A high-speed rail line (HSL) from Pécs, to a triangular junction south of Szekszárd, would allow the proposed HSL from Budapest to Novi Sad via Szekszárd to become the main route to Pécs (population 157 000). It would also complete the proposed HSL Koprivnica – Pécs carrying services from Ljubljana, Maribor, and Zagreb. These could be logically extended toward Szeged via Subotica (an existing but partly disused alignment).
Pécs, the red dot is the station…
The line would be about 45-50 km long. Unfortunately, the line would run at right angles to the local topography, for most of its length. Pécs is located at the foot of the Mecsek range (the vertical axis is exaggerated on the images). The terrain to the south of the hills is dissected by numerous streams from the range, and the line would cross many small valleys. The pattern is especially evident between Véménd and Bátaszék. The existing Pécs – Bátaszék line is therefore very winding and indirect: east of Pécsvárad, it has been abandoned and the rest was closed in the 2009 round of rail closures.
The new line would require a high-speed exit from Pécs station. For a few kilometres, this would be shared with the proposed high-speed line Pécs – Osijek – Vinkovci. The lines would split at the existing junction of lines 64 and 65. From there to the outskirss of Pécs, a tunnel under the main road (highway 6, Pécsváradi út) is probably the best option.
The closed line from Pécs to Pécsvárad, 23 km long…
As far as Pécsvárad, the new line would parallel the existing line, but it would be more heavily engineerd (and therefore shorter). From Pécsvárad, the line would turn due east to Véménd, between two hills, and parallel to the Karasica stream. This section would be about 15 km long. (It is the only section, where the topography is relatively favourable).
From Véménd to Bátaszék, the old line made a long diversion, to avoid crossing the parallel valleys. The new line would pass through a tunnel, or a series of tunnels and viaducts. South of Bátaszék, the new line would join the new M6 motorway. Several kilometres further, it would split at the new triangular junction. Trains from Pécs would turn either north to Szekszárd, and the HSL to Budapest, or east to Baja (about 20 km from the junction).
From Baja the old rail route to Szeged would be reactivated and upgraded. This is one of many lines cut by the new borders after the First World War. (Some of it is in use as Hungarian line 154). The line to Subotica via Bácsalmás is 60 km long, easy to upgrade. It also favours interchange at Subotica station, with the other proposed high-speed line, from Budapest to Novi Sad and Beograd.
The old alignment from Subotica to Szeged is also suitable for heavy upgrading: it is 41 km long. Only part of it is in use (Hungarian line line 136). Trains from Subotica would serve a new station on the proposed high-speed line Budapest – Kikinda -Timisoara, and then contine to the existing city-centre station.
Szeged is the logical point to terminate high-speed services through Pécs, and originating as far back as Ljubljana and Zagreb. The whole route from Pécs to Szeged would be about 165 km long. Over new and upgraded lines, with two intermediate stops (Baja and Subotica), a journey time of close to one hour should be feasible.