Railfan’s guide to Budapest, Hungary

My visit to Budapest was stop number three on my trip across Europe, and I stayed there for a few days – the city has plenty to see, and you won’t be able to visit all of the locations below in a single day.

Budapest Chain Bridge lit up by night

I started my journey at Deák Ferenc tér – home of the Budapest Metro Museum and interchange point between metro lines M1, M2 and M3.

There you might see the last of the Type ‘Ev’ trains built by Metrovagonmash of the former-USSR.

BKV operated Metrovagonmash type 'Ev' train in Budapest

As well as the modern Alstom Metropolis trains that replaced them.

Modern Alstom train arrives on the Budapest Metro

And the dinky little Ganz-built trains used on line M1.

Train arrives into Oktogon station on the 100 year old Budapest Metro

Catch line M1 to Oktogon station then head back to the surface. Here route 4 and 6 trams run along Grand Boulevard, using low-floor Siemens Combino Supra vehicles – the longest in Europe.

Stopping for passengers at a platform stop, Combino Plus tram #2013 at Oktogon

After walking a few blocks west, you’ll find an intersection where tram and trolleybus wires cross.

Combino Supra #2030 passes a stopped trolleybus

And next door to that is Budapest-Nyugati pályaudvar railway station.

Street side of Budapest-Nyugati pályaudvar

You’ll find all kinds of MÁV (Hungarian State Railways) trains in the platforms.

Budapest-Nyugati pályaudvar and a Hungarian passenger train

Some new.

MÁV Stadler 'FLIRT' EMU 5341 049-5 at Budapest-Nyugati pályaudvar

And some old.

MÁV driving trailer car BDt 452 at Budapest-Nyugati pályaudvar

It is now time to board a westbound route 4 or 6 tram towards Széll Kálmán tér – a major transport interchange on the Buda side of the city.

Trams #2024 and #2011 at the route 4/6 terminus

From here, you can either walk or catch a route 59 tram to the downhill terminus of the Cog-wheel railway.

Train #57 arrives into the downhill terminus

This railway slowly climbs the mountain, until it reaches the terminus of Széchenyi-hegy.

Train #65 arrives into the terminus of station of Széchenyi-hegy

At the top of the mountain you’ll find another curious railway – the Gyermekvasút.

A bit of sunshine in the snow at the Children's Railway

Meaning ‘Children’s Railway’ when translated into English, this 11.2 km long narrow gauge line is operated by a rotating roster of children aged 10–14, under adult supervision.

Departure time, the young stationmaster and his adult supervisor salute a second time

After a return trip on the Gyermekvasút, you can then head back down the mountain on the cog-wheel railway and make your way back to Széll Kálmán tér, where you can make your way back home on the Budapest Metro.

Bonus attractions

Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge over the Danube are must see sights – and on the way there, you’ll pass the Budavári Sikló – a short double-track funicular railway that climbs the hill to Buda Castle.

Car 2 rises to the upper station

You’ll also see trams along the west back of the Danube.

Tram running beside the Danube River in Budapest

And on the other bank you’ll find the route 2 tram which travels past the sights on the Pest side of the river.

Elizabeth Bridge in the background, a Budapest tram trundles along the Danube

Google Map

Here is a Google Map showing the locations I pointed out above:

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2 Responses to Railfan’s guide to Budapest, Hungary

  1. Andrew says:

    We only travelled on one train, from a station on Andrassy to Vorosmarty Ter. The train was quite utilitarian and far from new. But we travelled on almost everything else, the 4/6 tram, route 2 including when historic trams were running on a Sunday, the cog railway and the children’s railway, along with routes 59 and 61. We were there in June, so the weather was quite different to what I am seeing in your photos. I expect you are aware of the even longer trams now being tested or perhaps already in use in Budapest. It is a great city.

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