The tram-train between Hódmezővásárhely and Szeged officially made its first trip. The vehicle left the station at 3:30 AM on Monday. Travelling on the tram-train is free of charge until mid-April. The project was financed from EU funds and cost 80 billion forints (EUR 217,789,390). By taking the tram-train, people can travel from one city to the other in 35 minutes.
Neither László Botka, the mayor of Szeged, nor Péter Márki-Zay, the mayor of Hódmezővásárhely, were invited to the occasion. László Palkovics, the Minister for Innovation and Technology, and János Lázár, the Government Commissioner for Transport Investment, were there, writes HVG.
The two mayors inaugurated the new means of transport in Szeged. Péter Márki-Zay took the tram-train at 9:30. He then handed over the line together with the mayor of Szeged.
László Palkovics said that the tram-train is Hungary’s most innovative railway development. The next line could be developed between Debrecen and Nagyvárad.
This investment would have a political aspect to it. Nagyvárad was a Hungarian city, but after certain historical events, it became part of Romania, along with Transylvania and the Hungarians in the region. The tram-train would connect cities but also Hungarians living in Hungary and Hungarians living as Romania’s official minority group. Therefore, the tram-train would have the symbolic meaning of connecting a nation separated by a border.
The diesel-electric hybrid CityLink manufactured by Stadler is an innovative vehicle in Hungary.
The name indicates the function. The vehicle functions as a train and as a tram, depending on the location and the route. People can travel from one city to another without switching vehicles, thus saving time. Telex reported on the first occasion the tram-train was used.
They reported that the actual time of the commute was 54 minutes. The tram-train passes on a single track, and certain circumstances can affect its schedule. If another vehicle is late or something happens, the commute might be 60-65 minutes. It could save time if the speed limit at certain places for trains would be 100 km/h instead of the current 80 km/h.
The tram-train is very convenient. It can be switched to diesel mode in places where getting electricity is not possible. The doors are also custom-made to fit the height of the stations. At railway stations, the higher doors will open, while in the city, the lower doors will open. Only the door that matches the station’s height opens at the respective station.
Passengers were generally satisfied with the tram-train. They like the comfort of it and plan to take the tram-train in the future. On the first day, however, the vehicle was a little bit crowded.
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Source: HVG, Telex
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