Posts Tagged ‘Hungary’
A new railway across the Danube south of Budapest, would provide a bypass of the urban area. It is a logical option, given the railway geography, and there have been plans for such a line. At present, a freight bypass is under consideration, with several possible alignments. The version proposed here is an inter-regional passenger line, connecting the railway networks east and west of the Danube. Preferably, it would link existing rail junctions – so alignment options are more limited.
Székesfehérvár is the logical junction west of the Danube, with five converging rail routes from west and south. On the eastern side, the line could run to either Kecskemét, Cegléd or Szolnok. A line to Szolnok would maximise connections eastwards, and most options for that route would pass through Cegléd anyway. (Kecskemét would be served by another proposed trans-Danube line, the fast inter-regional line Szekszárd – Kalocsa – Kecskemét).
The new line in the Hungarian rail network: base map by JolietJake under CC3.0 licence…
A new line between Székesfehérvár and Cegléd must cross the main channel of the Danube, the parallel Ráckeve channel, and between them Csepel Island. The line would also cross the M6 and M5 motorways. It would also cross 3-4 existing rail lines, and some lines proposed here earlier.
Alignment and connecting lines
The line would start at Székesfehérvár (population 102 000), the regional centre of Central Transdanubia. The city is a railway junction, and the new line would connect to Hungarian line 20 (Szombathely main line), to line 30 (Balaton main line towards Croatia), and to line 29 (Balaton north shore line). Székesfehérvár is also on the proposed high-speed line Győr – Székesfehérvár – Szekszárd, and the proposed Lake Balaton high-speed rail line.
West of the Danube, the new line would cross first Hungarian line 40, the existing Budapest – Pécs main line. The proposed high-speed line Budapest – Szekszárd would run through Pusztaszabolcs, after following the M6 motorway from Budapest (in purple on the map below). The high-speed trains would not stop there, but the trans-Danube link would have interchange with regional services on line 40.
The trans-Danube link would therefore follow the existing line 44 from Székesfehérvár, entering Pusztaszabolcs from the south (in brown on the map). The proposed Danube right-bank regional line via Dunaújváros would bypass Pusztaszabolcs, following the M6 between Iváncsa and Adony (shown in green). It would have no interchange with the new line.
From Pusztaszabolcs, trains would first use the line to Budapest. The new alignment would start near junction 44 on the M6, turning east to the Danube. It would cross the main channel by bridge, to Csepel Island. The island is served by Budapest suburban line H6 (line 252), terminating at Ráckeve. Without interchange, the line could run north or south of the built-up area., but the only logical site for a station is at the north end of Ráckeve. Demolition of some housing is inevitable here. The alignment shown is close to the existing station, and a separate interchange station would not be needed.
The line would then cross the Ráckeve channel, toward Kiskunlacháza. The line should allow interchange with line 150, the Budapest – Kelebia line. It is at present single-track, but planned for upgrading as a European corridor.
A tunnel under the village seems unavoidable here. Further east, the line must pass between gravel pits and the Kiskunság National Park, and avoid a former airbase. That implies an alignment near the existing Kiskunlacháza station, and if it is coming from Ráckeve, it must pass close to the village centre.
The tunnel would not be long: the village is aligned north-south and the line would cross it at right angles. The Kelebia line has a sharp curve near the station, which should be realigned: there would be a new two-level station on that section.
The transversal line next crosses line 142, a secondary line to Kecskemét via Dabas. The proposed Budapest urban-regional would incorporate this line, as far as Dabas. The most logical place for an interchange station is the existing station site, near the centre. To reach it, another tunnel is needed, through the built-up area of Dabas. Again this is a short tunnel, probably a cut-and-cover tunnel with limited demolition: it crosses only four streets. Following the main road (highway 50), the new line would turn southeast. It would have new platforms close to the existing station, at the edge of the built-up area.
