Hungary - Older General Information

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This document acts as an archive for Recent and Future Changes prior to 2019.

Recent and Future Changes (Latest First)

Budapest to Esztergom is now electrified, changeover to electric traction was from 9 April 2018.

The Hegyeshalom - Rajka - Rusovce - Bratislava-Petržalka cross border line reopened to passengers from the December 2017 timetable change with a five pair passenger service operated by GYSEV, after no service since 30 September 2010 and the last running of the overnight 'Amicus' service between Budapest and Prague.

A major rebuilding of the Budapest - Beograd (Serbia) main line was completed in 2017.

Szombathely - Zalaszentiván electrification was completed on 7 December 2016 and onwards to Nagykanizsa is planned with EU funding approved.

The cross border service from Szeged via Röszke to Subotica (Serbia) was suspended due to the Refugee situation from 27 October 2015 and formally withdrawn with the December 2016 Timetable date.

The cross border service from Magyarboly - Beli Manastir (Croatia) suspended in January 2016 owing to the migrant crisis and withdrawn at the December 2016 Timetable change was reinstated in the December 2018 timetable change.

The end section of table 89, Tiszaújváros – Tiszapalkonya-Erőmű, closed at the timetable change in December 2013.

With effect from 16 April 2012 around 400 trains were cancelled, which resulted in a number of lightly used lines having their services reduced to 2 round trips per day. For details see the Sparse Services section.

In May 2010 a general election resulted in a change of government. One of the new ruling party's pledges was to re-open lines closed in December 2009 by the previous administration where it was practical to do so, given that in some cases infrastructure had already been removed or disabled. The first batch of re-openings occurred on 5 July 2010, the lines concerned being:

  • 5 Komárom - Széksefehérvár (official opening with special train was on 4 July)
  • 14 Pápa - Csorna
  • 103 Karcag - Tiszafüred
  • 142 Kecskemét - Lajosmizse

It should be noted that Line 14 had been closed in March 2007.

A further 6 lines re-opened on 12 December 2010

  • 4 Esztergom - Almásfüzitő
  • 45 Börgönd - Sárbogárd
  • 47 Godisa - Komló
  • 98 Abaújszántó-Hidasnémeti
  • 113 Fehérgyarmat - Zajta
  • 114 Kocsord alsó - Csenger

In April 2009 it was reported that MÀV-START would have to reduce the number of passenger trains operated by 50%, and that many secondary lines could, as a result, suffer, with changes being implemented in August or December 2009. In August it was announced that up to 1,874 km of lines could close in December 2009. After a number of different lists were published, in the event the following standard gauge lines closed on 12 December 2009:

  • 4 Esztergom - Almásfüzitő
  • 5 Skékesfehérvár - Komárom
  • 22 Körmend - Zalalövő
  • 37 Somogyszob - Balatonszentgyörgy
  • 42 Mezöfalva - Paks
  • 45 Börgönd - Sárbogárd
  • 47 Godisa - Komló
  • 64 Pécs - Pécsvárad
  • 77 Galgamácsa - Vácrátót
  • 87 Szilvásvárad - Putnok
  • 98 Abaújszántó-Hidasnémeti
  • 103 Karcag - Tiszafüred
  • 107 Sárand - Létavértes
  • 113 Fehérgyarmat - Zajta
  • 114 Kocsord alsó - Csenger
  • 117 Ohat-Pusztakócs - Tiszalök
  • 126 Kisszénás-Kondoros
  • 127 Vésztő-Körösnagyharsány
  • 130 Makó-Hódmezővásárhely
  • 142 Lajosmizse - Kecskemét

The following narrow gauge lines also closed:

  • 118 Nyiregyháza - Balsa-Tiszaport (see also note below)
  • 119 Herminatanya - Dombrád (see also note below)
  • 148 Kecskemét KK - Kiskörös KK
  • 149 Kecskemét KK - Törökfái Kiskunmajsa KK

Line 39, Balatonfenyves GV.-Somogyszentpál, was also on the list but was reprieved because the local authority expressed interest in taking it over.

The cross-border route from Bánréve to Lenartovce in Slovakia closed to passenger services on 12 December 2009.

On 17 September 2009 narrow gauge services over part of 118 and the whole of 119 were replaced by buses, leaving trains operating only between Nyíregyháza and Herminatanya and even these ceased later that year [see above].

The limited cross border service from Komárom to Komarno in Slovakia closed in December 2008. It had previously closed in 2004, and had only re-opened in December 2007.

The cross border service from Sátoraljaújhely to Slovenské Nové Mesto in Slovakia also closed in December 2008.

In previous years, although the future of branch and rural lines had been increasingly uncertain over the decade since the Communist political and economic era of central control was replaced by democratic governments, there had been few passenger service closures. Mátramindszent to Mátranovák Homoktereneye (table 83) closed about 1993, the remaining section of table 49, from Lepsény to Mezőhídvég, lost its passenger service officially from 28 May 2000, the section of table 12 from Tatabánya to Felsögalla closed in June 2001.

Bus substitution due to a combination of neglected track maintenance, circuitous routes and poorly located stations closed Keszőhidegkút-Gyönk - Tamási (48) and Tamási - Dombóvár (southern part of 49) by 1991; extended to the remainder of 49 (Mezőhídvég – Tamási) by 1995, then Lepsény - Mezőhídvég following storm damage on 22 July 1999, between Pécsvárad - Palotabozsok (central section of 64) from 1 June 1997, followed by the northern section onwards to Bátaszék where trains did not resume after bus substitution in Spring/Summer 2003 due to axle problems on BzMot railbuses. In 2006, there have been two condition of track closures, Nógrádszakál to Ipolytamóc (Part 78) for a few months from 1 July 2006 following flood damage (now resumed but one of the threatened 28 lines) and Sellye and Középrigóc (part 62) which was bus substituted from 8 May 2006.

