The Czech national carrier has launched the web portal www.pohledzvlaku.cz, which offers a look into the work of train drivers and an unusual perspective on the Czech Republic’s railway lines from the train driver’s point of view. At present, it follows the journey along the first four railway lines. The portal’s most recent addition is a recording of the journey from Františkovy Lázně to Plzeň as seen from the driver’s cabin of a Pendolino train.

“We created the portal Pohledzvlaku.cz for railway enthusiasts and everyone interested in the railway. It provides a closer look at the unusual work of a train driver as well as an unusual view of the railway from the train cab,” says Václav Rubeš, editor-in-chief of ČD pro Vás magazine and head of the project. “It’s almost impossible to have a look at the driver’s cabin during normal operations, and the same is true for watching the route, the signals and everything else that goes on in railway operations from the point of view of the train driver. Yet we know that there are many railway enthusiasts as well as people who travel by train who would like to experience a railway journey from the train driver’s point of view. That’s why we’ve decided to gradually record the most interesting railway lines in this manner, and in so doing to bring them closer to people who are interested,” Václav Rubeš adds.

At present, the website offers views of train journeys on four interesting lines. These are the mountain railway from Zábřeh na Moravě to Jeseník, known as the Silesian Semmering, the popular suburban line from Prague’s Masaryk Station to Úvaly, the scenic line through the Vltava River Valley from Masaryk Station to Kralupy nad Vltavou, and, most recently, the attractive almost 90-minute Pendolino journey from  Františkovy Lázně to Plzeň.

As Václav Rubeš explains, the site does not merely offer an ordinary view of the line through the eyes of the train driver, as is common for many DVDs following railway lines: “To ensure that the viewer has the best possible experience following the route, we have used several cameras in various places. In addition to the classic view of the line, one can also select a view into the train cab and follow all the train driver’s actions. And the recording of the Pendolino journey offers yet another camera view – from above the train driver with a view of part of the railway line at the same time. All recordings include a view from the back of the train as well. Technical connoisseurs will also appreciate the camera located right on the bogie, providing unique views of the of Pendolino’s active tilting system in action. In order to make the site as informative as possible, it also contains explanations of individual signals and other trains which we pass during the journey.”

ČD is preparing recordings featuring other interesting lines and rail vehicles as well. For example, the site’s creators want to have a look at the Tábor – Bechyně line aboard a historic “Bobina” class 100 locomotive, and the legendary Sázava Pacific line through the Sázava River Valley with a no-less-iconic “Bardot” locomotive. Other improvements are planned as well, including links to virtual tours of the railway vehicles from which the recordings are made. Virtual tours of locomotives, electric and diesel multiple units, and other ČD passenger rail vehicles are available on another interesting portal, www.bluetrains.cz.