Protecting a century-old railway by preventing fire

Protecting a century-old railway by preventing fire

The Petřín Funicular car is a unique 100-year-old railway, which was opened in Prague in 1891 as a passenger transport. It’s a popular tourist attraction, carrying 2 million passengers a year up a 130 meter hill from Újezd to Petřín. Since the electric system powering the funicular is so old, it needs care and attention to preserve and secure it. Hikvision thermal cameras monitor the system’s electrics for abnormal heat to help with maintenance and preventing fire.


Dopravní podnik (Municipal Transport Company) of Prague runs the 510 meter funicular railway. Their aim was to secure the funicular machine in the engine room, which was manufactured in the 19th century. The machine is a technical monument, and its maintenance requires special handling. Such a unique machine needs to be constantly monitored and carefully maintained to keep it running for future generations to enjoy. 

The machine was electrified in the 1930’s, which makes it a concern for the operators, who would like to minimize the risk of fire and damage. During operation of the machine, there is a lot of friction, which can cause overheating and subsequent fire. 

The Municipal Transport Company needed a way to monitor the machine closely without engineers needing to manually inspect regularly. They needed to be aware of any potential problem, so that they can fix it in time. This is crucial in preventing damage to this piece of history, especially preventing fire.


The solution was to install a Hikvision Thermal & Optical Bi-spectrum Network Bullet Camera (DS-2TD2637-15/V1). The camera brings the best of both thermal and optical technologies. It boasts a highly sensitive thermal module with a NETD of less than 35 mK and a high resolution 4MP optical module.

The camera is installed in the engine room and focused on the machine. It can detect abnormal rises in temperature of the parts even in the darkest places by measuring ‘emissivity’. If there is friction due to parts rubbing together where they shouldn’t, this will heat up the area. The camera’s advanced fire detection algorithm analyses this and sends an alert to the building manager.


Lubomír Šmíd Security Manager at the Municipal Transport Company, says: “Today's companies usually can’t provide such a quality service of a historic machine. But this solution helps us to look after it for future generations. There is no other machine like this, and now we can prevent damage that cannot be quantified either historically or financially.”

Although the thermal cameras are mainly used to prevent the risk of fire at the moment, there’s a plan for further use too. The technology can also be used to monitor the funicular rail tracks outside, enhancing safety. For example, anyone stepping on the rails would be detected by the camera’s smart Line Crossing behavior analysis function.

The introduction of a cutting-edge technology is helping to maintain and secure a 100-year old railway system. This is particularly interesting, since it was built in the infancy of thermal technology. Their stories seem to have developed in tandem!

Click here to find out more about Hikvision’s thermal technology. uses strictly necessary cookies and related technologies to enable the website to function. With your consent, we would also like to use cookies to observe and analyse traffic levels and other metrics and tailor our website’s content. For more information on cookie practices please refer to our cookie policy.

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