EM 2021 - Through Hungary, but on tracks

Hungary is the next destination of our EM trip.
The inland lies in Central Europe and is divided into two parts by the Danube River. You'll not only find Europe's largest synagogue, Europe's largest medicinal bath, Europe's third-largest church, the second-largest territorial abbey in the world and the second-largest baroque palace in the world, but Hungary also has a lot of highlights in store for railway enthusiasts!

The Hungarian State Railways, or MÁV for short, runs the train service on a route network with a length of around 7,297 kilometers. They connect the country and people with the Hungarian capital Budapest. Three of Hungary's largest train stations are there.

Eastern- Station
Western- Station
Southern- Station
  • The Eastern- Station "Keleti pályaudvar" is served by most international trains and is therefore the most important railway station in Hungary.
  • The Western- Station "Nyugati pályaudvar" is used by around 18 million travelers every year and is considered to be the city's most interesting train station from an architectural point of view.
  • The Southern- Station "Déli pályaudvar" is the third-largest train station and is located directly below the Budapest Castle.

Budapest's Bridges

Budapest is the last city on the Danube that lies on both sides of the river. The river is about 500 meters wide, which makes building or repairing the bridge expensive and difficult.
Nevertheless, a total of 11 bridges cross the Danube in Budapest and two underground tunnels for the metro.

Die Kettenbrücke in Budapest

Before the construction of bridges began, Buda and Pest were two independent cities. It was not until 1872 that they were united after the construction of the first bridge to Budapest. That is why the Chain Bridge is the most famous bridge in Hungary.

Four years after the completion of the Chain Bridge, the Margaret Bridge was built. Like the Arpad Bridge, it runs across Margaret Island. Thus, both consist of two parts each, each crossing half of the Danube.

Die Margaretenbrücke
Die Arpad-Brücke

In 2008 the last bridge in Budapest was completed. The Megyeri Bridge is a motorway bridge in the north of the city.

Megyeri Brücke, erbaut 2008

Overview of Hungary's bridges

The following table lists all bridges in Hungary according to the year of completion. There are interesting facts and figures on the construction time and overall length.

Many of Hungary's bridges were blown up by the Red Army in 1944, which meant that some of them had to be completely rebuilt.

BrückeFertigstellungBauzeitLängeNeuaufbauLetzte Renovierung
Kettenbrücke184910 Jahre375 m1949to be done
Margaretenbrücke18764 Jahre637 m19482011
Eisenbahnbrücke, Süd18774 Jahre477 m19451953
Eisenbahnbrücke, Nord18964 Jahre674,4 m19552008
Freiheitsbrücke18962 Jahre333,6 m19462008
Elisabethbrücke19035 Jahre379 m1964to be done
Petőfibrücke19374 Jahre514 m1952to be done
Arpadbrücke195011 Jahre928 m1984
Rákóczi Brücke19953 Jahre494 m2015
Megyeri Brücke20082 Jahre1862 m

A new pioneering south bridge is currently under construction, which will relieve the city center and also be intended for both bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

Zukunftsmusik: eine moderne Brücke im Süden der Stadt

Southern railway bridge, Budapest

The southern railway bridge is the oldest of the two railway bridges in Budapest and now the most important railway bridge in Hungary with the most traffic.

In 1877 the first construction of a lattice girder bridge was built to connect the west and east stations on one side with the south station on the other side of the Danube. It was two-pronged and made of wrought iron. The lattice girders were manufactured in Belgium and France and transported to the construction site by train.

After a few years, however, it turned out that the construction was no longer sufficient due to increasing traffic and the increased weight of the locomotives. Therefore, in 1910, construction of a new steel bridge began next to the old lattice bridge. The required steel was supplied by the Hungarian machine works MAV AG. After the completion in 1913, the old bridge was dismantled. The new steel truss floor bridge was an important element for railway traffic in Hungary for a long time - until it fell victim to the bridge blast of the Red Army in 1944 and was destroyed.

After a temporary emergency bridge, today's truss bridge was built in 1948 and an identical construction next to it was put into operation in 1953. Later, both were connected to each other to further increase the stability.

National railway museum Budapest

The largest railway museum in Central Europe houses the state collection of Hungary's railways and vehicles. The ring lock shed on the MAV engine depot dates from 1911 and has 34 locomotive stands. The facility in the north of Budapest also includes a park landscape on which, among other things, a teak-lined dining car of the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express (1912) and sleeping cars of other international long-distance trains that also traveled through Hungary. Also, a multiple unit called “Árpád”, which covered the distance between Budapest and Vienna in little more than three hours, and a rotating snow plow are among the special exhibits of the museum.

Das Eisenbahnmuseum in Ungarn

There are also various motor vehicles designed for rails. The locomotives on display were partially recovered from their bases in various Hungarian train stations. These include a 2'C1 '(1914) that was used in express trains, a 2'D2' electric locomotive from 1934 with a crank rod, a streamlined 2'B2 'designed in 1937 for high-speed traffic in the outer suburbs and a "war locomotive" 1'E from Poland built in 1943 to be found.

This museum is special, because of the interactive design option that visitors can choose from. Activities on offer include a horse-drawn tramway and a hand-operated transport trolley to control the track systems. A ride in the driver's cab of one of the twelve fully functional steam locomotives is just as possible as controlling an electric locomotive on a simulator that was used to train MAV train drivers.

Miniverse Budapest

The Miniversum in Budapest is a model railway exhibition with models on a scale of 1: 100. Here, Hungarian, German and Austrian cities are reproduced and lots of trains are on the move. The exhibition is interactive and allows visitors to activate various elements of the models.

Im Miniversum steht der Westbahnhof im Maßstab 1:100

On an area of ​​approx. 300 m², railroad fans of all ages can marvel at 14 different cities (including Budapest, Győr, Vienna and Wartburg). The facility comprises 1,300 meters of track on which 100 different trains run. In addition, 600 buildings, 1,000 cars and 5,000 figures as well as countless other details were accommodated. Vegetation and a detailed landscape make for an unforgettable experience. 5 tons of wood, 2 tons of plaster and around 20,000 screws were used to build the facility.

Klick here for more information and photos

Impressionen aus dem Jahr 2015

Special train in Hungary

You can also get a few impressions of the Railway museum in the second part of the SWR report.
Here the historic MAV Südbahn express train takes you to the Puszta.


Hungary in MSL

There are a lot of great MAV goodsin our Shop. Have a look and find little and big treasures.

Mini Cooper | Herpa #420822

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