December 21st 2016 update: See the tram makeover and new Christmas lights here.
January 7th 2016 update – the Christmas tree has gone as per 12th night rules. But there is now a map that shows the location of the tram and I’ve written a new article about it here.
In January 2015, a special tram was launched in Prague. Red in colour with an ‘M’ on the front and the rear of the tram cut off – like a pick up truck.
I took this picture in April this year ( just departing from Nuselské schody tram stop heading up the hill toward IP Pavlova). Back then, I had no idea why this tram existed, nor its function.
The tram would appear at different times and on different lines. I started to wonder if there was more than one. I also wondered if the rear of the tram was supposed to carry goods or spare parts. Later I discovered that the tram’s purpose was to grease the tram lines and it was called Mazací tramvaj – there is only one.
It turned out I wasn’t the only Mazací tram-spotter. A Mazací tram Facebook group had been set up for fans of the tram – and people were posting pictures from various locations.
The Prague Transport Authority (DPP) soon became aware of the popularity of the Mazací tramvaj and wrote some information on their website (in Czech). Apparently this is a 25-year old type-T3 tram no. 5572 that was previously used as a snow plough and hauling tram. During the summer and autumn of 2014, its application was extended to include a lubrication system. The tram its own route and schedule. Operation starts daily around five in the morning and ends late in the evening when it returns to the Pankrác depot. Each day the tram covers more than 200 kilometres.
And now a Christmas tree and webcam have been added to the rear of the tram! You can see the tree and watch the tram’s progress via this site (sadly has a small advert before the live webcam). If you can’t see the video it means the tram is in the depot (see pic below). Even better you can control the coloured lights on the tree from this site. I’ve tried a few times, only choosing one colour set and it seems to work.
So thanks DPP for Christmas Mazací tramvaj!
If you see the following picture, the tram is in the depot: