COLAS CZ, a.s. is reconstructing tramway lines in four Czech cities – Prague, Olomouc, Plzeň and Ostrava.
Last year, it has been 130 years already since the first tramway started running in Prague. Street railway transport has proven to be safe, fast and comfortable, so no wonder that tramways are now in service in seven Czech cities. In four of them, COLAS shows that we are able to combine our time-tested know-how in road construction with railway construction. We are not only involved in the reconstruction of selected tramway sections, but also in building or repairing tramway stops.
In terms of the amount of work required, the Ohrada - Palmovka tramway line is the largest project. Since 1990, it has been connecting Žižkov with Libeň and was the first line in the metropolis to partly run on an estacade bridge. A complete reconstruction will take place here until the summer of next year, the first ever in the history of this tramway line. The contract is executed by COLAS in consortium with FIRESTA-Fišer.
The entire Ohrada - Palmovka line, almost a 1.5-kilometre-long track, will be repaired, including the most interesting passage in terms of its structure - the estacade bridge, which traverses the valley and three railway lines and affords one of the most beautiful views of Prague. The bridge-supporting structure must be cleaned, repaired and completely re-insulated. This will require the extraction of 2,650 m3 of gravel from the ballast; an approximately one half of which will be reused for construction purposes. Before that, however, the entire track superstructure must be dismantled, which amounts to 1,246 metres of rails and more than 1,800 wooden sleepers. These are unique as such, the vast majority of tramway lines already have concrete sleepers, which will be used here as well - so will the new rails.
Krejcárek tramway stop will also be modified. The reconstruction, worth almost a quarter of a billion CZK, is scheduled to be finished in June 2023.
COLAS also won a technically interesting contract in Olomouc, a city where tramways first started running back in 1899. The City of Olomouc and the DPMO (transport provider in Olomouc) are gradually repairing and modernising tramway lines and stops in the metropolis of the ethnic region Haná. The construction is currently taking place in the heart of the city, in Masaryk Avenue. Tramway stop U Bystřičky is to undergo a complete transformation, 103 metres of rails in each direction will be replaced in the section between the bridge over the Bystřička River and there will be a flood protection measures installed. The follow-up construction, where COLAS is a subcontractor for the construction of the fixed carriageway, is going to be of a new bridge over the Morava River.
COLAS is carrying out the total reconstruction in Masaryk Avenue "wall to wall", i.e. construction of all the pavements, roadway and tramway with tramway rails, which are to be recessed in asphalt. The biggest transformation will be the U Bystřičky stop remodelling in the direction to the main station; a new "Vienna" type stop will be built here. This means it will have a height arrangement that allows comfortable boarding of the tramway, while maintaining a driving lane for car traffic. The new platform will be barrier-free, 36-metre-long and four-metre-wide. This will be only the second instance of this modern type of platform arrangement being done in Olomouc. The first "Vienna" type stop has been in service since 2011 near the Flora Exhibition Centre.
The entire contract, including the new stop, is scheduled to completion this June.
COLAS is also building new tracks in the West Bohemian metropolis. The company has entered into a contract with the Statutory City of Plzeň for the repair of the double-track tram line in Koterovská Street, in the 967-metre-long section between General Píka Square and Světovar. The tramway line no. 2 consists of reinforced concrete panels with gutters (specifically the "BKV" type) and is in a generally poor technical condition. Due to the amount of defects on the line, tramways even have to run at a maximum speed of 10 km/h in some sections. This shall change thanks to a general overhaul. A new fixed carriageway with flat-bottom web-type rails will be used throughout the reconstructed section.
The contract for Koterovská Street in Plzeň, where tramways have been running since 1962, also includes a repair of the traction mains including a modification of the signalling equipment, a modification of the Brojova tramway stop, where new markers will be installed, and a reconstruction of the adjacent paved areas. The entire construction, which will significantly contribute to a safer and more comfortable travelling in the metropolis of the West Bohemian region, is scheduled be completed in September.
The last railway construction currently being carried out by COLAS is in Ostrava, near the Ostravar Arena. During the reconstruction of the bridge over Plzeňská Street, Tylova tramway stop, which is mainly used by visitors of the ice rink inside the arena, will also undergo some modifications. In addition to the reconstruction of the existing tramway platforms, the contract also involves the cancellation of a western-stairway corridor, which will be replaced by a new barrier-free lift, as well as a complete rehabilitation of the underpass, including an installation of new energy distribution lines. The stop itself will be equipped with a new system for information and roofing. COLAS will also lay 100 metres of new track superstructure there. Thanks to the reconstruction of the underpass and barrier-free access, Ostrava will not only acquire modern tramway stops with decent facilities, but also get prepared for the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championships which is scheduled to take place in the nearby Ostravar Arena in 2024. The preliminary round matches held there would be those of the teams in Group B, Group A's matches will be held in Prague.
Let's remind that this is the second major railway construction in Ostrava within a rather short period of time that COLAS participated in. Last spring, the company completed an almost 650-metre-long tramway section in Výškovická Street, where "green tracks" were created – the tramway superstructure is covered with grass strips. In 2015, COLAS also participated in the modernisation of two sections of the iconic Liberec - Jablonec nad Nisou tramway line, which won the Construction of the Year Award. With numerous contracts in a number of Czech cities, COLAS proves that it our company has become not only a major player in the field of road engineering, but also in railway engineering as well.