Liberec    SUMMARY:
Opened 11.11.1897
Gauge 1000 mm, regauging to 1435 mm in progress
Voltage 600 V dc
No.Of Cars 50 (approx.)
No.Of Depots 1
Maximum Track Length 25,4 km (1955-1960)
Current Track Length 17,7 km
Maximum No.Of Lines 5 (certain periods 1971-1996)
Current No.Of Lines 4 (no night service)

Liberec, city under mountains Jizerske Hory with 108.000 inhibitans today operates smallest tramway network in Czech Republic, and the only one narrow gauge network after 1970 when Usti nad Labem abandoned their tramways. In the end of 19th century was Liberec (also known under german name Reichenberg) very rich city. To show it, city decided to built tramway network. First line between Railway station and Lidove Sady (there's now Zoo, opened 1928 as first Czech Zoo) was opened in 1897 with 8 tramcars. Until end of century second line to Rochlice was opened. In 1900 their city-rival Jablonec innaugurated tramways too. Shortly after this, connection between these two cities was proposed, but plans were rejected for more than next 50 years. In 1905 new line to Ruzodol followed, so two lines, 1 from Railway st. to Lidove sady and 2 from Rochlice to Ruzodol were in service. New tramcars from EAG Schuckert were delivered.

In 1906 during German-Czech Exhibition temporary track was built to move passengers into it. Third line from Soukenne names into Horni Hanychov, today's ski resort was opened in 1912. New german tramcars were again delivered, expanding fleet to 25 vehicles. Until end of WW2 track was mainly unchanged, with one exception in 1929 when line to Ruzodol was slightly extended, and with second exception in 1932 when short line between Railway station and Viadukt (onto Hanychov's route) was built and line between Viadukt and Soukenne Square was abandoned.

After WW2 was tramway fleet renewed with MT6 tramcar, Czech unique tramcar for 1000 mm gauge. Shortly after WW2 new projects about the connection between Liberec and Jablonec were created. In 1950 in Jablonec started to built, in 1954 they reached Vratislavice, village between these two cities and in 1955 was route completed. Route was operated with both Liberec and Jablonec tramcars until the closure of Jablonec's city tramways in 1965. Tramway network reached it's maximum length, but in 1960 was closed line 2 between Rochlice and Ruzodol.

Modern heavy tramcars of T1 type were not suitable for 1000 mm gauge, therefore first modern tramway was T2 type. First prototype 6002 arrived in 1957 and was tested (not in passenger service) here, and then moved to Bratislava. After 1960 batch of 12 tramcars of T2 type was delivered, after 1965 they were followed by -guess what- T3 type again. Additional T2 tramcars were purchased in years 1968-1971 from Usti nad Labem (they closed in 1970 their tramways). In the mid of 70's tramvay route to Jablonec was renewed, in end of 80's was renewed track in city of Jablonec too. In the mid of 80's were tramways in very bad shape. Track was in a bad condition, and tramways becomes unsafe. State authorities decided: Tramways needs to be completely renewed, or abandoned.

In August 1990 upgrading began. During a period of 1990 to 1995 main line between Zoo and Railway Bridge (Viadukt) was upgraded with unique three-rail system, that will allow both 1000 mm and 1435 mm operation. This was probably the worst work, because from time to time was complete network paralysed. New central terminus in Fugnerova street was opened in 17th November 1995. During 1996 a short section to the depot was regauged, and some of the depot itself. From December 1996, regauging has started on the Viadukt-Kubelikova St. track, this should be done for 1435 mm only. Regauging of this track is expected to last until March 1998. A new double track will be built from Vapenka (Calcium Mill) to Kubelikova St., replacing the existing single track. Rest of track to Hanychov will be upgraded later, this project ends probably in 2001. There's still hope to built new track between Horni Hanychov and funiculaire station to Jested hill (1012 meters high), this is approx 1 km far.

Operation on normal gauge should start in mid-February 1997, but it is delayed, since Liberec does not have enough funds to buy normal gauge tramcars immediately. However it must start before March 1998, so In mid-1997 or later, new normal-gauge, ultra-low-floor tramcars from the Czech manufacturer "Tatra" in Prague, type RT6N1, are expected to be delivered. Currently, there are approx. 30 tramways of type Tatra T3. Additional eight are now in the Skoda Works at Plzen (Pilsen) where they are being modernised. First two tramcars returned in February 1996. They are prepared for regauging to 1435 mm, but they are now in service on Jablonec's route. Because of the shortage of tramcars, the city has purchased six old tramcars of type Tatra T2 from Ostrava (for a very reasonable price) in 1995, and two more in 1996. These cars date back to the years 1958-1961; they were reagauged from 1435 mm to 1000 mm and now they are in service in Liberec. Some of these were orignally delivered for Usti nad Labem, where they operated on normal gauge too... They operate now under No's. 20 to 27. Also used tramways from Praha (T3 type} were purchased, and they are now modernised in Skoda Works too.

Situation of Jablonec's route is unclear. After regauging of Hanychov's route, there's hope to regauge entire track to Jablonec, but Jablonec does not want to invest money. So it is possible, that Jablonec's route will be regauged only to Vratislavice, and rest to Jablonec will be abandoned, but it is worst solution and all and we can hope, that this 'Momentary Lapse Of Reason' ) never becomes a reality.

The following lines are in operation at 31.12.1999
Line 2 Lidove Sady - Kubelikova
Line 5 Viadukt - Fugnerova -Vratislavice  Workdays only, Viadukt - Fugnerova rush hours only
Line 11 Fugnerova - Vratislavice - Jablonec

CZECH REPUBLIC - Liberec, new depot hall 1998
CZECH REPUBLIC - Liberec, first normal-gauge tramway, Kubelíkova, 1998
CZECH REPUBLIC - Liberec, track upgrading in front of depot, summer 1998
CZECH REPUBLIC - Liberec, old and new track at Kubelíkova triangle
CZECH REPUBLIC - Liberec, track at Kubelikova triangle
CZECH REPUBLIC - Liberec, tramway T2
CZECH REPUBLIC - Liberec, tramways T2 21+22+23 close to depot
CZECH REPUBLIC - Liberec, tramway T3 close to viaduct
CZECH REPUBLIC - Liberec, refurbished T3 close to viaduct

Map of network can be viewed here

For the information about historic vehicles please follow link