Thursday 1 September 2016

Midlands to Magyar [3]

Still a Long Way to Go
This was David's email to fbb a couple of weeks ago.

Off on Thursday by bus into Leicester, Skylink to East Midlands airport, Jet2com to Budapest.  Then it gets a bit fraught.  I am due to meet Roger and Co at Deli Station.  There are trains (free!) at 1935 and 2135 to Lake Balaton. Crossing Budapest is free bus followed by free metros with a change.  Me and my crutch might never be seen again.  Saturday we go by train to Ljubljana in Slovenia, Wednesday by train to Graz in Austria, Friday by train to Vienna, Sunday fly to Manchester, two or three trains to Leicester, walk across Leicester and back to Groby on the 29A or 27.  Will my knee make it?!

And this blog has got him as far as the first of two metro journeys. At Deák Ferenc tér station, three metro lines meet. David is on line 3 (blue) ...
... and he needs to find line 2 (red). Here new trains have been in use since 2013.
Budapest, 4 June, 2013 - The 22nd new Metropolis metro trainset entered commercial service thus completing the fleet change on metro line 2. The replacement of the metros has been part of Budapest’s largest vehicle procurement programme to date, valued at 65 billion HUF.

The third interchange line is metro 1 (yellow).
For the record, the newest line (4 green; not via Deák Ferenc tér) is fully automatic.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Mayor István Tarlós opened Budapest's fourth metro line on March 28 (2014), starting a weekend of free travel from 12.00.

The 7.4 km Line M4 runs in entirely in two 5·2 m diameter bored tunnels from Keleti railway station, under the Danube to Kelenföld station. There are eight intermediate stations, including an interchange with Line M3 at Kálvin Tér. Platform screen doors are not provided, but an LED strip flashes when a train is approaching.

Trains on M4 are operated automatically, initially with an onboard supervisor in the cab. It was planned that after the first year of service the cab partition wall will be removed and the trains will run unattended.

A fifth metro line is planned and shown in outline on the map above.

The North-south regional rapid railway is a railway construction plan in Budapest, modelled on the Paris RER or German S-Bahn systems. Its aim is to connect three of the Budapest Helyiérdekű Vasút (BHÉV) suburban train lines, from Szentendre, Ráckeve and Csepel. The plan is also called Metro 5.

So David arrives happily at Budapest-Déli pályaudvar aka Budapest South Station.
Here, he could enjoy busy a tram junction ...
... bus services ...
... and plenty of trains. If he had had some time to spare, he could have wandered a little further afield and ridden on the "cog-wheel railway".
This is not a tourist line but fully integrated (see route 60) into the city tram network.
Maybe worth a full blog sometime? Or David could have search out the city's funicular railway (map below, lower right).
This funicular rail was the second in Europe, only Lyon had a similar transportation system at that time. During the Second World War the cars and the terminals were destroyed by bombs. The remnants of the funicular were then dismantled. Replacement with escalators was considered later. Reconstruction of the funicular was decided in 1965, and several plans were made, but the construction works were delayed. A midibus service between the two termini (line "V") was launched in 1975. This was in operation until the line was finally reopened in 1986.
But alas, friend David cannot spare the time for these delights; he has to make a connection at Déli station with his pals and a train to his final destination. The old station building was badly damaged in the Second World War ...
... and replaced a by a more modern facade, eventually completed in 1975.
Our weary traveller hasn't finished yet; by no means. He is aiming for Lake Balaton and the town of  Keszthely at its western extremity.
Another rail journey?

But that is for tomorrow's blog.

In the meantime, fbb notes that Budapest also has a significant trolleybus network ...
...and the Gyermekvasút.


The Childrens' Railway.

The Gyermekvasút (English: Children's Railway) or Line 7 is a narrow gauge railway line in Budapest, which connects Széchényi-hegy and Hűvösvölgy and is 11.2 km long. Except the train driver, all of the posts are operated by children aged 10–14 under adult supervision. It is the world's largest Children's Railway.
Hmmm? Maybe that idea might help Southern in the UK with their staff shortages?

What is even better; you can ride the "cogwheel railway" (line 60) to its outer terminus at Széchenyihegy ...
... take a few moments stroll through the woods ...
... and you are at the terminal building of the Childrens' railway.
What a splendid idea for an excursion. Could fbb afford a trip to Hungary?

 Journeys end blog : Friday 2nd September 


  1. Went to the Children's Railway back in the 70s. The it was called the Pioneers Railway and was part of a young peoples communist organisation - bit like the Scouts, but different! It was faintly unsettling st the time. Remember stopping on the way back and having a meal at what we thought was a restaurant, but actually was a factory canteen. And buying what we thought were bottles of drinking water, that turned out to be white vinegar.

  2. There were a number of children's railways throughout the old eastern bloc, and some, if not many, are still in operation today.

    I visited the Dresden example about 10 years ago: by virtue of being on the last train, I got a vastly extended ride, as it was the "staff train" taking the staff back to the main station after they closed the ticket offices, etc!
    Extensive English (12 other languages are available) website here:

  3. A few points.

    Metro line 1 is more like an underground tram, just below the surface (and above a main sewer!). It's the oldest Metro line in mainland Europe. It has a nice little museum at Deak Ferenc Ter - or it did a few years ago!

    Budapest has other forms of transport, more or less integrated into the city-wide system: suburban railways (HEV - think District Line in London); a chair-lift; and ferry boat services on the Danube. The tram system, after decades of slow contraction, has recently expanded or been renovated, principally in Buda.