From Dabas, the line would turn east toward Cegléd, and cross the M5 motorway. This is also the alignment of the proposed high-speed line Budapest – Novi Sad – Beograd. That high-speed line (HSL) would start at Ferihegy airport, and run alongside the M5 motorway to Kecskemét. The transversal line would have a west-to-south junction, onto the HSL, allowing fast interregional trains between Székesfehérvár and Kecskemét.
The new transversal line would then join line 100, the main line east from Budapest via Cegléd. The line is double-track, but the existing alignment through Albertirsa needs improvement. The new line could avoid the built-up areas, and join line 100 at Budai út. station, on the northeastern edge of Cegléd.
Trans-Danube trains would continue for another 29 km, from Cegléd to Szolnok. They could go further – to Debrecen, Oradea or Arad (lines 100, 101 and 120). Alternatively, they could terminate at Szolnok, for interchange with services from Budapest. (Even the fastest trains on these routes would stop at Szolnok (population 75 000), a major railway junction. The exact pattern of services is not considered here.
On this alignment, the new trans-Danube line would be about 115 km long, from Székesfehérvár to Cegléd. Almost all would be on new alignment, some of it parallel to existing rail lines. The new section would have only four intermediate stations, not necessarily served by all trains. The fastest trains would take about 75 minutes, for the 145 km Székesfehérvár – Szolnok journey. However, the line is not primarily intended for travel between these cities. Many passengers would travel from west of Székesfehérvár to east of Szolnok, and transfer to/from other lines at those stations.
The high-speed line Budapest – Szekszárd, proposed here earlier, was intended as a route to Novi Sad and Belgrade. It can also be extended south to Osijek, creating a Danube right bank high-speed line (HSL). This line would have a similar function to the incomplete M6 motorway from Budapest to Osijek.
The HSL could simply follow the M6 motorway, crossing the hills south of Bátaszék, and passing 10 km east of Mohács. At first sight, that is the easiest option. However, the HSL could avoid the hills almost entirely, and serve Mohács, by crossing the Danube twice (shown in blue on the map).
That alignment would parallel the proposed regional line from Szekszárd to Mohács. South of Báta, the regional line would follow the Danube right bank, and the HSL would run inland from the left bank.
At Beli Manastir, the HSL from Szekszárd would join the proposed HSL Pécs – Osijek – Vinkovci. South of Beli Manastir, the existing rail alignment is very good, and the HSL would inevitably follow it.
HSL alignment from Szekszárd
The proposed high-speed lines from the north into Szekszárd are the HSL from Budapest, and the HSL from Győr via Székesfehérvár. The proposed Danube right-bank regional line via Dunaújváros, and the cross-Danube fast inter-regional line from Kecskemét via Kalocsa, would also enter from the north.
Between Szekszárd and Bátaszék, the existing rail line is indirect. The HSL would follow the M6 motorway, for most of the 17 km between them. The earlier proposal for a high-speed line connecting Pécs to Szekszárd and Baja included a triangular junction on the plain north of Bátaszék. With an additional HSL southwards, there are four lines to consider.
Triangular HSL junction in the fields: (typical for the French LGV network)…
The Szekszárd – Pécs HSL would certainly follow the the M6 motorway past Bátaszék: that would be the west side of the triangle. Some Pécs – Baja trains might stop at Bátaszék station, using a new curve onto the existing alignment. Through Pécs – Baja trains would run north of Bátaszék and Alsónyék, parallel to the new bypass, to join the existing Baja alignment. That is the south side of the triangle, also used by the link Szekszárd – Baja (shown in green on the diagram). The Mohács variant would leave the M6 north of Bátaszék, and pass between Bátaszék and Alsónyék: that is the east side of the triangle.
Click to enlarge…
There would be no interchange station: these isolated ‘gares des betteraves’ on high-speed lines, are generally failures.
