The concept and location of the first railway station in Prague and its connection to the newly constructed Northern State Railway (NStB), stretching from Olomouc to Dresden, were designed by the chief engineer of the state railways, Jan Perner (1815–1845). He divided the railway station into two parts: the inner part, containing five tracks for passenger and freight trains, and the outer, consisting of service buildings, a locomotive shed, a car shed, and workshops. Both parts were divided by a belt of city walls with six gates which were closed at night for security reasons. Construction works were launched in November 1844, with the first train arriving on 21 August 1845 and regular operations to follow on 1 September.
The architectural design of the terminal buildings in the late classical style was made by an Austrian railway architect Anton Jüngling (1798–1888), who also designed the service buildings in a more modest style. The construction itself was carried out by the companies of Adalbert Lanna (1805–1866) and the Klein brothers, which built the viaduct in the nearby Karlín district as well.
The viaduct was part of a NStB section between Prague and Dresden. It was constructed based on the project by Alois Negrelli (1799–1858) in 1846–1849 and, with the length of 1,120 meters, it was the longest bridge to be found in Central Europe until 1910. Because of Austria’s rising national debt, the NStB was sold in 1855 to a consortium of French companies, the Austrian State Railway Company (StEG), which reconstructed the railway station, extended the tracks, and modernized the facilities after the demolition of city walls. The works were carried out by the StEG construction director August de Serres-Wieczffinski (1841–1900). Subsequent reconstruction works – including the construction of a new glass departure hall and an extension of a corner building of a restaurant according to the original Jüngling’s plans – were carried out between 1862 and 1868. In 1893–1894 the departure building was extended with a post office, reconstructed in 1922 by V. Nekvasil’s construction company. The last most prominent architectural layers date back to 1938–1945 when the terminal building was redesigned in the late functionalist style based on the project by Antonín Parkman (1898–?). Although the terminal buildings – which were heritage-protected yet falling into disrepair – were reconstructed in the 1990s, the whole railway station compound was considered for demolition, together with new construction works planned in the attractive area of the city center.
The idea was finally averted and so all of the buildings have undergone restoration in several successive phases since 2012. In line with the current transformation of the whole area, the railway platforms will undergo full reconstruction in the upcoming years. In 2002 the workshops and locomotive shed premises, also heritage-protected were handed over to the National Technical Museum, preparing a new exposition project, the Railway Museum.