Kecskemét – Békéscsaba regional line

This 124-km regional line from Kecskemét to Békéscsaba, would be created by building two new rail links. They would join Hungarian line 146, and part of line 125, into a single rail line between two regional centers. The region is part of the Alföld, the Great Hungarian Plain. Although it has a network of rural rail lines, they do not match the present urban structure. Traffic is low, services are infrequent, connections are bad, and many lines are being closed:

The new regional line would link Kecskemét (population 110 000) on the main line to Szeged, with Békéscsaba (population 65 000) on the main line to București (Bucharest). Both are county capitals: Kecskemét is the capital of Bács-Kiskun_County (population 530 000), and Békéscsaba is the capital of Békés County (370 000).

At present, the 56-km line 146 runs east from Kecskemét to Kunszentmárton. At Lakitelek, it crosses line 145 (Szolnok – Kiskunfélegyháza). Kunszentmárton itself (population 9000), is on line 130, a long north-south regional line, from Szolnok to Makó.

Line 130 is probably the easiest route from Budapest to Kunszentmárton, because the line Budapest – Kecskemét is indirect. That would change, after construction of the proposed high-speed line Budapest – Kecskemét – Belgrade. Line 146 would then be a feeder line, for high-speed services to/from Budapest.

About 20 km east of Kunszentmárton is Szarvas (population 17 500). It is on line 125, a north-south regional line from Orosháza to Mezőtúr. That line would be upgraded and extended to Karcag.

There is no rail line between Kunszentmárton and Szarvas. Construction of a new link would be easy, but Szarvas station would need relocation. The new alignment would have one intermediate station, at the village of Békésszentandrás (population 4000). It would be about 22 km long.

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Kecskemét - Békéscsaba regional rail line proposal

The new alignment station at Szarvas would preferably cut through the housing, at the south edge of the small town. That would allow a single new station, also for Mezőtúr – Orosháza services.

Beyond Szarvas, line 125 runs at first toward Békéscsaba: it then turns south toward Orosháza. A new 30-km section would be needed, from east of Csabacsűd, to the edge of Békéscsaba: it would roughly follow highway 44. The new section would have only one intermediate station, at Kondoros. (Line 125 had a branch to this village, but its alignment is not suitable for a line toward Békéscsaba).

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Kecskemét - Békéscsaba regional rail line proposal

On the outskirts of Békéscsaba, the new alignment would run next to the main road (Szarvasi út), possibly on viaduct. It would join the existing line, about 2 km from the mainline station. The Szarvas – Békéscsaba section would be 46 km long in total.

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Kecskemét - Békéscsaba regional rail line proposal

The new regional route would cross three rail lines at right angles – lines 145, 130 and 125. They would retain their existing alignments, but they should be upgraded. Rural networks such as these, which are interstitial between main lines, and share stations with those lines, should generally be electrified anyway.

The new sections would be built across level plain, at 85 – 95 m elevation. The land around Kecskemét is slightly higher, 110-120 m. The main problem is the number of rural roads, crossed by the new alignment. This is not a high-speed line, but 150 km/h is now a standard line speed for new lines in Europe. With upgrading of the older sections, a Kecskemét – Békéscsaba journey time of 90 minutes is feasible. The whole line should be double-tracked and electrified: there is no point in building another low-quality line, in a region which has enough of them already.

Kecskemét – Békéscsaba regional line

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