Czech Republic

May 16-26, 2003

T1 No. 528 (ČKD Tatra, 1957) pausing for photos at the Svornosti stop in Ostrava, Czech Republic, during an ERA charter. Jeff Erlitz photo (May 23, 2003)

The Electric Railroaders Association invites you to join us for our seventh in our long series of European historic tram tours. This time, our host city will be Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and home of one of the world’s most important collections of historic tram cars. Join us as we depart from New York on Friday, May 16th to celebrate our special version of Prague Spring with historic trams, interurbans, fabulous dinners, and the world-famous Czech Pilsner Beer! In addition to Prague, we will be visiting the cities of Plzen, Brno, Liberec and Tabor. The tour will end on Monday, May 26th (Memorial Day).

The planning for this trip has been delayed due to the recent flooding in Prague that caused extensive disruption to both subway and tram operations and temporarily suspended all historic tram charters. The trams are now back to normal, the subway is almost back to normal, and we have been assured that full service with normal procedures for tram charters will be in effect well prior to our arrival. We didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to visit Prague this year and trust that you will be able to make the decision to join us with a little less time than we have allotted in the past.

In Prague, we will be staying at the Hotel Ibis Karlin, a comfortable, centrally located, 3-star hotel adjacent to the Krizikova Station on Metro Line B and Tram Lines 8 and 24. For our mutual convenience, we will remain in this hotel for our entire tour and there will be no need to transfer baggage. The hotel offers a full breakfast buffet included in the room rate. We will have at least two group dinners in famous Prague restaurants and intend to visit both the Pilsner Urquell brewery in Plzen and the Budvar brewery in Ceske Budejovice. Our visits to the other cities will be day trips via Czech Railways with group tickets. Most trains will offer dining cars enabling us to have breakfast and dinner enroute.

Our tentative plans for historic tram operation are as follows:

Prague: We are planning three full days of historic tram operations on the Prague system. The museum has informed us that there are at least six different sets of historic equipment (mostly motor-trailer sets) fully restored and available for charter and we intend to operate all of them. There will also be ample opportunity to see and photograph the entire museum collection. We are also planning visits to the main shop and operations control center of the Prague Metro as well as the main interlocking tower in the Prague Hlavni Nadrazi (main railway station).

Plzen: A very important historic tram, designed by Krizik (the Czech Tom Edison) and constructed in 1899, is available for charter. It is the oldest preserved tram in the Czech Republic. We will also operate a T-1 or T-2 car. At the conclusion of our tour, we will visit the Pilsner Urquell brewery for dinner.

Brno: Both a 1926 Ringhoffer (predecessor of Tatra) car and a later 1947 tram are available for charter. We will also visit the Brno tram museum, which has a very important collection but, like the museum in Budapest, is not physically connected to the operating tram system. It is in a car barn on an abandoned line and hopefully will be reconnected to the working system at some time in the future.

Liberec: Unlike the other systems, Liberec has some narrow gauge (1000mm) remaining. We will be chartering both a 1929 Brown Boveri single truck motor and a T-2 car.

Tabor: This is one of the most important highlights of our trip. In 1903, the Czech Railways electrified the branch line from Tabor to Bechyne. It was the first main line electrification in what is now the Czech Republic. The four original 1903 double truck motor cars were still in service in the early 1970s. Now, one of these cars has been completely restored and it is available for charter, along with an electric locomotive dating from 1929. Join us as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the electrification of this landmark rail line. At the conclusion of our trip, we will continue south by train to Ceske Budejovice to visit the Budvar brewery.

Rates for this tour are as follows:

Airfare and hotel: $1,325/person for double room; $1,575 for single room
Hotel only: $651/person for double room; $901 for single room
Airfare only: $724
Tour activities: $600/person (including all tram charters, Czech Rail fares, and two group dinners)

Travel to and from Prague, if traveling with the group, will be aboard Czech Air non-stop from New York-JFK. Additional days may be added on either before or after the group tour. For those additional days and for all hotel and air reservations, please contact:

Panair Travel, Inc.
P.O. Box 658001
Fresh Meadows, N.Y. 11365-8001

Applicants must pay the E.R.A. for the deposit and the balance for the tour activities only. The balance for the hotel and airfare, if applicable, must be paid directly to Panair Travel. A deposit of $300 per person, due by February 10, must be sent with this application. Please make checks payable to the Electric Railroaders Association, Inc. Balance of payment is due March 15, 2003. Additional, more detailed information will be sent to you after we receive your filled-out application. You will be asked to supply your passport number with your final payment.

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