Historic “presidential train” begins whistle-stop tour across ex-Czechoslovakia

A special “presidential train” departs Prague’s Masaryk train station on Thursday on a tour to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. The train will have nine historic carriages, including those used by the very first president of independent Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk; post-war president Edvard Beneš, and the country’s first post-communist president, Václav Havel.

Over the summer, the “presidential train” will make stops in a total of 15 towns in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Tourists and history buffs will have a chance to view the oldest carriages – such as the one made in 1909 for the Austrian Emperor Franz Ferdinand, which Masaryk used in 1930 – from a special platform. The newer carriages, used by Communist-era presidents such as Klement Gottwald, Gustáv Husák and Antonín Novotný will be fully open for viewing.