29. January 2020

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A museum full of steam and diesel locomotives, passenger and freight cars, trolleys and a rail crane, a working sixteen-meter train turntable, and a partially reconstructed former steam depot –believe it or not, all this mechanical beauty is maintained by a group of volunteers in their free time. Many of the exhibits are fully functional and ready for use in a period film. Our first film-friendly location for this year is located in the East Bohemian Region and is chock-full of film props.

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Jaroměř Railway Depot | Photo: Czech Film Commission

The beginnings of the volunteer association at the Railway Museum in Jaroměř date back to 1987, when, under the auspices of the Czechoslovak Scientific and Technical Society, repairs began on steam locomotive 310.006, nicknamed "Coffee-Grinder". Once operational, the locomotive was moved to its new home at the depot in Jaroměř, where the rotunda stood unused. When most of us hear the word “rotunda”, we think of a small religious building with a circular floor plan. In railway parlance, however, it’s a semi-circular locomotive depot in which tracks converge at the turntable.

Železniční výtopna Jaroměř, z.s. (Jaroměř Railway Depot Association) has operated the historical railway since 1995. The museum has been in operation since 1996. After Czech Railways terminated their operations at the station in 2004, the association began gradually working on expanding and restoring the depot building to its original early 20th-century appearance. And there is no shortage of work around the opening and maintenance of the depot, exhibits and other equipment. The museum also houses a collection of railway uniforms and other railway-related props.

“Filmmakers will find an exceptional authentic railway environment in Jaroměř. It offers complete service, including professionally trained personnel to operate the trains. There is also an unused track nearby where filmmakers can shoot trains undisturbed," says Jan Špelda of the East Bohemia Film Office.

In addition to railway-related scenes, the depot can certainly also stand in for a variety of other industrial buildings – such as a factory, workshop, distillery, brewery, or machine plant. A studio can also be built in the depot's interior for filming. Trains can, of course, be operated and filmed on adjacent tracks owned by the Railway Infrastructure Administration, as well as train interiors, all of which can be arranged as necessary. The association owns the depot, enabling film crews to set up right on site. There is a connection to the electricity grid and basic sanitary facilities.

Bohuslav Škoda of the Jaroměř Railway Museum is ready for filmmakers: "We have already hosted shoots, such as the series Zdivočelá země (Land Gone Wild) and the films Dark Blue World and Habermannův mlýn (Habermann’s Mill). For films, music videos, documentaries, and still photography, we offer facilities that were built in 1900 and have been partially reconstructed. The depot includes the rotunda for steam locomotives, the turntable, the train yard, and brick and wooden warehouse buildings. We have two steam locomotives available – the 310.006 from 1879 and the 404.303 from 1881 – as well as diesel locomotives dating from 1956 to 1981.”

The steam depot sits on the outskirts of Jaroměř, not far from Hradec Králové, easily reachable by motorway from Prague. Immediately adjacent to the museum is the railway station and a parking lot. If you cross the bridge over the Elbe and Metuje Rivers, you reach the unique Josefov Fort, a perfect setting for the periods of Emperor Franz Joseph (1880-1910) and the First Republic (1910-1945). The railway museum at the depot and its surroundings can, therefore, cover the entire historical period when steam trains dominated transportation.

If you’re interested in filming at the Jaroměř Depot, please contact Lucie Ondráčková at the East Bohemia Film Office: l.ondrackova@vychodnicechy.info, +420 725 702 651.