Prague tram: a little engine that can steal a city’s heart

In this picture taken on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, a special tram used for lubricating tracks crosses a bridge in Prague, Czech Republic. The unusual, convertible looking like vehicle with the open back part appeared on the tracks of Prague in January and has attracted unexpected attention and gained thousands of fans. The Prague castle is in the background. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
In this picture taken on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, a special tram used for lubricating tracks crosses a bridge in Prague, Czech Republic. The unusual, convertible looking like vehicle with the open back part appeared on the tracks of Prague in January and has attracted unexpected attention and gained thousands of fans. The Prague castle is in the background. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — It’s not exactly Greased Lightning but this souped-up streetcar is winning plenty of fans.

The little red tram with a distinctive open back was launched in January to grease Prague’s tram tracks and reduce noise from other streetcars that carry passengers.

Since then it has gained celebrity status in the picturesque city.

A Facebook profile run by fans has almost 8,000 followers who share selfies with the tram. When the Prague Transport Authority put the tram on display as part of its 140th anniversary celebrations, thousands turned up for the event.

The tram, nicknamed “the cabriolet,” is enjoying a new surge in popularity after television network Slow TV attached a camera to the streetcar in September, and posted the stream live online. The webcam shows what’s going at the back of the tram as well as the scenery passing by. It has attracted some 300,000 viewers in less than two months.

“We’re delighted there’s a community of people who enjoy watching it,” said Ivan Sobicka of Slow TV, which specializes in broadcasting ordinary events live.

The tram is in action from early morning until midnight and travels up to 230 kilometers (143 miles) every day along Prague’s tracks, giving online viewers a picturesque virtual tour of the city’s famed sites.

The transport authority planned to have the streetcar in service for only one year. But its popularity means it’s unlikely to disappear any time soon.

Meanwhile, transport officials are trying to realize fans’ dreams of riding the tram.

“It won’t be easy,” said Jiri Stabl, a spokesman for the transport authority. “But we’ve been trying to figure out how to do it.”

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Online: http://slowtv.playtvak.cz/prave-ted-mazaci-tramvaj-jede-prahou-d73-/mazaci-tramvaj.aspx?c=A150908_111659_mazaci-tramvaj_plap

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