Hungary’s first tram-train ready to roll
Hungary’s first tram-train ready to roll

The Hungarian government curses a pleasant surprise

The diesel-electric bidirectional vehicles will switch seamlessly from Szeged and Hódmezővásárhely tram lines to the intercity railroad at speeds reaching 100 km/h

Farewell, replacement buses! From February 22, train traffic between the Hungarian cities of Szeged and Hódmezővásárhely will resume following a renovation of the intercity railway, reports szeged.hu.

What makes this event memorable is that the refurbished line will be serviced by Hungary’s first diesel-electric tram-trains, manufactured by Stadler Rail Valencia SAU. The pioneering vehicle is already doing test rides and, according to the manufacturer, the next two tram-trains are expected to arrive this spring with another five to be delivered by this summer. The overall order is for 8+4 vehicles.

The Citylink bidirectional, dual-mode vehicles will cover the distance between Hódmezővásárhely and Szeged in about 37 minutes, so they will provide the fastest way to get from one city to the other. During peak hours, the entire fleet of railway trams, nicknamed Vasvillai (Pitchforks), can be activated to have a vehicle running every 15 minutes.

The 37-metre-long, 71-ton tram-train has a capacity of 216 passengers and 92 seats (16 of them foldable). And because it is low-floor and barrier-free, it is also friendly to persons with reduced mobility. There are two multifunctional spaces suitable for wheelchairs, bicycles and prams.  

City traffic regulations confine the tram-train to a maximum speed of 50 km/h, but once out of town, the stainless steel Pitchfork can dart off at up to 100 km/h, using its diesel drive. The comfortable vehicle features a state-of-the-art passenger information system, air conditioning, spacious driver’s cabin, and on-board security camera system. 

The reconstruction of the large railway track between the two cities which has been underway since April 2018, is financed by the Hungarian state. The contractor Swietelsky Vasúttechnika Kft. has received HUF 25, 676 billion. The total tram-train investment will cost HUF 80 billion (EUR 224 842 224).