EXACTLY 100 years after it launched, the so-called Vienna tram symbolically returned to Bratislava in early February. On the occasion of the anniversary of the launch of the railway connecting then-Prešporok and Vienna, Dopravný Podnik Bratislava (DPB), the city’s public transport company, in cooperation with the Club of Friends of Public City and Regional Transport, prepared two rides in Bratislava on a historical tram and carriages for the general public, the TASR newswire reported.

Both round trip rides started and ended at Námestie Ľudovíta Štúra, where the route used to start as well as end. While historical trams were used for these rides, these were not those originally used on this route. One of original vehicles, the electric locomotive Ganz Eg 6, is under reconstruction.
The roughly 70-km long electrified tram rail route in then-Bratislava and Vienna was launched in 1914 and was in operation until the Second World War. For the first time its operation was interrupted in 1918 after the split of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was partially re-opened on the Slovak side in October 1919 and on the Austrian side in December of the same year. However, the line now went through a border patrol station.

The electric locomotives and carriages were sold to Austria in 1941. After the war, and the rise of the Iron Curtain, the connection remained permanently closed and became a kind of symbol of lost freedom.

Three tram enthusiasts, Michal Milata, Roman Delikát and Peter Martinko, contributed significantly to rescuing the original engine Ganz Eg 6 used on the route from destruction in 2011. They knew that Stern und Hafferl company bought the Ganz Eg 5 and Ganz Eg 6 locomotives in 1941 and that these ran on routes near Linz. They also knew that Ganz Eg 5 had been reconstructed and exhibited in Museumstramway in Mariazell. But they did not have any information about the fate of Ganz Eg 6, Bratislavské Noviny wrote in February.

In early 2011 they contacted Stern und Hafferl and found out that the locomotive terminated its operation in December 2010 and that it is destined for liquidation or sale. Stern und Hafferl agreed with the sale of the historical locomotive for the price of scrap, €9,500. The Club of Friends of Public City and Regional Transport held a fundraising collection and Bratislavský Okrášľovací Spolok paid the rest. The locomotive returned to Bratislava in October 2011. Now it is undergoing thorough reconstruction to be completed later this year.