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Slovenská strela (Slovak Arrow) diesel motor coach M290 Class, built by Tatra in 1936, was a unit of the Czechoslovak railways (ČSD).

Only two units were manufactured, obviously inspired by the Flying Hamburger and bearing some resemblance to British GWR Diesel railcars. They were commissioned by ČSD in 1934 and developed under the leadership of Hans Ledwinka of the revolutionary Tatra T77 fame. The "spirit" of the Arrow project was engineer Josef Sousedík who designed both the body and the powertrain.

The units were powered by two Tatra T67 engines of relatively modest output (165 hp). Light construction with monococque all-welded streamline body allowed them to achieve high speed (148 km/h at the tests). At low speeds, only electric power was used.

In late 1930s they were used for the fast connection between Prague and Bratislava, covering the distance in 4 hours and 28 minutes with a maximum speed of 130 km/h (on the poster we see slightly different data - well, the schedule is subject to change, you know):

Arrows replaced steam engines that were remarkably slower, their average speed not exceeding 68 km/h. They were also tested on Trague - Brno route showing average speed of 90 km/h and, according to official statement, "capable of 100 km/h if such a speed was allowed for this extention".

The unit carried 72 passengers in cozy compartments. There was a buffet onboard.

They continued to serve after partition of Czekhoslovakia and German invasion and were taken out of service only after the start of World War II. In 1945, their service on Bratislava route had been briefly resumed before the relegation of both Arrows first to VIP services (they delivered Czekhoslovak delegation to Nuremberg Trial) and then to local connections.

The M290.001 was taken out of service in 1953, the M290.002 in 1960. The latter was scrapped, and 001 is now on display in the company museum of Tatra in Kopřivnice.

Source: Parostroj (CZ)


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Comment by lord_k on July 4, 2011 at 11:31am
Post restored. 07.04.11

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