Budapest to Bucharest by train

Our rail journey from Budapest in Hungary to Bucharest in Romania was a long one, because we made a pit stop in Transylvania to see Dracula’s Castle. So what did we see along the way?

Spooky castle on the hill

Part One: Budapest to Brașov

The train departed Budapest Keleti pályaudvar, with a CFR Class 47 electric locomotive hauling the service jointly operated by CFR (Căile Ferate Române) and MÁV (Hungarian State Railways).

CFR supplied locomotive ready to lead our train east from Budapest to Romania

As we travelled south-west across Hungary, a grey mist covered the countryside.

Speeding through Mende station in Hungary

The stations were very frequent.

Passengers waiting at Tápiógyörgye station

And along the way, we passed suburban trains stopping at the smaller stations.

MÁV Stadler 'FLIRT' EMU at Sülysáp station

The weather didn’t get any better.

Riding beside the railway tracks in Hungary

At least for the trackworkers, their high-vis vests stood out.

Workers on the railway tracks in Hungary

At bigger cities like Mezőtúr we stopped for passengers.

Passengers waiting for a train at Mezőtúr station

But eventually the cities gave way to farm houses.

Another farm house out in the Hungarian countryside

As well as open countryside.

Hungarian farm house outside Gyomaendrőd

In the larger towns there were long queues of cars at level crossings, waiting for our train to pass.

Cars wait at a Hungarian level crossing

But a number of grade separation projects are underway.

Work on grade separating a Hungarian level crossing

The city of Békéscsaba was our final stop in Hungary.

Passengers wait for trains at Békéscsaba station in Hungary

A number of coal and passengers trains were stabled in the yard.

Stabled passenger and coal trains in the yard at Békéscsaba, Hungary

Hungarian hopper wagons stabled in the goods yard

As we continued towards the border with Romania, the sun started to come out from behind the clouds.

Farmhouses out in south-east Hungary

With the grey mist replaced by green grass.

Quite a harvest of hay bales in south-east Hungary

With sheep grazing out on the open plains.

Sheep grazing in south-east Hungary

We eventually rolled into the station at Lőkösháza, which is the checkpoint for the Hungarian side of the border.

Abandoned wagon beside the yard at Lőkösháza, Hungary

After having our travel documents checked, the train was clear to head out of Hungary.

Hungarian police check our train at Lőkösháza station, on the Romanian border

We then stopped at Curtici on the Romanian side, so that their border staff could complete the same checks.

Stationmaster at Curtici watches our train depart

On crossing into Romania, everything seemed to be falling apart.

Abandoned building beside the railway in western Romania

There were new buildings taking shape, but all looked to be unfinished and in a state of abandonment.

Incomplete Romanian houses near the border with Hungary

The first Romanian city we passed through was Arad, which welcomed us with a massive coal fired power station.

Passing the CET Arad power station

The crumbling concrete railway offices didn’t exactly roll out the welcome mat either.

Crumbling concrete railway offices at Arad

As we continued west the countryside became more scenic, the open plains gave way to rolling hills.

Romanian countryside outside Arad

Our train sped through dozens of sleepy looking railway stations.

Stationmaster at Ghioroc also watches our train pass by

As we headed up into the mountains, the railway paralleled a major highway.

Drivers headed the other way also stopped on the highway

Where a car crash had shut down the route, with drivers abandoning their vehicles.

The cause of the highway blockage

As the elevation increased, so did the snow cover.

Snow covered fields in western Romania

But night soon fell, with the last few hours of the journey being in the dark.

Late night stop at Vințu de Jos station

We finally arrived into Brașov station at 11 pm, and headed for our hotel.

Leaving the train at Brasov station

Part Two: Brașov to Bucharest

After a side trip to Bran Castle and two nights spent in a hotel above the train station, it was time to depart Brașov.

Short passenger train arrives into Brasov

The train headed up into the mountains, passing resort towns such as Predeal.

Arriving into the Romanian ski resort town of Predeal

We were down in a valley, with the Bucegi Mountains towering above.

Bucegi Mountains tower over the Romanian town of Bușteni

We crossed ice covered rivers a number of times, where there seemed to be a lot of construction work going on.

Some sort of construction work underway beside the river

As we left the mountains, factories became more common.

Abandoned looking factory in the Romanian town of Comarnic

With power stations and smokestacks dominating the scenery.

'CET Dalkia Brazi' power station outside the Romanian town of Brazi

Eventually we reached the plains.

What looks like oil wells outside Periş, Romania

Silos and flour mills indicate that grain is an important crop in Romania.

Derelict looking grain silo and mill complex at Periş, Romania

But there wasn’t much else to see.

More transmission lines cross the Romanian countryside

Eventually we entered the suburbs of Bucharest.

Minor railway crossing in the suburbs of Bucharest

Grey concrete apartment began to dominate the view out the window.

Departing Bucharest's Gara de Nord

Until we reached Gara de Nord station in Bucharest, where our train terminated.

CFR Class 47 electric locomotive 477-753-4 on arrival at Bucharest North railway station

Note the CFR Class 47 electric locomotive up the front – it was swapped with the original diesel locomotive during the station stop at Brasov.

Footnote

For the entire journey I had my GPS datalogger running – the resulting track can be found below.

Budapest, Hungary to Bucharest, Romania by train via Brasov

The red marker indicates our pit stop in Brașov.

Further reading

The Man in Seat 61 has more details of the trains that run between Budapest and Bucharest.

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