- 5 Sep 2023 6:00 AM
New age of rail
With Europe embracing a new age of rail, infrastructure across the continent is improving significantly, encouraging travellers to choose the train over cars or planes.
Of the many new night services, the route from Budapest to Split on Croatia’s Adriatic coast has proved particularly popular this summer, with extra carriages added.
Services to Prague, Berlin and Switzerland are also heavily subscribed, with discounted tickets available for children, groups and seniors.
Station to station
Within Budapest, the main stations have received a serious upgrade, beginning with Keleti where a swish new concourse now spreads across sub-platform level, with rows of ticket offices, an information office and improved wheelchair access.
The €4.4 million renovation was partly funded by the European Union. Escalators now connect passengers with the platform level, while Keleti’s historic façade, featuring statues of British pioneers James Watt and George Stephenson, has also undergone a complete overhaul, allowing it to remain one of the great steam palaces in Europe.
Meanwhile, Budapest’s other great station, Nyugati, also received significant EU funding recently to the tune of €2.8 million. Following this financial backing, the station, which witnessed the departure of the first train journey in Hungary in 1846, has received a complete revamp. Its historic steel-and-glass façade, designed by the Eiffel company of Paris tower fame, now gleams anew while the roof and signage have also been significantly modernised.
As for Budapest’s third main station, Déli, the key hub for rail services for Lake Balaton, while the Socialist-Realist architecture remains, plans are afoot to create a crosstown link along the lines of Brussels in Belgium, so that passengers can hop between stations with ease.
Travelling by rail across Hungary
InterCity trains link Budapest with Hungary’s main cities of Debrecen, Miskolc, Pécs, Szeged, Sopron and Szombathely. There are also services beyond Hungary’s borders to Arad and Cluj in Romania.
Internal train journeys to and from the capital are usually completed in two or three hours. For these InterCity trains, seat reservations are compulsory – making the new MÁV app essential as well as convenient.
The new app is available here
Words by Peterjon Cresswell for Xpatloop.com
Peterjon has been researching the byways of Budapest for 30 years, extending his expertise across Europe to produce guidebooks for Time Out and his own website liberoguide.com