Funzine.hu believes that you have to be a very special someone to get your own waiting hall at a railway station. For instance a king, like Franz Joseph, who was the ruler of Hungary in 1877, when the Nyugati railway station was constructed.
Before going into the history of the building, we should clarify that Nyugati (meaning western in Hungarian) is not western at all: the railway station wasn’t named after its geographic location, but the Nyugat railway company, which supported the construction works.
At the time of its inauguration, Nyugati was the 5th biggest railway station in the world designed by acknowledged masters like August de Serres and Gustave Eiffel. The latter designed the ironwork of the station, following an idea similar to what he used in the case of the Eiffel Tower.
It was the country’s first railway line inaugurated in 1846, which ran (or more so, ambled, as it covered the short way in 53 minutes) between Vác and Pest, and had its Pest terminal at the place of today’s Nyugati railway station. In that time there was a so called indóház (the word was created from indul = start and ház = house by neologists) built on today’s boulevard and its opposite side.
The construction of a new railway station was necessary due to increased train traffic and the boulevard in making. The construction works could only start after the demolition of the old indóház. It’s interesting that its last parts were only demolished at the end of the 1970s.
Kings in favour
Nyugati railway station, and mostly its neighbourhood, used to look completely different from how it looks now. It used to be surrounded by a huge garden with many trees. Today, the only tree reminiscent of this time is a 3 metre big, 130-year-old platan.
The street front of the building was quite surprisingly not the one facing the boulevard, but the one facing today’s Eiffel Square. An imposing restaurant used to be in the place of today’s McDonalds in the 19th century, while the service station of postal items used to be on the opposing side. Getting back to the popular fast food restaurant, according to the survey of the enterprise, the McDonalds at Nyugati is the second most beautiful restaurant out of all the units of the company.
The railway station also had a royal waiting hall with velvet furniture and a marble fireplace exclusively for Franz Joseph and Sissi. In fact, the queen even had her own flower garden. Moreover, a special mirror-doored workroom was built for the king along with apartments for the directorate.
Problems with Metro 3
Nowadays metro line 3 is definitely not our favourite due to several reasons, but the dwellers of the capital already had troubles with it in 1981, when it was constructed. That was when the metro line reached Nyugati Square (Marx Square back then), where an underground passage system was built along with an overpass between Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Road and Váci Road. This is why the shady Westend Hotel at the corner of Váci Road and the Boulevard became demolished. However, the name of the hotel revived in the Westend City Center mall.
For that matter, the demolished Westend Hotel and its neighbourhood had such a bad reputation that women’s associations welcomed and watched out for young, innocent girls coming to the capital at the station, even in the beginning of the 20th century, so that mischievous men wouldn’t violate them.
Featured image: Wiki Commons By Herbert Ortner
Copy editor: bm