The first electric passenger tram line was put into service in 1914.
A tram used to stop at the cemetery on Rastislavova Street in Košice, but today only an old steel tram pole reminds residents of a long-gone track.
The pole was used to fix the catenary of the trams.
“Although built in 1936, the traction column dates back to the beginnings of the construction and operation of the first trams in Košice,” said Ivan Tatranský of the Historical Society of Urban Transport in Košice.
It is now the only one of its kind in the city. In some places in Košice the concrete foundations of the poles have been preserved but parts of the poles have been removed.
Track closed in the 1960s
The pole is even declared a monument of Košice.
“It is assumed that the pole comes from the years of construction of the first tram tracks, either from stockpiles or from the reconstruction of another track,” Tatranský said.
The track on the old Peštianska road, the current Južná avenue, of which the pole was a part, ended first at the old Franck factory. During the First World War, in 1915, the track was extended to the cemetery. Twenty years later, the terminal section of the line is shortened.
Only wooden poles were used on the original, unshortened route to the cemetery, Tatranský said.
The section of the track from Južná Avenue to the cemetery ceased to be used for regular passenger transport around 1962. In 1965 the line was canceled and removed.
The historic development of urban rail transport in Košice began with the signing of a contract for the construction and operation of a horse-drawn tram between Košice and businessman István Popper in 1890.
The first electric railway in Košice was built by Hennig Hartwich & Co., Budapest. The contract for the construction and operation of the tramway between Košice and the company was approved by the Ministry of Commerce in Budapest on October 10, 1912. The company was registered as Kassai Villamos Közúti Vasút, rt (Košice Electric Street Railway, joint-stock company).
The construction of the power line was successfully completed and the operation of freight transport began on December 30, 1913. Two months later, passenger transport also began to operate.
“Tram transportation became and still is today a shaping element of the city of Košice,” Tatranský said.