Home / Christmas streets of Prague live from a unique lubricating tram
10 Dec 2018 - 09:20
Live streaming from moving objects can be very demanding but rewarding at the same time. People simply love the ever-changing broadcast, be it from a cruise ship, train, or… a maintenance tram! The latter has become a hit both on social media and online TV. The charm of a live stream from Mazačka, as people familiarly call the tram, is even bigger during Christmas, when you can admire the shining, magical, historical streets of Prague, Czechia.
How Mazačka became famous
Tatra T3 tram number 5572 isn’t used for transporting passengers. It’s a special kind of maintenance tram, a lubricating tram to be exact – ensuring that the rails in the city of Prague are properly oiled. However, its history is much richer: it was used as a regular passenger tram from 1965 until 1989, a long 24 years. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, it was converted into a cargo tram and for a brief time, it even served as a snow plough, removing snow from the steepest hills in Prague.
In 2014, the Prague Public Transit Company started to experiment with new lubricants. The aim was to smoothen the tram ride, and the step soon proved effective. Lubricant can decrease the loudness of a tram from 86 dB to 61 dB. Thus, the lubricating tram was born.
The most famous period began in 2015, when a slow TV team came up with a crazy idea: what about starting a live stream from the tram? Nonetheless, there were many bumps on the road to a successful live stream.
The challenges of live streams from moving objects
Preparing a live stream from a moving object can be a very demanding venture, especially when it comes to a technical point of view. The first issue to be addressed is an internet connection. In the case of moving objects, wires are out of the question. But even a wireless Internet signal provided by telecommunications company can fail, considering the broad area the objects often cover on their journeys.
The team from NetRex who set up the live broadcast from Mazačka conducted some testing on the strength of the signal in different parts of Prague and decided to play it safe. Mazačka was fitted with a special bonding router to be able to get the signal from different Internet providers and bond it together to secure a reliable Internet connection for the camera. Later, as the city’s connectivity improved, the live stream was connected to the Internet using solely the LTE network from O2.
Mazačka in the holiday season
The live broadcast from Mazačka is popular all year round, but the holidays is when it takes on a special charm. In previous seasons, the slow TV team enhanced the popular live broadcast and engaged its fans in different games. One year, they got to operate the lights of a Christmas tree onboard the tram. This year, the fans are encouraged to spot the Christmas trees around the city. But even the ‘plain’ live stream from the streets of the historical city has an undeniable charm and attractiveness.
The facts speak for themselves: the broadcast reaches more than 100,000 monthly views during the Christmastime. There’s a Facebook fan page with more than 12,000 fans. The live stream from the lubricating cam even inspired a book! It was written by Polish author Magda Stachula and published in 2016. It’s a perfect example of a good idea coming to life and generating a massive response online, on social media, and in real life.