You just have to go to Huvosvolgy, Budapest, and get on a little train which carries passengers since the 1940s, origo.hu wrote.
Today, children’s railway is an integral part of Huvosvolgy and the Buda Hill, but at that time, there was a serious dispute about how it should be constructed. Possible locations were the Margaret Island, People’s Park and the Godollo Castle as well.
The work began in April 1948 and the first 3 km-long section from Szechenyi Hill to Viragvolgy station was completed in three months.
Initially, only three trains operated on the route and only one (Little Piri) was made specifically for the pioneer railway (pioneers were members of a Communist youth movement before the regime change). The currently operating 6 red-white Mk45 diesel locomotives were made in Romania and they have been in use since 1973. The reconstruction has begun in 2010, the old engines have been replaced with more modern and more efficient Caterpillar-type engines, but they remained quite loud, origo.hu wrote.
Two steam locomotives and one motor train, produced in 1929, should operate on the route on weekends. But actually one of the steam locomotives is out of service and is waiting for a component, while the other one’s boiler exam has been expired.
After the regime change the name ‘pioneer railway’ was replaced, but the tradition of having 10-14-year-old children performing service on the routes and at the stations has been kept. Adult train station chiefs and drivers supervise them, and the technical background is also provided by adult workers.
According to origo.hu anyone can work at the children’s railway if they study well and get permission from the school. They have to pass the medical exam and complete a 4-month-long course as well. The railway’s website states that the newbies have to perform a training service first, and only after that will they get into actual duty which usually takes place once in every 15-18 days.
A full-price ticket – between the end stations – costs 700 HUF, a section ticket is 100 HUF cheaper, while tickets for children between 6 and 14 cost 350 HUF (slightly more than one euro). You can also buy tickets from the conductors, so you won’t miss the train.
The trains do not operate on Mondays from the beginning of September until the end of April, but they operate every day in the summer season, with a denser timetable between mid-May and mid-June. That means that a train departs every hour on weekdays and in every 30-45 minutes on weekends.
There is also a light railway museum in Huvosvolgy, where the entry costs 100 HUF and you get a postcard as well. You can buy virtually everything that can be linked to the children’s railway in the shop inside the museum.
Although the line gets little money from MAV (Hungarian railway company), the workers try to replace it with enthusiasm. For example, you can order a separate coach to celebrate birthday, reunion or a party, but launching a special train is also possible, origo.hu wrote.
Photos: Gyermekvasut Facebook page
Copy editor: bm