What made it unique?
The electromechanical power transmission, which allows it to move off with an electric drive and switch to a mechanical drive once it accelerates. This idea came from Josef Sousedík – the Wallachian Edison – a genius inventor and hero who deserves our respect and attention.
The railcars were operated on the regular line between Bratislava – Brno – Prague and reached an average speed of about 90 km per hour. The travel time was 4 hours and 20 minutes and the train stopped only in Brno. Thanks to its speed, the travel time in the steam era was reduced by an hour, and those who wanted to enjoy the speed and comfort had to reserve a seat for the first time in history.
After the division of Czechoslovakia in 1939 into Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia and Slovak Republic, Slovenská Strela stopped operating. During World War 2, the pair of railcars was stabled due to lack of fuel.
And how did it turn out? Unfortunately, only one survived. The M 290.001 railcar was retired in 1953 and scrapped after a fire. The M 290.002 railcar was retired in 1960 and handed over to the Tatra Museum in Kopřivnice in the same year.
The repaired M 290.002 railcar should reappear on the tracks in a great celebration in the autumn of 2020. Let it bring joy to all railway enthusiasts and become a legacy of such an important history. Hats off to everyone who took part in the restoration work, who master the crafts of our ancestors and are simply skilful.
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