Tramway shed

At the intersection of św. Wawrzyńca and Gazowa Street, the buildings of the oldest tramway shed in Kraków are located. The complex was constructed stage by stage, in the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century.

The first objects were built by the Belgian Local Railways Partnership (Compagnie Générale des Chemins de Fer Secondaires), established by the Bank of Belgium (Banque de Belgique), that received a licence from Kraków authorities to construct and operate the first tramway lines in the city. The complex is unique both due to the half-timbered construction and due to preservation of chronologically diverse objects related to public transport in a single, integrated complex.

The oldest structure preserved to our time, the narrow-gauge (900 mm rail spacing) horse tramway shed together with stables as well as administration and storage facilities was built in 1882, using a design by H. Géron, modified at the magistrate's request. The result was a building with a wooden skeleton filled with bricks – half-timbered construction, very rare in Kraków.  For about a dozen years the shed serviced only a single tramway line, which connected the Podgórski Bridge with the Main Railway Station.

The horse tramway shed was expanded in 1896, to a design of Tadeusz Stryjeński and Zygmunt Hendel. It was elongated towards the Gazowa Street. The expansion was a result of purchase of new tramways for the second line, from the Main Market to the Kraków Park.

In 1900, due to electrification of tramway lines, the complex was expanded. A solid, brick-and-mortar hall complex for the narrow-gauge electric tramway was built their in accordance with Karol Knaus's (1846 – 1904) design, accommodating the shed, workshops and a power plant.

The next major expansion was performed in the years 1912-1913, due to purchase of normal-gauge cars, with 1435 mm rail spacing, by the Kraków Urban Electric Rail (a counterpart of the modern MPK S.A.). At that time  control rooms and sheds for normal-gauge tramways were built, at both sides of the św. Wawrzyńca Street. All the above-mentioned buildings were constructed as half-timbered structures.

In early 1920s KST included buses in its fleet. In this period garages and workshops for buses were erected on the shed's premises, also as half-timbered structures. It is noteworthy that such buildings are not durable, so it justified to assume that a new, larger shed was planned. This plan was completed in 1939, when a shed at current Brożka Street was opened.

The tramways eventually disappeared from the shed at św. Wawrzyńca Street in late 1950s and early 1960s, and the buildings left were used for bus workshops and warehouses.

The whole shed complex, at both sides of Św. Wawrzyńca Street (the structures at odd Street numbers side are owned by the city today, those at the even numbers side – by the Canons of the Lateran), was registered in 1985 in the Landmark List at no. A – 680. Nowadays the refurbished municipal buildings house the Museum of Urban Engineering.

The complex managed by the Museum of Urban Engineering (15-17 św. Wawrzyńca Street) includes:

a) narrow-gauge tramway shed (D1 hall)
A storage and repair hall for 30 narrow-gauge tram cars, built in 1900, designed by Karol Knaus, in the 1960s was been adapted for bus transport – a mechanical and regeneration workshops were established there. In 1993, the Historic Fleet Storage was placed there, and since 1999 it hosts the exhibition of the Museum of Urban Engineering. Currently it houses the exhibition "The History of Polish Motor Vehicles".

b) tramway workshops (D2 hall)
The hall, dating from 1900, also built according to the design of Karol Knaus, was used for maintenance and repair of narrow gauge trams. After the narrow gauge tram lines were discontinued in 1955, it served as workshop and storage facilities for trams and buses. Since 2000, the hall is managed by the Museum of Urban Engineering and is used as a hall for temporary exhibitions.

c) tramway power plant (D3 hall)
The complex of generator halls, boiler rooms and battery rooms was built in 1900 and designed by Karol Knaus for the tramway network. This plant discontinued operation in 1917, in connection with the City Power Plant taking over power supply for tramways, and the halls were adapted for workshops, warehouses and garages.
Since 2001 the halls are used by the Museum of Urban Engineering. After restoration, in the generator hall the exhibition "Around the Wheel" was placed, and the former boiler room and battery room perform the functions of a temporary exhibition hall and a library.