170 years of the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway

170 years of the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway

The city of Ostrava supported two different projects of the Moravian-Silesian Railway Museum with a grant from a fund for supporting projects celebrating the 750th anniversary of the first written mention of Ostrava. The first project is an exhibition celebrating 170 years of the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway, the second one is processing and printing of three publications on the history of the Lipník – Bohumín railway and the adjacent steam depot of Moravská Ostrava and workshops of the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway in Přívoz.

The connection of Ostrava to the railway network was a significant milestone in the development of the city. The main reason for constructing the railway was to bring the Ferdinand Railway closer to the source of coal and to connect Vienna with Silesia and Galicia. The section between Lipník and Bohumín was 76 km long and was constructed between 1844 and 1847.  It was officially opened on 1 May 1847. ‘This exhibition reminds us of the 170th anniversary of this extraordinary event andat the same time contributes to the celebrations of the 750th anniversary of the first written mention of Ostrava,’ said Moravian-Silesian Railway Museum director Vojtěch Hermann.

‘It will be open to the public inside the Ostrava City Centre Railway Station from the beginning of May to April 2018. The exhibition presents visitors with detailed historical data that have never been published before, shows interesting old documents, drawings and photos, railway-related items, a model of a passenger train from the middle of the 19th century and other devices connected to this railway. One of the interesting facts you will find out here is, for example, the reason why the Ostrava Main Station was built within the Přívoz municipality, 3 km far from the centre of Moravian Ostrava, whose inhabitants had to walk on foot to get there.’

Organized transport of passengers began only in the mid-1960s, when fiacre drivers and cabmen started to offer their services. Transport of goods and metallurgical material was provided by wagons driving down the then only and often muddy street, today’s Nádražní Street, which was also used for driving cattle to a slaughterhouse. It wasn’t until 1 August, 1856, that the ironworks in Vítkovice built between its works and Přívoz a horse-drawn railway, which was also connected to the Karolina pit.

The opening of the exhibition was held on 1 May, 2017, and the exhibition is open to the public on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

This unique exhibition is followed by a new publication of the Railway Museum issued on the occasion of two anniversaries containing number 7, namely the 170th anniversary of the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway and 750 years since the first written mention of Ostrava. The first part of the publication describes the history of the construction of the section between Lipník and Bohumín, and a significant part is devoted to the Moravian Ostrava and Přívoz municipalities in relation not only to the railway but also to metallurgy and coal mining. This first steam railway in the Ostrava region was one of the first in the Czech Lands and whole Austria-Hungary and was built by the Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway Company, named after the then Emperor Ferdinand I.

The publication was launched on 1 May at the opening of the exhibition in the historic building of the Ostrava City Centre Railway Station. By the National Railway Day in autumn, two other publications will have been prepared by the Railway Museum, and they will deal with the history of the railway workshops and steam depot of Přívoz.

Both projects, prepared by the Moravian-Silesian Railway Museum in the year of Ostrava’s significant jubilee, remind us in a dignified and attractive manner of Ostrava’s rich and interesting history.