This must be the perfect setting for a Steampunk movie: Prague’s pneumatic tube system. This technical masterpiece from the 19th century is the last of its kind and basically still functional, although it was largely destroyed by the devastating floods in 2002. The capsules shot with a speed of 10 meters per second through a network of 50 kms, pulled or pushed by a set of electric pumps.
According to a news report, Zdeněk Dražil, executive head of Wind com, bought the whole system and plans to use it as a tourist attraction. This company was originally registered for “buying items in order to sell them”, then it specialized on IT, in particular networks, until eventually “research and development in the field of natural and technical sciences or the humanities” was added. We therefore can confirm that operating the tube system is well within the official scope of business.
Another report from last month has mentioned the company Lime & Tonic as new owner, saying they are planning to use the tubes for sending around reservation tickets. Confusing? Could it be that also Czech news agencies receive their information through the tube system?
Apart from nuclear bunkers, the metro, the water supply for a fountain from the 16th century and some top-secret tunnels of communist apparatchiks – which naturally might be the product of urban legends – there is plenty of mysterious networks below our feet. I’d really be curious to discover one of those pipes, maybe under a bridge where they cross the river.
PS: Thinking of my printer’s paper feed … what if the capsules get jammed somewhere in the tubes? “Please open the rear cover under Mánesův Bridge, remove the capsule and press ENTER.”