A tram which escaped from its home city just before the Soviet tanks arrived is the latest tram to feature in our “Picture in Time” series today – Prague 180. We find the tram in action at Crich in 1989, a world away from the scene it left 21 years earlier.
Prague 180 was offered to the Tramway Museum Society in the late 1960s and was accepted for the national collection. After negotiations arrangements were made for 180 to leave the then Czechoslovakia in 1968. As the lorry crossed the border on its way to the UK the Soviet occupation of the country began. Prague 180 arrived at Crich in the middle of the first Transport Extravaganza and was soon driven up the line. The tram was to run at Crich every year until 1997 (except for 1972) when it was withdrawn from use requiring workshop attention. Although the tram did make a brief return to service in 2001 it has mainly been confined to display within the depots with the occasional foray onto the depot fan for photographic opportunities during special events. With many trams at the Museum currently waiting for workshop attention it is likely that it will be many years before 180 again carries passengers at Crich.
Our two views today of 180 were taken on a wet 1st April 1989 and show the tram at the Museum Entrance and also at the Town End terminus.