There are many problems with the Hungarian railways

Even during the summer season there are many problems with the Hungarian State Railways (MÁV). Passengers regularly complain that even though they have purchased an Intercity ticket, they have to board older high-speed coaches with no air conditioning on board. There are also many cases where the train runs with fewer cars than expected. Therefore, the seats for which the ticket would be valid do not exist. Train delays and congestion are also common.

Problems during high season

In summer, more people travel on Hungarian State Railways (MÁV) trains than at other times of the year. The most popular destination is undoubtedly Lake Balaton. MÁV-Start needs to send more trains and wagons to Lake Balaton due to increased traffic around the lake. Consequently, there are fewer wagons in the rest of the country. As a result, there are fewer cars available for service. In particular, there is a shortage of conventional InterCity wagons. MÁV is trying to overcome this problem by bringing new wagons into service as part of the InterCity+ programme.

However, the number of IC and IC+ wagons is not sufficient to absorb the traffic, reports. The number of major repairs and inspections necessary to extend the life of cars is constantly reduced due to a lack of funds. These cars are long due to be repaired. According to Áron Szalay, a founding member of the Transporting Mass Association, these cars needed to be repaired years ago.

Even for minor malfunctions, cars can be parked for years. The Russian-Ukrainian war also weighs on rail services. The shortage of spare parts has hit MÁV-Start hard, Szalay said. The number of cars out of service can also be viewed on the Who Knows public data request page. MÁV has 54 Bpmz-type IC wagons, 10 of which are awaiting the main inspection. Several of them have been out of service since 2016. This means that almost one in five wagons is not in service.

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European Union objective

The so-called European Union White Paper sets ambitious targets: by 2030, a third of road freight transport over 300 kilometers should be replaced by rail, and this figure should be 50% by 2050 Currently, 7% of passengers and 11% of goods travel by train in Europe.

Obsolete and aging vehicles are not the only problem in Hungary. Besides traffic jams, sticking to the scheduled travel time can also be tricky. On average, trains owned by MÁV are 43 years old. This is also reflected in the speed. MÁV has 79 Intercity+ trains in its own factory. They can potentially reach 160-200 kilometers per hour but this is rarely the case, writes

Budapest Railway Bridge
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Laura T. Thrasher