Steel tramway pole in Košice reminder of city's transporation history

The first electric tram line for passengers was put into use in 1914.

A historical Košice tram with a column for traction installed nearby in 1919.A historical Košice tram with a column for traction installed nearby in 1919. (Source: A. Tatranský: Košické koľaje 1891 – 2004)

A tram used to stop at the cemetery on Rastislavova Street in Košice, but today only an old steel tramway pole reminds locals of a long-defunct track.

The pole was used to fasten the overhead line of trams.

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"Though erected in 1936, the column for traction dates back to the beginnings of the construction and operation of the first Košice trams," said Ivan Tatranský from the Historical Society of Urban Transport in Košice.

Today it is the only one of its kind in the city. In some places in Košice, the concrete foundations of the poles have been preserved but parts of the poles were removed.

Track closed in the 1960s

The pole is even declared a Košice monument.

"It is assumed that the pole comes from the years of construction of the first tram tracks, either from stocks or the reconstruction of another track," Tatranský said.

The track on the former Peštianska Road, today's Južná Avenue, of which the pole was a part, first ended at the former Franck Factory. During World War I, in 1915, the track was extended to the cemetery. Twenty years later, the end section of the line was shortened.

Only wooden poles were used on the original unshortened track to the cemetery, said Tatranský.

The section of the track from Južná Avenue to the cemetery ceased to be used for regular passenger transport around 1962. In 1965, the line was cancelled and removed.

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City-shaping element

The historical development of urban rail transport in Košice began with the signing of a contract for the construction and operation of a horse-drawn street railway between Košice and the businessman István Popper in 1890.

The first electric railway in Košice was built by Hennig Hartwich & Co., Budapest. The contract for the construction and operation of the street railway between Košice and the company was approved by the Ministry of Commerce in Budapest on October 10, 1912. The company was registered under the name Kassai Villamos Közúti Vasút, r. t. (Košice Electric Street Railway, joint-stock company).

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The construction of the electric line was successfully completed and operation of freight transport was started on December 30, 1913. Two months later, passenger transport also began to operate.

"Tram transport has become a city-shaping element of Košice and is still so today," Tatranský said.

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