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Sázava Pacific

26.04.2012

This poetic name was given to railway line 210 in the direction Prague-Vršovice/Vrané nad Vltavou/Čerčany by ramblers as far back as the first half of the last century. And it well deserves the name. The train travels through the Sázava Canyon, where beautiful and wild countryside awaits you. You will glimpse the gurgling cascades of the Sázava and ramblers’ cabins nestled on the slopes of the valley along with little wooden cottages dotted around the romantic countryside. Anybody who enjoys the atmosphere of the Wild West can bring this to mind on this route.

How it all began

Of course construction was begun on the route in 1882 for industrial reasons. It led from Nusle to Modřany and was used by the Modřany sugar factory. The line was extended in 1905 to Jílové u Prahy, where it joined up with the line from Čerčany, which was already finished. František Křižík even tested electric railway traffic on this line. Trains travelled at a speed of 30 kilometres per hour and the batteries were recharged in Vršovice and Zbraslav. Seeing as one of the oldest railway lines in Bohemia trailed its way through the Sázava valley, it was also discovered by tourists, above all ramblers. The countryside here was reminiscent to them of the characteristic landscape of the Wild West from the novels of Jack London. This is why they renamed the little train the Sázava Pacific and the River Sázava the Golden River.

Technical parameters of the line

This originally architectural work was created in the hilly and rocky terrain along the whole length of the Sázava Valley. Fifteen tunnels had to be dug out along the line and the valley was bridged by three stone and five steel bridges. The most interesting bridge is the Žampach Bridge. It runs across the Kocour Valley not far from Jílové u Prahy. In 1899, when its seven arches were completed, it was the highest stone bridge in Bohemia. It measures 41.5 metres and Nusle Bridge in Prague is only one metre higher. If you get off here, you can take a small hike into Dolní Studené. There, a visit to the St. Joseph Mine awaits you, where 200 metres of gold-bearing mine corridors are open to the public. These date back to the 13th or 14th century when the royal mint was located in Jílové.

Ramblers wherever you look

Line 210 Prague-Vršovice/Vrané nad Vltavou/Čerčany was very popular among tourists from the very beginning. Ramblers were permanent customers on this route. The train was literally crammed with them every weekend. Passengers were everywhere - on the seats, in the aisles, in the toilet areas, on the roof and even hanging off the step plates. It was almost an obligation for every rambler from Prague to set out at the end of the week to the countryside on the Sázava Pacific.

And there were several possibilities for trips. You could take a sightseeing trip there and back by diesel train. You could ride the train, get off wherever you wanted and set off on foot with a rucksack on your back in the direction of Prague. The Sázava Trail is one of the most popular trails to this very day. It leads along the far bank of the River Sázava and there is a beautiful view of the whole valley from it.

Ramblers’ settlements sprung up here in the first half of the last century. Campsites with log cabins and totem poles in the middle. You can find traces of this unique phenomenon everywhere along the Sázava Trail. Although the decaying decorations with Indian motifs come across as somewhat amusing nowadays, they are a testament to the time. A memory of the times when most people were only able to escape into the countryside by train, when songs about the Wild West and founder of the rambling movement, Bob Hurikán, were sung in settlements with names such as Toronto, Valley of the Bees or Arizona.

And another way to enjoy this trip: you could get on the train with a boat and go as far as Týnec nad Sázavou. There you would get into your canoe and return to Prague along the river. This is by the way still possible today, only you don’t have to drag that boat along with you. In Týnec, they will rent you one and you can return it under Pikovice Bridge. To this very day, this is one of the most popular and most romantic river routes in the country.

What else can you see on the line?

You don’t have to worry about crowds nowadays. There is no longer so much interest in rambling, but the poetry of the route has not changed at all. You can get on a double-decker regional train in Vršovice, Braník, or Modřany in Prague which will take you to Čerčany via Vrané nad Vltavou. A visit to the small town of Jílové u Prahy is also interesting. Although the stop where the Sázava Pacific lets you off is about two kilometres from the centre and you have to negotiate a steep hill, a visit to the small town is worth your while. The birth of the town dates back to the start of the 13th century and it is closely connected with the mining of gold-bearing ores which took place here. One hundred years later, Jílové was raised to royal chamber town status.

However, the town achieved its greatest boom at the time of Charles IV. He established a mint here, because gold was already being mined in 11 adits. Unfortunately, the town’s repute began to want under the reign of his son, Wenceslas II. It burned to the ground several times, the mines gradually became flooded and work in them ceased. The town strove for a new boom in the 19th century, but in vain. The Museum of Gold Mining in the “Coin House” commemorates its former glory and there is also a permanent rambling exhibition there. If you decide to travel from Čerčany all the way to Světlá nad Sázavou, you can visit Český Šternberk Castle, which is one of the most frequently visited castles in our country. This was built in 1242 by Zdeslav of Divišov. The nationalised castle was returned to his descendant Zdeněk Šternberk in the 1990s, who uses part of the castle as his residence. The rest is open to the public.
A monastery which has been converted into a Gothic chateau awaits you at Sázava station. According to legend, this was founded by Prince Oldřich in 1032. A tour of the interiors in various architectural styles awaits you in this National Cultural Monument.

source: Czechtourism

Objects:

SázavaČeský ŠternberkZbraslav Chateau

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