South of Bátaszék, the M6 alignment would, like the motorway itself, need to cross several ridges in tunnel (the edge of the Mecsek range). It would be logical to combine the HSL alignments toward Pécs and Osijek, so the ‘M6 alignment’ might run north of the M6 near Veménd. After junction 174, the M6 turns to the south, and is more aligned with the topography.
The parallel ridges south-west of Bátaszék: the motorway is not visible on this 2006 image…
East of Mohács, the HSL would descend to the plain. The line is too far from Mohács (population 19 000), to effectively serve the town, and a HSL station here is pointless.
The alignment along the M6 would be about 98-100 km long, from Szekszárd to Osijek. The alternative via Mohács would be about 5% longer, but apart from a 2500 m tunnel at Báta, it crosses level terrain. It would be easier to build, and more suitable for higher speeds. It would also include a HSL station in Mohács, close to the town centre.
Báta – Mohács HSL alignment
The Mohács HSL would diverge from the M6, about 3-5 km north of Bátaszék. It would pass between Bátaszék and Alsónyék, and then follow the never-completed Bátaszék – Mohács railway. This old alignment toward Báta would also be used by the proposed regional line to Mohács.
Click to enlarge…
The regional line would turn south around Báta, to follow the Danube bank, but the HSL would cross the river. It would first enter a tunnel near Báta, pass under the ridge, and emerge on the Danube river escarpment. It would then continue as a viaduct and bridge, crossing the Danube to just north of Dunafalva. The line would then turn south-west, to run parallel to the river on the left (east) bank.
Click to enlarge: HSL in purple, regional line in green, superimposed on the original railway geography, from an Austro-Hungarian military map of around 1910.
At Ujmohács, the line would cross the Danube again, directly onto the existing rail alignment. This local line from Pécs via Villány (Hungarian line 65), is built at right angles to the river – evidently in preparation for a railway bridge. The town centre is close to the river, and the HSL station would be close to the bridge, on viaduct.
From the station, the HSL would drop to ground level, and follow rail line 65 to the M6 motorway. It would then turn south, to follow the motorway to Beli Manastir. (This alignment minimises environmental impact, but the HSL could also run straight toward Beli Manastir, saving about 2-3 km).
Some inter-regional trains would stop at Beli Manastir (population 12 000). The HSL would use the existing rail alignment, which lies west of the small town. From Beli Manastir, it is 25 km to the Drava River opposite Osijek.
Click to enlarge: The line Monostor (Beli Manastir) to Esseg (Osijek), as built, taken from an Austro-Hungarian military map of around 1910…
The options for a new Drava bridge or tunnel, were considered in the earlier proposal for a Pécs – Osijek HSL.
The longer alignment via Mohács would be compensated by higher speeds, on its straight and level sections. Even with additional time for a stop at Mohács, the journey time via both options would be about the same – under 40 minutes from Szekszárd to Osijek. The journey time on the proposed 300 km/h HSL Budapest – Szekszárd would be close to 40 minutes, giving a total Budapest – Osijek time of close to 80 minutes.
This is a list of proposals for rail lines on the central Alföld, or Great Hungarian Plain. The list covers roughly the area bounded by the cities Kecskemét, Szolnok, Debrecen, Oradea, Arad, and Szeged. The proposals include new sections, to match the rail network to the urban structure, and improve connections. The existing services are poor, the lines are generally in bad condition, and many are being closed.
A typical rail line of the Alföld, line 145 in this case, public domain image by VT…
See also the list of proposals for the adjoining region around Subotica and Szeged. The lines north of the main east-west line (Szolnok – Debrecen, Hungarian Line 100) are not listed here – re-alignment is less relevant in those cases.
