Thursday 30 March 2023

New Or Retro : Budapest Metro (3)

 Award Ceremony Number 2

Which "Metro" line would claim the golden envelope for being the oldest such in the world? Well, obviously the London underground; everyone knows that! Easy winner at 1863
But that was steam powered. Electric trains down below started in 1890. That was the City and South London tube forerunner of the city branch of the Norther Line.

If you leave out the underground adjective, the Chicago "L" (for Levated) ...
... began, albeit in a small way, in 1892.

Budapest's entry with the oldest electric underground railway in Europe has some claim to the golden envelope. But it started in 1896. That was the same year a Glasgow's Underground but the latter was rope worked.
The Budapest line was very innovative. It was electric and was equipped with electric lighting and some very advanced technical safety features.
It was built by cut-and-cover ...
... and hardly any depth below road level, so it was well equipped with posts holding the road up!
Despite its incorrect claim to be first electrified underground railway in Europe it only warrants a silver envelope for second prize.
This sweet little line, nicknamed "little underground", runs from the city centre at Vordsmarty ter ,,,
... to its original terminus at Szevheny-furdo. The extension to Mexiko ut came later, much later, in 1973. Indeed 1973 saw the first new stock since opening in 1896.
The 1973 trains still run today.

But the northern extension brought a notable change. The original line appeared into fresh ait immediately after Hosak Tere.
The line curved round the edge of the park to serve a station at the zoo (Allatkerk).
There is no station there now, just a really weird footbridge going nowhere.
It was where the above ground station stood.  The RED section of line and its terminus no longer exist. The replacement BLUE line is fully underground.

The original stations are really quaint ...
... with quaint furnishings ...
... and quaint entrances with narrow steps! 
(Very traditional Paris Metro!) There are some fine "traditional" station names at street level.
It is all VERY different from the  "true" Metro lines 2, 3 and 4.

The entrances on the 1973 extension are spartan concrete ...
... and the platforms lack any obvious means of supporting the roof - no posts.
No doubt the roof is supported in another way!

Another result of the 1973 upgrade was that the station at Deak Ferenc ter was moved to provide interchange with Metro line 2 and 3.
The vacated station became the Bucharest Metro Museum, small but perfectly formed. fbb is grateful to correspondent James for a couple of pictures of the innards of the museum.
There is loads of stuff there, including a pre 1973 train car.
It;s well worth a visit if you happen to be passing through Budapest!

But there might be a snag with the silver envelope award. We need to pop in to Istanbul.
Well it is underground. It is Line F2 on the modern Istanbul Metro system.
It is very short because it is an underground funicular line. It is a steep climb.
But this underground line opened in 1875. So does it take second prize?

Alas no. It was a rope worked funicular and the winding engine was steam powered.
So Budapest's "Metro" line 1 keeps its second place.

And the Whiskers Man?
He is emperor Franz Joseph of Austrian and King of Hungary plus lots of other titles; and he came to open the "Little Underground" in celebration of the Millennium. The celebration, complete with big exhibition at the northern terminus of the new underground, was to celebrate the conquest of much of the nation which became Hungary by the Magyar tribe 1000 years earlier.
That's why they needed the new metro!!

Tomorrow we meet a new proposal for a circular service called Superloop. Today is fbb's fourth eyeball stabbing of a proposed programme of three (fbb does not understand either!) so the Superloop blog may be minimalist or even postponed, depending on the effect of the injection.

 Next Big Circle blog : Friday 31st March 

1 comment:

  1. Andrew Kleissner30 March 2023 at 07:33

    The “little Underground” is more of a tram-in-a-tunnel than a true Metro and I think that its trains can (theoretically) run on Budapest’s tram tracks as they are based on a tram design. Its restricted dimensions and shallow depth are due to its position below the road surface but above the main sewer. Although I knew it had been extended at the northern end, I didn’t know about the abandoned section and footbridge! It is a very noisy ride!