Hungary - General Information
National Railway System
Magyar Államvasutak Részvénytársaság (Hungarian State Railways) (MÁV Zrt.).
National Railway Operator
In July 2007 most of the passenger operations of MÁV were transferred to a subsidiary company MÁV-Start, although the narrow gauge services remained with the parent company.
Hungarian (Magyar). The Hungarian language is not related to any Western European language (it is a distant relative of Finnish and Estonian, however) and many words will be unfamiliar to visitors, even those with some knowledge of other languages. Many Hungarians speak English or German.
- numeric: 55; alpha: MAV
- numeric: 43; alpha: GySEV/ROeEE
Actual Train Times
- Domestic timetables:
- The Belföldi utazás web page gives access to timetable PDFs: under the Menü tab on the left click Menetrendek and then click on the entry ending évi menetrend for the current timetable including amendments or expand Archívum to select historic timetables.
- Unhelpfully this downloadable timetable does not decode the general numbered notes indicating which days/dates trains run (or do not run) on, this information is available in a separate PDF utmutato es kozlekedesi naptar a belfoldi menetrendhez. Click yyyy évi menetrend under the Menetrendek tab to obtain the list of PDFs.
- International timetables: the Nemzetközi utazás web page gives access to the current international timetables; click Menetrendek és vonatösszeállítások under the Menü tab.
Note that all the above pages are in Magyar (Hungarian) only, but Google translate can be used to select the required link and when it complains the PDF page is too large to translate then click the See Original Page link at the bottom of the error screen to download the PDF.
Vasúti Menetrend or simply Menetrend, published annually which was still produced for 2015/16. This includes introductory material (including explanation of abbreviations) in English, French, German and Russian, and contains details of all MÁV, MÀV-START, GySEV/Raaberbahn, HÉV and Állami Erdei Vasutak (ÁEV) services, plus shipping services on Lake Balaton and some bus and tram information for Budapest. The timetable is available at ticket offices. A fold-out route map shows principal stations.
Additional Notes on reading the Timetable
Translation of some non-standard timetable symbols, comprising a white symbol in a black square, which appear in both the downloadable and printed timetables.:
- O = kűlőn rendeletre - when advertised
- 4 Monday to Thursday working days (not to be confused with a 4 in a circle, which denotes a Thursday)
- 6 Saturdays and holidays (not to be confused with a 6 in a circle, which denotes a Saturday)
- 25 Except Fridays
- 27 Except Sundays
Translation of some timetable notes which may not be obvious:
- -ig - until or to
- -től - from
- kőzlekedik - runs
- naponta - daily
- nem kőzlekedik - does not run
- Az ev vegi... : refers to trains not running at Christmas and New Year.
- Az iskolai... : refers to trains which run during school terms.
- A nyari... : refers to dates of summer timetable
Timetables are available at Menetrendek
EU residents aged over 65 may travel free on urban and long-distance buses on providing proof of age.
- European Railway Atlas (All-Europe Edition) by M.G. Ball.
- European Railway Atlas (Regional Series - Hungary) by M.G. Ball.
- Mapa Kolejowa Węgier i Słowacji (Hungary and Slovakia) by W. Kolondra.
- The "Magyarország Vasúti Árufuvarozási Térképe", is a map of the Hungarian railway system at a scale of approximately 1:465,000, with enlargements of congested areas. It is not known if this map is still available for purchase.
- A good copy of the "Magyarország Vasúti Árufuvarozási Térképe", dated 2003, can be viewed at http://ballal.gofree.hu/G/Fali/AFU_2003_07.jpg. A later on line version is here
- The UrbanRailNet Budapest Basic Diagrams cover HEV, Metro and tram lines plus diagarms for other tram systems with links to local operators.
- Thorsten Büker's http://www.bueker.net/trainspotting/maps_hungary.php Hungary Map.
- Maps and Plans - Hungary
MÁV now offers a network ticket (Országbérlet - Country Pass) for either the national network or an individual county, valid for one month from the start date. It is also valid on many local buses, including Volanbusz. See the Országbérlet web page. Note that this seems to be only in Magyar.
There was an annual pass for all lines and this is presumably still available.
The Országbérlet can be bought via the MÁV App. This is of course in Magyar and it is not immediately obvious how to obtain the version in English: go down to almost the last option Beállítások (Settings) and touch on that. Change Nyelv (Language), which has buttons for Magyar and English.
The ticket can apparently be purchased from main ticket offices and ticket machines. Note that it seems not to be available on the main MÁV ticket purchase website.
