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Source: MÁV

Budapest Agglomeration Railway Strategy revealed

Budapest Agglomeration Railway Strategy revealed

The journey from the city centre to Ferenc Liszt International Airport will take 20 minutes

The Budapest Development Agency (BKF), a government body working in close cooperation with the City of Budapest, has presented its ambitious strategy for the development of the Hungarian capital’s suburban railways until 2040. The Budapest Agglomeration Railway Strategy (BAVS) envisages the entire agglomeration and all surrounding settlements to be fully connected to the capital city by train.

More trains, less cars

The ultimate goal is to increase the number of passengers using the suburban railway services by 80 percent until 2040, which will lead to a significant reduction of personal car trips. Car traffic poses big logistical and environmental problems for Budapest, such as congestion, pollution, lack of parking space, and incurs direct losses to the economy, estimated at billions of forints.

The goal will be achieved through large-scale investments in the modernisation and expansion of Budapest’s railway network, totalling HUF 2 trillion (EUR 5.6 billion) and funded within the European 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework.

“The new railway development plans will be useful for both inside and outside Budapest. Many people today do not choose public transport because it often does not provide an adequate standard around Budapest, which is why the city is congested. We want a solution, a way out that saves time, makes the air in Budapest cleaner, reduces traffic in the city centre and helps climate targets,” Balázs Fürjes, the Minister of State for Budapest and the Development of the Capital’s Metropolitan Area said, quoted by Railway PRO Magazine.

Scheduled for implementation in two stages – by years 2030 and 2040, the strategy comprises 60 measures for the upgrading of the railway infrastructure and services as well as the procurement of new trains. Under the plan, a 4,5 km inner-city tunnel under the Danube will be constructed (a feasibility study is underway), as well as a new Danube bridge that will provide links to South Buda and South Pest. The new metro line 5 will be developed, extension of HÉV lines will be carried out and 53 percent of the tracks will be renovated to comply with the increased capacity of the railway network.  

A programme to renew the railway stations launched in 2019 continues with the reconstruction of Nyugati station underway and accessibility improvements at Keleti station to begin shortly. The train fleet will be renewed and expanded with 50 battery-electric trains, 40 Kiss double-deck EMUs, and 54 low-floor EMUs. Inter City railcars will be manufactured locally at the Szolnok plant.

Links to inner-city public transport and bicycle network

Two rapid suburban and four local trains are scheduled to run every hour on most railway lines, providing direct access to at least three metro lines as well as connections to bus, parking and bicycle networks within Budapest. This will require a unified timetable and single ticketing system to be put in place. It is noteworthy that after the completion of stage 2, the journey from the city centre to Ferenc Liszt International Airport will take 20 minutes, with 16 new stops added along the way.

Analysis shows that following a successful implementation of BAVS, the number of urban transport users will increase fourfold due to the improved accessibility, with the number of people who choose to travel by train reaching 1 million. This means that 115,000 cars will “vanish” from the city limits area, saving passengers 15 minutes a day into the bargain.

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