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.
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.
A young girl was running the ticket office.
And class photos in the waiting room listed previous graduates of the railway.
We then stepped outside to our waiting train.
Hauled by a MÁV Mk45 diesel hydraulic locomotive.
The young stationmaster saluted our departure.
The first stop of Normafa was just a short platform.
The first real station being Csillebérc, where a communist-era patriotic mural adorned the side of the station building.
The young train guard and their adult supervisor give the green signal to the train driver.
Sightseers waved to our passing train.
Until we reached a crossing loop at Virágvölgy station.
Another salute from a young stationmaster.
Then off into the forest again.
We passed straight through the crossing loop at Jánoshegy.
And the halt at Vadaspark.
But at Szépjuhászné station we came to a stop.
So we could cross a train coming the opposite way.
Back on the move, and we soon reached Hárshegy station and another crossing loop.
And then a tunnel.
198 metres long.
Until we arrived at the Hűvösvölgy terminus.
Our locomotive ran around the train.
Then back onto the carriages.
Ready to take us back to Széchenyihegy.