There is a problem for non-EU citizens over 65. Part of the Identification details required is the date of birth. However, this verified. As Hungarians and other EU citizens over 65 travel free of charge, the system prevents one selecting a date of birth over 65 years in the past. The ticket must therefore be purchased from a ticket office.
EU residents aged over 65 may travel free in second class on all domestic services, but need to have proof of age and to pay any supplements on IC/EC and fast (szebes or gyors) trains (and equivalent buses); these are distance related.
Various Budapest Travelcards (network tickets, valid for one or more days) are available, valid on all lines (including MÁV) within the Budapest city boundary.
MÁV Zrt and GYSEV Zrt have the role of Infrastructure Managers. Because they operate the railway network as integrated, non-independent companies, the Vasúti Pályakapacitáselosztó Korlátolt Felelısségő Társaság (Rail Capacity Allocation Office Limited Liability Company) (VPE) has been set up.
Network Statements can be downloaded from the VPE (Rail Capacity Allocation Office) website, using the drop-down menu or the Related Links. Usually, next year's version is included as well as the current version, also for previous years in the Archive section. Each year's Network Statement is combined into a downloadable ZIP file, containing multiple folders and files. Files of most interest to railway enthusiasts are in the Annexes folder, and there may be separate documents for the two Infrastructure Managers MÁV Zrt and GYSEV Zrt.
Standard. There is one remaining MÁV narrow gauge (760 mm) system: Balatonfenyves - Somogyszentpál plus the 11 km Budapest Children's Railway, of the same gauge. ÁEV and other tourist lines are narrow gauge, most being 760 mm with a few 600 mm gauge. There were two 1520 mm (Russian) gauge lines linking Hungary with Ukraine: Záhony - Eperjeske-Rendező - Batyevo remains in use for freight to substantial Záhony transfer Depots but between Záhony - Chop the broad gauge tracks are disconnected although interlaced rails remain in use by the standard gauge passenger trains.
The main line system is 25 kV 50 Hz. See below for Budapest HÉV local lines.
Tramways are 600 V dc.
Rule of the road
Generally right, although there is much reversible working. Budapest Keleti to Budapest Kelenföld to Budapest Déli and Rákos to Budapest Keleti have left hand running.
No source is known other than the timetables. The Network Statement does not appear to give comprehensive distance information.
Numbers preceding entries refer to timetable numbers.
GYSEV (Györ-Sopron-Ebenfurti Vasút)
Owned jointly by the Hungarian and Austrian governments with a small minority of other shareholders. Raaberbahn in German, as Raab is the German name for Györ.
- 1 Hegyeshalom - Rajka
- 8 Győr - Sopron - Ebenfurth (Austria)
- 9 Fertőszentmiklós - Pamhagen (Austria)
- 15 Sopron - Szombathely
- 16 Hegyeshalom - Csorna - Porpác - Szombathely
- 17 Szombathely - Zalaszentiván
- 18 Szombathely - Kőszeg
- 21 Szombathely - Körmend - Szentgotthárd
- 22 Körmend - Zalalövő (closed to passenger services in 2009)
HÉV (Helyiérdekű Vasút)
Standard-gauge local lines round Budapest, electrified at 1000 V dc overhead. National rail operator MÁV took over operation of these Budapest suburban lines on November 24 2016. MÁV have set up a new subsidiary BHÉV which is responsible for operating all HÉV lines, with funding from central government and Budapest municipality to cover operational expenditure. MÁV has also taken over ownership of the infrastructure from BKV:
- 250 [Budapest] Batthyány tér - Szentendre
- 251 [Budapest] Boráros tér - Csepel
- 252 [Budapest] Vágóhid - Ráckeve
- 253 [Budapest] Örs vezér tér - Csömör/Gödöllő végállomás
ÁEV (State Forestry Railways)
These lines were all once used for forestry traffic; except where noted, only passenger services now operate. Mostly these are for the benefit of tourists although in a few cases some local traffic is carried. Services run daily or, in most cases, on certain days only during the summer. All are 760 mm gauge, except the one marked § which is 600 mm.