An unexpected closure at the 2005 December timetable change was the terminal station Budapest Józsefváros, with local services diverted to Keleti and the few long distance services from Kelebia re-routed via curve HU07/2 to Köbánya-Kispest.

At its session on 5 July 2006, the Hungarian parliament committed to a thorough reform of national passenger transport, affecting both MÁV and the bus operator Volán (to the extent that competition between the two will be replaced by an integrated policy). A budget of HUF 50-80 Bn was to be made available each year for modernisation of the rail network, including network upgrading, development of suburban rail, station reconstruction, passenger coach refurbishment etc and MÁV Cargo was to be sold off. As part of this package it was announced that passenger traffic would be withdrawn on 28 lines, totalling 942 km or 12.2% of the network as they apparently account for just 1% of passenger revenues. Officially the traffic was to be suspended, but in fact the lines were put up for closure.

The original intention was for the closures to occur by the December 2006 timetable change, but the well publicised Political disputes contributed towards delays. An official list was then announced on 8 December 2006 of 14 lines where passenger services were to be suspended by the end of February 2007. In the event the following lines closed on 3 March 2007:-

  • 13 Környe - Pápa
  • 14 Pápa - Csorna
  • 24 Zalabér-Batyk - Zalaszentgrót
  • 27 Lepsény - Hajmáskér
  • 62 Sellye - Villány
  • 76 Diósjenő - Romhány
  • 84 Kisterenye - Kál-Kápolna
  • 88 Mezőcsát - Nyékládháza
  • 95 Kazincbarcika - Rudabánya
  • 112 Nagykálló - Nyíradony
  • 129 Murony - Békés
  • 151 Kunszentmiklós-Tass - Dunapataj
  • 152 Fülöpszállás - Kecskemát alsó
  • 153 Kiskőrös - Kalocsa

Lines 88, 112 and 129 closed completely, and the other remained partially or fully open for freight. The 8 December 2006 announcement originally included line 22, but one day later it was announced this was subject to further review.

Several short curves have also ceased to see passenger use: the Bánréve avoiding curve [now lifted], the Hatvan avoiding curve (Tura - Jászfényszaru, was used only for one year), the Szolnok avoiding curve to the Hatvan line [later resumed] and the Dorog - Tokod link avoiding Esztergom-Kertváros which was used for two years until 1 June 1997 by certain Budapest - Bratislava services to reduce pressure on main lines being upgraded.

After a slow-down, work resumed on several electrification projects with completed routes Felsözsolca - Hidasnémeti - Čaňa (Slovakia) [25 February 1998], Balatonszentgyörgy - Nagykanizsa - Murakeresztúr [27 September 1998], Rákospalota - Vácrátót [January 1999], Gyékényes - Koprivnica (Croatia), Székesfehérvár - Várpalota [26 September 1999 and onwards to Szombathely by the end of September 2000] and Sopron to Szombathely by GySEV after they took over operations in 2002. Electrification of Boba to Hodos was completed in 2010, and GySEV is also electrifying Szombathely to Szentgotthárd.

Longer term electrification plans have been identified by MÁV as follows: Györ - Celldömölk (10); Szerencs – Sátoraljaújhely (80); Püspükladány - Biharkereszles - (Romania) (101); Kőbánya-Kispest - Lajosmizse (142).

GySEV intends to take over several lines from MÁV, which might bring more electrification, such as Hegyeshalom – Nagykanizsa.

The project to electrify at 25kV 50Hz to Deutschkreutz ÖBB, whilst mainly to benefit ÖBB and GySEV, involves MÁV-owned track between Sopron and the Austrian border via Harka, and was completed in the summer of 2000.

The Magyarbóly - Beli Manastir (Croatia) - Osijek cross-border line reopened 3 September 1997.

The cross-border link to Slovenia avoiding transit through Croatia from Zalalövö via Hodoš to Murska Sobota was reported to have been completed in December 2000, but opened officially on 2 March 2001. This route now carries international services and is upgraded on the Hungarian side so from Zalalövő to Zalaegerzeg-Ola is now an almost completely new parallel and straighter alignment. Near to Zalalövő opened some time in 2005/06 with further significant cut-offs nearer to Zalaegerzeg opening in mid-2009.

There have been a number of improvements to cross border services with Austria after joining the European Union, for example Wien to Pécs via Sopron, Gyékényes and Dombóvár Alsó and through trains from Szombathely to Graz.

In late 2010 GySEV announced plans for a large scale development of Gyor - Sopron, apparently the most heavily used line in Hungary. The intention is to double the line and, more significantly, divert lines either side of Sopron. East of Sopron, the line will be moved alongside the Szombathely line north of Harka (Kophaza) to free up land and ease curves. West of Sopron, the plan is to move the Ebenfurth line alongside the Wiener Neustadt line as far as Sopron Deli, mainly to allow closure of some busy level crossings.

The Tiszakecse Gyermekvasút: Sportliget - Tiszapark (760 mm gauge) railway closed 'temporarily' in 2008 but is reported as unlikely to re-open.

See also