AROUND SLOVAKIA

Legendary train Slovenská strela turns 78

THE LEGENDARY train Slovenská strela (Slovak Missile, in reference to its speed), which connects Bratislava and Prague, celebrated its 78th anniversary. On July 13, 1936, the train appeared on the tracks for the first time and transported passengers between the two cities in 4 hours and 52 minutes.

Slovenská strela-Pendolino, Slovenská strela-Pendolino, (Source: SITA)

THE LEGENDARY train Slovenská strela (Slovak Missile, in reference to its speed), which connects Bratislava and Prague, celebrated its 78th anniversary. On July 13, 1936, the train appeared on the tracks for the first time and transported passengers between the two cities in 4 hours and 52 minutes.

“The rail motor coach class M 290.0 had a very progressive engineering solution for that time,” locomotive expert Miloš Slávik explained for the TASR newswire. “It was able to transport 72 passengers, and it even had a snack carriage,” he added. Originally, it left Bratislava at 5:50 each day, and arrived in Prague at 10:42. The opposite track started at 18:35, arriving in Bratislava at 23:26.

It had a maximum speed of 130 kilometres per hour – and for comparison, the fastest steam train had an average speed of 68Km/Hour. Since 1939, Slovenská strela covered the distance of about 320 kilometres in 4 hours and 21 minutes, and it had one stop.

Currently, it can connect both capitals in 4 hours and 11 minutes. The train has always been quite popular as it is fast and does not stop as frequently as ordinary trains.

During World War II, both motor coaches were put aside due to a lack of petrol, which was needed for military efforts. But in 1945, the Slovenská strela symbolically reconnected Czechs and Slovaks.

However, after the war, the motor coaches did not return to the route between Bratislava and Prague; currently, only one has been preserved and is on display in the museum of the Tatra Kopřivnice vehicle producer.

Afterwards, steam and electric engines were used to pull Slovenská strela. Several years ago, super-fast Pendolino trains were used for this route, which reduced the ride to 3 hours and 49 minutes, though this is no longer the case.

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