Hungarian rail line 125 is yet another railway line cut by the post-1918 borders of Hungary. The line now ends at Battonya, on the short line 125a. Originally, it ran to Arad in Romania, over what is now Romanian line 215.
Battonya Station, public domain image by Aspectomat.
The proposal here is to reopen the 88-km line, between Orosháza and Arad. The restored line would share the tracks into Arad, with the proposed regional line Szeged – Makó – Arad.
The whole region is part of the Alföld or Great Hungarian Plain, and the terrain is almost level. The line rises only 20m, over its entire length.
Line 125 north of Orosháza was described already: it would be extended from Mezőtúr to Karcag, and operated as a separate line.
The alignment and stations
Orosháza (population 30 000) is on the proposed upgraded Szeged – Békéscsaba rail line, 62 km from Szeged. It is a secondary rail junction: line 125 crosses this main line, and it would be the terminus of the upgraded line 147 from Kecskemét, Csongrád, and Szentes.
Orsoháza around 1910: main line and three rural lines, Austro-Hungarian military map.
The line to Arad curves around the town, and then turns south. It is still generally at the edge of the built-up area, but some level crossings must be replaced (or closed). Orosháza is just large enough to justify a second station, at its southern edge.
Most of the line consists of straight sections though open fields. The stations are at the edge of the villages. On the Hungarian section, there are three large villages: Tótkomlós , Mezőhegyes, and Battonya, each with around 6500 inhabitants. The smallest villages, Nagyér and Ambrózfalva, have only 500 inhabitants. They would not normally justify a station, on an upgraded regional line, but they are compact, and adjoin the line.
33 km from Orosháza, at the surprisingly large station of Mezőhegyes, the line crosses line 121, a secondary route from Szeged to Békéscsaba. This line would also be upgraded to limited standards. On the next 18 km to Battonya, there are no villages, only abandoned rural halts.
The line Battonya – Arad: circa 1910, Austro-Hungarian military map.
Battonya Station is currently the terminus of the line. The abandoned section across the Hungarian-Romanian border is about 12 km long. Re-opening would be very simple: it is a dead straight line across open fields.
In Romania, the line is still in use: the first station is at Pecica (Pécska in Hungarian, population 13 000). The currently operated service is from Arad to Nădlac, Romanian line 215. The proposed regional line Szeged – Makó – Arad would possibly use a different alignment through Pecica, but the station would remain on its present site.
Rerouted line Szeged – Arad…
From Pecica, it is 21 km to Arad: there are no other villages on this section. Arad itself has a population of about 170 000, large enough to justify a new northern station, and a new alignment into the main station. Here, the regional line joins the main line from Budapest via Békéscsaba: that line continues to Timișoara and Bucharest (Romanian line 900).
With so many intermediate stations, even after upgrading, a total journey time of 75-80 minutes would be reasonable, for this regional line. Passengers between Orosháza and Arad would have an alternative route via Békéscsaba, and with major upgrading of the main lines, that would be faster.