Riding the Children’s Railway in Budapest

Up in the hills above Budapest is a unique railway – the Gyermekvasút (Children’s Railway), where children aged 10 to 14 operate the railway under the supervision of adult staff.

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

Opened in 1948, the 1.2 kilometres long 760 mm narrow gauge railway was built by the Hungarian Communist Party as a venue for teenagers to learn railway professions, today the line is a popular tourist attraction.

We joined the train at the Széchenyihegy terminus, a short distance from the upper terminus of the Budapest Cog Railway.

Széchenyi-hegy station on the Gyermekvasút in Budapest

A young girl was running the ticket office.

Buying a tickets from the young girl at the booking office window

And class photos in the waiting room listed previous graduates of the railway.

Class photos from the previous Children's Railway participants

We then stepped outside to our waiting train.

Three carriage train waiting at Széchenyi-hegy station

Hauled by a MÁV Mk45 diesel hydraulic locomotive.

Locomotive Mk45,2004 shunting a single carriage

The young stationmaster saluted our departure.

Young stationmaster and an even younger onlooker salute the departing train

The first stop of Normafa was just a short platform.

Passing 'Normafa mh' halt on the Children's Railway

The first real station being Csillebérc, where a communist-era patriotic mural adorned the side of the station building.

Station building at Csillebérc on the Children's Railway

The young train guard and their adult supervisor give the green signal to the train driver.

Young train guard and their adult supervisor give the green signal to the train driver

Sightseers waved to our passing train.

Sightseers wave to the passing train

Until we reached a crossing loop at Virágvölgy station.

Young boy in charge of the crossing loop points, saluting our approaching train

Another salute from a young stationmaster.

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

Then off into the forest again.

Heading through the snow covered forest

We passed straight through the crossing loop at Jánoshegy.

Station building and crossing loop at Jánoshegy station

And the halt at Vadaspark.

'Vadaspark mh' halt on the Children's Railway

But at Szépjuhászné station we came to a stop.

Arriving at Szépjuhászné station to cross an opposing train

So we could cross a train coming the opposite way.

Father and son ride the Children's Railway

Back on the move, and we soon reached Hárshegy station and another crossing loop.

Leaving the crossing loop and Hárshegy station behind

And then a tunnel.

Emerging from the tunnel

198 metres long.

Looking out the tunnel portal

Until we arrived at the Hűvösvölgy terminus.

Young girl in charge of the points at Hűvösvölgy station

Our locomotive ran around the train.

Yellow flag from the little girl in charge of the points at Hűvösvölgy

Then back onto the carriages.

Smoko time for the adult railway staff

Ready to take us back to Széchenyihegy.

Further reading

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