Danube right-bank line via Dunaújváros

There is no continuous rail line along either bank of the Danube, south of Budapest. The nearest is the line to Szekszárd via Sárbogárd (Hungarian line 40 / 46). That alignment is probably the best for any high-speed rail line (HSL) to Szekszárd and further – because it can be combined with a HSL to/from Székesfehérvár and Győr. However, a separate line along the river is also possible. Proposed here is a right-bank inter-regional line along the Danube to Szekszárd, incorporating some sections of existing lines. It would be about 125 km long (Érd – Szekszárd). The banks of the Danube here are not heavily settled, and the largest town on the line is Dunaújváros (population 49 000). Nevertheless, a motorway to Pécs (M6) is under construction, along the right bank.

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duv-line

Trains from this proposed inter-regional line could connect at Szekszárd, to a HSL to Baja and Novi Sad. They could also continue from Szekszárd, over a HSL to Pécs. There, they could connect with other proposed lines, such as the HSL Koprivnica – Pécs and the HSL Pécs – Osijek – Vinkovci.

The line would start at Érd, at the edge of the Budapest agglomeration (total population 2,5 million), and about 25 km from the city centre. Via Kelenföld Station, trains could access the proposed cross-city tunnel, and at Érd station there would be interchange with the proposed Budapest urban-regional metro. However, the possible terminus in (or beyond) Budapest, will not be considered here. Neither is the necessary upgrade of the line Érd – Budapest.

From Érd to Iváncsa (24 km), trains would use the existing line 40 to Pécs. The next stations are at Százhalombatta (population 18 000, 5 km from Érd), and its refinery (Dunai Finomító), which is bigger than the town itself. There is one more intermediate station at Ercsi (population 8 600). From Iváncsa station, a new 10-km section would follow the motorway alignment, to Adony. It would shorten the existing route, by-passing Pusztaszabolcs.

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pszb-bypass

At Adony (population 3800), the route would join the existing line 42 toward Dunaújváros. This section is 18 km long, with intermediate stations at Kulcs (population 2000), and Rácalmás (population 4 300). Dunaújváros Station is large, but inconveniently located. This is a Communist-era new town, originally named Sztálinváros, built beside a new steelworks (now Dunaferr).

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dunaujvaros

South of Dunaújváros station, a new line would run alongside the main road (national highway 6), to Dunaföldvár. The existing line 42 also went there, but via a longer inland route. It was closed in the 2009 round of rail closures. The cut-off line would be about 20 km long. One new station is possible, at Kisapostag, but it only has 1300 inhabitants. The line would rejoin the old alignment at Dunaföldvár (population 9 200).

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duv-dfv

From Dunaföldvár, the alignment of line 42 could used, for the 23 km to Paks. However, it is indirect: a cut-off line of about 10 km, alongside the main road, is an option. The terrain is higher, but it would shorten the section by perhaps 2 km.

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paks-overview

Paks itself has a total population of 21 200. The line runs directly on the river bank, and the old Paks-Dunapart station was squeezed between the main road and the river. Nevertheless, the site adjoins the town centre, which Paks station did not. The line through Paks would need complete reconstruction. Paks station was the terminus of passenger services, but the railway continues to the Paks Nuclear Power Plant. A new alignment in southern Paks is needed anyway, so the station could be relocated.

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paks-south

From Paks, a new 24-km line, parallel to Highway 6, would connect Paks to Tolna-Mözs station, at the south end of Tolna (population 11 700). There it would join line 46 to Szekszárd.

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paks-tolna

A new station at the north end of Tolna is an option. The proposed new line across the Danube, from Kecskemét via Kalocsa, would join the line here.

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new rail lines into Tolna

From Tolna, line 46 runs south in a straight line for 8 km, to just outside Szekszárd station. Szekszárd has a population of only 34 000, and is the capital of Tolna County (population 238 000). The city is at the edge of the Danube flood plain, but away from the present Danube channel. To the east is historic Sárköz region, and the Gemenc floodplain forest, which is now part of the Duna-Dráva National Park.

Click to enlarge: Szekszard on the hills, at the edge of the flood plain.

Szekszard on the hills, at the edge of the flood plain

Szekszárd is geographically a logical interchange point, for new high-speed lines toward Budapest, Győr, Pécs and Novi Sad. These lines, and the inter-regional service proposed here, would use the existing station at Szekszárd, which is close to the centre.

szeksszard-aerial

The population served by the proposed line, is roughly that of the four districts (Kistérség) which it passes: Érd 96 500, Dunaújváros 74 000, Paks 49 000 and Szekszárd 87 000 – a total of 307 000. It is not a high-speed line, but since it has new sections, speeds can be relatively high. The journey time from central Budapest (150 km), could be close to 90 minutes. Dunaújváros should be within an hour of central Budapest.

Danube right-bank line via Dunaújváros

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