Park surrounding the railway station Plzeň – Jižní Předměstí / Pilsen – Southern Suburb

(Plzeň) Plzeň Jižní Předměstí
GPS: 49.740179N, 13.368121E

The railway station Plzeň – Jižní Předměstí lies in a dip in the terrain between the streets Hálkova and Borská where the railway tracks heading west of Pilsen towards Domažlice and Cheb intersect the area of the present-day Jižní Předměstí / Southern Suburb near the Škoda Works complex. A bridge, extending the north-south axis of Koperníkova Street into Němejcova Street and along Náměstí Českých Bratří / Czech Brethren Square further onto Mánesova Street, stands between two railway dispatch buildings constructed in the first twenty years of the last century.

At first, a track was constructed in the place of the indentation leading from the current Central Station to the German town of Furth im Wald. Subsequently, it was complemented by the Franz Joseph I. track heading north-west to Cheb. Both tracks split at the spot of the later-established railway station Plzeň – Jižní Předměstí. Construction of the first building, located in the western section of the station, commenced after the year 1900 and the building first accepted passengers for use in 1904. Together with the first station building, a bridge was built (since 2013 named after Ivan M. Jirous) with an entrance into the central hall of the building. At track level, a formal park was created on both sides of the station by the platform island. The banks sloping down to the tracks were cultivated in the style of a park as well. Thanks to this generous solution, the train station became a distinct island rich in greenery, which together with its surroundings lent the place a riverbank promenade character. The highly cultivated character of the whole area was further enhanced by the impressive development on the north front of Hálkova Street, realised almost in parallel with the construction of the station in the first decade of the last century.

After completion of the station, the route of the railway line was changed to some extent. The track leading west in the area below present-day Na Vršíčkách Street was abandoned and transformed into a promenade thanks to the initiative of the Union for Planting Orchards to Adorn the City of Pilsen and Its Surroundings. During the First World War, this track was returned to service, used primarily by the expanding Škoda Works. The park area was partly damaged in the war years and then renewed between 1919 and 1921 with the construction of the Neo-Renaissance building in the eastern section of the station. This grand concept with two stately buildings was conferred by the location of the station in the then-most-populous Pilsen suburb and also close to one of the most important employers of that time – Škoda Works – where many people commuted to. The west hall was conceived as a departure hall, the east one as an arrival hall. In the present situation, the original size of the station has become superfluous – while the east building still serves its original purpose, the west object (currently undergoing reconstruction) was turned into the cultural centre Moving Station in the year 2000.

The railway track was modernised in the years 2012–2013. The changes also involved replacing the green south slope (including the original railing) with a supporting reinforced concrete wall and widening the profile of Borská Street into a four-lane road. This meant the place lost an essential part of its original character.