Chain Bridge and St. Stephen's Basilica, May 4, 2011

Chain Bridge and St. Stephen’s Basilica, May 4, 2011

Hungary has a highly developed transportation network that includes railways, trams, buses, and the world’s oldest electrically powered subway system.  Hungarian State Railways (MAV) traces its history to 1869.  Today, it operates 4,726 miles of track, the majority of which is built to standard gauge.  However, there are also 22 miles of broad gauge track and MAV also operates several narrow gauge lines including Nyíregyháza–Balsai Tisza part/Dombrád; Balatonfenyves–Somogyszentpál; Kecskemét–Kiskunmajsa/Kiskőrös and the Children’s Railway in Budapest.  The country’s other narrow gauge railways are run by State Forest companies or local non-profit organizations.

Budapest, the capital, has one of the most extensive transit networks in all of Europe.  It is also one of the most utilized; more than half of the city’s 1.7 million residents travel using public transit.  Buses are the most utilized form of transportation, but the city also has 33 tram lines, 15 trolleybus lines, and 4 metro lines, one of which was the first electric powered subway line in the world when it opened in 1896.

Budapest Trams

The first tram in Budapest was pulled by horse and entered service on July 30, 1866. By 1885, there were 15 horse-drawn tram lines, but that was the peak of that network; the first electric tram was inaugurated on November 28, 1887. Between 1939 and 1944, Budapest had 66 tram lines. However, the tram network was significantly disrupted following the Siege of Budapest during World War II. Some lines were replaced by trolleybuses, but expansion of the tram network continued until the construction of Metro lines 2 and 3 in the 1970s. As of 2014, the Budapest tram network is one of the largest in the world and very well utilized, it carries almost 100 million more passengers annually than the city's subway system. There are 33 lines in operation, most of which operate from about 5 AM to 11 PM each day. The fleet has over 600 vehicles stored at 9 depots located around the city. The Siemens Combino Supra trams that entered service are 177 feet long, making them among the longest trams in the world.

Budapest Trolleybuses

The first trolleybus in Budapest was inaugurated on December 16, 1933. Service was suspended after the Siege of Budapest in 1944, during World War II, but started again after the war on December 21, 1949. In honor of Joseph Stalin's 70th birthday that year, the trolleybus was given the designation of route 70, a designation that remains in place today. Other trolleybus lines in Budapest are also numbered between 71 and 79. As of 2015, the trolleybus fleet has nearly 180 vehicles serving about 15 lines.

Budapest Buses

Buses are the most utilized form of public transportation in Budapest. The bus network is very extensive, with an all diesel fleet of both standard and articulated buses. The first bus route in Budapest was introduced in 1915 and since then the network has expanded to include over 200 routes and 1200 vehicles.

Budapest Castle Hill Funicular

The Castle Hill Funicular is a municipally owned funicular operated by BKV connecting Adam Clark Square and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge with Buda Castle. It first opened in 1870 and was transferred to city ownership in 1920. The funicular was damaged by bombs during World War II and did not reopen until June 4, 1986. The line is 312 feet long and a one way trip takes about a minute and a half.