- Kecskemét – Békéscsaba regional line
- new rail line Szentes – Orosháza
- regional line Debrecen – Berettyóújfalu – Oradea
- regional line Szolnok – Gyoma – Oradea
- upgraded Szeged – Békéscsaba rail line
- regional line Orosháza – Mezőtúr – Karcag
- regional line Orosháza – Arad
- regional line Szeged – Mezőhegyes – Békéscsaba
- regional line Gyoma – Dévaványa – Karcag
- upgraded line Békéscsaba – Oradea
- regional line Szeged – Makó – Arad
Two other lines can be upgraded on the existing route, without new infrastructure:
This proposed upgrading of the Békéscsaba – Oradea line would extend the proposed fast Szeged – Békéscsaba rail line. Both sections are on existing alignments. They were built as part of the long Alföld – Fiume line, when the region was part of the Kingdom of Hungary. The division of Hungary in 1920 cut the line, between Gyula and Salonta.
Click to enlarge: The original railway geography: Békéscsaba – Salonta line, without the line from Arad, from an Austro-Hungarian military map of around 1910.
Békéscsaba (population 65 000), is on the main line from Budapest, to Arad, Timişoara, and București (Bucharest). The Szeged – Oradea route is roughly at right angles to that line, and Békéscsaba is about half-way between them . It is the largest city on this line, and the capital of Békés County (population 377 000).
Otherwise, the Békéscsaba – Oradea line serves only a few villages and small towns. It crosses the flat, open agricultural land of the Crişana region. (The section inside Hungary is operated as part of Hungarian Line 128). The alignment consists of straight sections with curves between them, and most of the line is in open fields, so the line can be upgraded for high speeds, over 200 km/h. Obviously, it would be double-tracked and electrified.
The station at Békéscsaba is aligned with the main line: the line to Gyula turns east, about 1 km from the station. At that point, it is almost clear of the built-up area: there is room for a grade-separated junction, and some improvement of the curve. There is also more than enough room to expand the station itself.
The line runs almost due east to Gyula, population 32 000. There is a sharp curve east of the station, which is not a problem if trains stop there anyway. For through services, a northern bypass of the town is possible, the only major new infrastructure on this route. The 6-km bypass would shorten the route by only 700 m, and is only justifiable with frequent high-speed trains not stopping at Gyula.
The curve at Városerdő is in open fields, with room for realignment, and at Sarkad there is room for high-speed tracks just south of the existing station. Otherwise, the line here is dead straight. (Trains on Hungarian line 128 reverse at Kötegyán station, and turn north).
At Salonta (Szalonta, Nagyzsalonta, population 20 000), the line joins Romanian line 310, from Timişoara and Arad. Historically, it was the other way round: the line from Gyula was built first, the line from Arad was connected to it. Most of Salonta is east of the railway, and there is enough room for a grade-separated junction, and an expanded station.
North of Salonta, the line is again almost straight, right into Oradea. It has three rural halts, two in open fields. Although this route links the three main cities of western Romania, the line is not electrified, and this section is single-track. The assumption is that the whole Timişoara – Oradea route would be upgraded anyway, but only the 40-km Salonta – Oradea section is considered here.
Line 310 in regional context, extract from Romanian network map by Andrein, licence CC 3.0
At Oradea (population 245 000), the line turns east onto Romanian line 300, the northern Budapest – Bucharest route. Just outside Oradea, it would be joined by the proposed regional line from Szolnok and Gyoma. It then runs at the western edge of the city, before turning sharply onto line 300, about 2 km from Oradea Central Station. Line 300 is right at the edge of the Apuseni Mountains, but there is enough room for some improvement of the curve, and another grade-separated junction. (The line on the west side on the city has potential for urban-regional services with new stations, and there is enough room for extra tracks).
The rail line toward Satu Mare (line 402) extends in the same general direction as line 310, but it also enters Oradea from the west. Trains would have to reverse to continue, but it seems more logical to split the services.
The Békéscsaba – Oradea line is 90 km long, and would carry fast inter-regional services, starting at Szeged or further west. Some would stop at Gyula and Salonta, others would run non-stop between Békéscsaba and Oradea. A regional service would serve the smaller stations on the line – about 6-7 of them, after closure of rural halts in open fields.