Hungarian line 127 originally ran from Gyoma to Oradea (Nagyvárad in Hungarian). Like many others, this rural line was cut by the post-1918 borders, and it ended ‘in the middle of nowhere’. The dead-end section east of Vésztő was closed in the 2009 round of rail closures. On the Romanian side, the 23-km line 312 Cheresig – Oradea is closed for traffic. The alignment is in a state of decay, but still intact.
Even without the border, this line would have problems. It has a zig-zag alignment, from village to village, like other lines on the Alföld or Great Hungarian Plain. The proposal here is to shorten the line, by a cut-off line at its western end. The new line would exit Gyoma station from the south, allowing through regional services from Szolnok via Mezőtúr. (A main line already runs from Szolnok to Oradea).
As in the earlier proposal for a Kecskemét – Békéscsaba regional line, this proposal gives local rural lines a more regional and inter-regional character. That, in turn, justifies upgrading to a double-track electrified route. The new alignment would also avoid a train reversal at Dévaványa.
Szolnok (population 75 000) is 101 km from Budapest, on the main line to Romania, line 120. It would also be served by the proposed fast inter-regional line Szekszárd – Kalocsa – Kecskemét, a transversal route from the south-west. Oradea (population 245 000) is the second city of western Romania. Line 127 runs through the Hungarian districts (kistérség) of Szarvas, Békés, and Szeghalom, with a combined population of 130 000.
The regional trains from Szolnok would use the main line 120, as far as Gyoma station. It serves the adjoining villages of Gyoma and Endrőd: the municipality is called Gyomaendrőd ( population 14 000). This is also the start of the proposed regional rail line Gyoma – Dévaványa – Karcag.
The new alignment would begin after Gyoma station, at the edge of the built-up area. The new line would turn north-east, and cross the Sebes-Körös river. It would then turn east toward Körösladány (population 5000). It would rejoin the existing alignment just outside the station. The new alignment would be about 21 km long, and the line between the stations about 22,5 km.
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From Körösladány, the existing line would be upgraded, over about 80 km. At Szeghalom (population 9 500), the station is on the edge of town: it is a junction with line 128 to Püspökladány. Line 128 combines parts of other rail routes, into a circuitous local line, with two reversals. The Szeghalom – Püspökladány section could be retained as a local line.
Click to enlarge: New alignment in red, upgraded line in green. The base map is an Austro-Hungarian military map of around 1910.
East of Vésztő, the now-closed line 127 runs across the plain toward Oradea, parallel to the Sebes-Körös river (Crişul Repede in Romanian). The first 12 km has many unnecessary curves, and the alignment needs improvement. The largest village along the route is Komádi (population 6000), about 20 km from Vésztő. The station is 3 km from the village, but 10 km of new line would be needed to relocate it, and that is disproportionate.
Click to enlarge: The line east of Vésztő…
The disused line 127 continues through Körösnagyharsány, the former terminus on the Hungarian side, and on to Cheresig (Körösszeg in Hungarian, population 2000). On the Romanian section, the only other villages are Toboliu, Girişu de Criş (Körösgyéres), and Sântandrei (Biharszentandrás, population 3 500). This section would be stripped and relaid, on the existing alignment.
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After Sântandrei, the disused line joins the main line from Arad into Oradea. That involves a detour around the city centre, but the line does serve the western suburbs. A new suburban station here could replace the old Oradea Vest station. Oradea Central Station is east of the city centre.
Oradea Central Station: public domain image by Dsokebin
The total length of the line from Gyoma to Oradea would be about 102 km. With the 59 km from Szolnok to Gyoma (on an upgraded main line), Szolnok – Oradea regional trains would take something over two hours.