Prague No. 180 (originally 266)

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Electric Tramways of the Royal City of Prague No. 180 (originally 266)

Photo: Jim Dignan

Although tramcars can fairly claim to have changed the course of history as they contributed to the transformation of predominantly agricultural countries into modern industrialised nations, few individual tramcars have entered the history books. One rare exception is Prague 180 (originally numbered as 266), which hit the headlines in August 1968 while en route from its native Czechoslovakia to its new home in Crich, Derbyshire, when it narrowly escaped being blockaded by the invading Russian army as it put an end to a period of political liberalisation known as ‘the Prague spring’.

The original tramcar no. 180 dates back to 1905, when it was built by Franz Ringhoffer and Co., and has an interesting history. It was one of a small number of tramcars that were equipped with an unusual method of current collection that made use of surface contact studs laid at intervals between the tracks instead of the more commonplace overhead wires or central conduit rail.

The fifteen tramcars that were adapted in this way were used on a route that crossed the historic Charles bridge, which is one of the oldest stone bridges in Europe and dates back to 1357-1362. Because of its antiquity there was no overhead wiring on the bridge itself during the early years of tramway operation and a famous photograph featured number 180 crossing the bridge without any visually intrusive wiring to detract from the scene.

However, surface contact stud operation was abandoned in 1908. In that same year tramcar no. 266 (the car that is now in Crich’s collection) was built. Although superficially similar in appearance to 180, this tramcar belonged to a different series and was never equipped to take up current by means of surface studs.


Type of tram
Single deck; all-enclosed four wheel electric tramcar
Red and white (The original livery for car 180 was green and white)
Seating capacity
Date built
Manufacturer of body
Franz Ringhoffer, Prague, 1905
Manufacturer of truck
Integral Skoda type
4’ 8½”
CKD 2 x 35hp
Skoda type (labelled Českomoravská Kolben-Daněk)
Current collector
Trolley Pole with fixed head (though originally fitted with equipment that also enabled it to pick up current from metal contacts located between the tracks).

Somewhat modernised during the inter-war the addition of platform doors, redesigned seats and new electrical equipment. During the 1930s the wheelbase on the trucks was reduced from 3.6 to 3.1 metres. At some state the original trolley pole was replaced by a pantograph.

Withdrawn from service

Withdrawn from service in Prague in about 1949 and transferred to the provincial town of Olomouc, where it was renumbered 61.
Withdrawn from Olomouc in 1967

Subsequent history

Eventually it was relegated to the role of depot shunter but it was offered to the tramway museum in 1967.

Restoration history

Restored to its original 1905 condition in Prague but now numbered 180 and shipped to Crich in August 1968 immediately prior to the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Current status
Restored; currently in non-operational condition.
Date started operating at Crich
1968. Has operated in 30 seasons, most recently in 2001.
Total mileage covered at Crich
Current location
  • 1908 – 1949Operational on original tramway
  • 1949 – 1967Operational on a different tramway, initially as a passenger tram but later as a depot shunter
  • 1968 – 1997Operational at Crich
  • 1997 – 2001On display and undergoing overhaul
  • 2001 – 2002Operational at Crich
  • 2002 –On display

Crich Tramway Village is a brand name for the National Tramway Museum (Accredited with Arts Council England), solely owned and operated by The Tramway Museum Society, incorporated in England with liability by guarantee (no. 744229). Registered charity number 313615. Our ICO number is Z6700136.