun Wallace for information in this report.

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