- 305 Forest Railway Lenti - Csömödér - Kistolmács (also has extensive branches which only carry forestry traffic)
- 307 Szenta - Kaszó
- 308 Almamellék - Sasrét §
- 310 Pörböly - Gemenc - Bárányfok (also carries forestry traffic)
- 321 Felsőtárkány-Fütőház - Stimeczház
- 323 Szilvásvárad: Szalajka-Fatalep - Szalajka-Fátyolvizesés
- 324/5 Gyöngyös - Mátrafüred/Lajosháza
- 330 Miskolc-Dorottya Utca - Papírgyár - Lillafüred - Garadna
- 331 Miskolc - Papírgyár - Mahóca
- 332 Pálháza - Rostalló
Numbers preceding entries refer to timetable numbers.
- 7 Gyermekvasút (Budapest Children's Railway, formerly a pioneer railway): Széchenyihegy - Hüvösvölgy (760 mm gauge)
- 8a Nagycenk Steam Centre (GySEV): Fertöboz - Barátság - Kastély (760 mm gauge)
- 311 Mesztegnyő - Felsőkak (760 mm gauge, formerly an ÁEV line)
- 317 Kismaros - Királyrét (760 mm gauge, formerly an ÁEV line) [this line also offers rail cycling]
- 318a Szob - Márianozstra (760 mm gauge, formerly an ÁEV line)
- 318 Nagyirtás - Nagybőrzsőny (760 mm gauge)
- 319 Kemence Muzeum - Feketevölgy (600 mm gauge)
- 333 Debrecen-Fatelep - Hármashegyalja (760 mm gauge, formerly an ÁEV line)
- Debrecen Vidam Park (760 mm gauge)
- Pécs Kulturpark (Children's Railway): Állatkert (Zoo) - Dömörkapu (760 mm gauge)
- Szentendre Open Air Museum (Skanzen Railway) (standard gauge)
Also see ÁEV lines listed in previous section.
The http://narrowgauge.hu/kisvasut.hu site provides useful information on narrow gauge lines, including some ÁEV lines.
BKV is the Budapest Metro and tramway operator.
A metro track map is available at Popov Metro maps captioned in Cyrillic.
Budapest, Debrecen, Miskolc, Szeged.
The Budapest Rack Cogwheel Railway is fully integrated into the BKV system, operating as tramway line 60.
Recent and Future Changes (Latest First)
It is reported that the Szeged - Röszke - Horgoš - Subotica (Serbia) line will reopen on 23 October 2023.
It is reported that the S76 Budapest suburban service between Rákos and Pilisvörösvár may be withdrawn.
It is reported that, although there will be no further closures in the short term, the following lines are "up for review":.
- 4 Esztergom-Kertváros – Almásfüzitő
- 5 Komárom - Székesfehérvár
- 35 Siófok – Kaposvár
- 43 Dunaújváros - Rétszilas
- 44 Székesfehvár - Pusztaszabolcs
- 61 Szentlőrinc - Sellye
- 66 Villány - Mohács
- 78 Galgamácsa - Balassagyarmat
- 86 Jászapáti - Vámosgyörk
- 87 Eger – Szilvásvárad
- 94 Szendrő - Tornanádaska
- 98 Szerencs - Abaújszántó
- 102 Kisköre - Kisújszállás
- 109 Debrecen - Tiszalök
- 111 Vásárosnamény - Záhony
- 113 Nyíregyháza – Nyírbátor
- 113 Kocsord alsó – Fehérgyarmat – Zajta
- 117 Görögszállás – Tiszalök
- 121 Kétegyháza - Mezőhegyes
- 125 Orosháza - Mezőhegyes
- 127 Gyoma - Vésztő
- 128 Szeghalom - Püspökladány
- 142 Lajosmizse - Kecskemét
- 146 Kiskunfélegyháza – Lakitelek
- 147 Szentes – Orosháza
The new curve between Erd Also and Erd (on the line to Pusztaszabolcs) was scheduled for the first time with just three trains northbound SSuX from 28 August 2023. It had been completed but with demountable buffer stops at the southern end much earlier as it was expected to open around the timetable change in December 2022.
Apparently using an incident involving a BzMot at Hodáz as an excuse the government suspended services on the following lines from 1 August 2023, replacing them with buses:
- 38 Nagyatád - Somogyszob
- 47 Godisa - Komló
- 78 Balassagyarmat - Ipolytarnóc
- 89 Miskolc - Tiszaújváros
- 98 Abaújszántó - Hidasnémeti
- 103 Karcag - Tiszafüred
- 114 Mátészalka - Csenger
- 121 Mezőhegyes - Újszeged
- 125 Mezőhegyes - Battonya
- 146 Lakitelek - Kunszentmárton
77 Galgamácsa - Vácrátót re-opened on 11 December 2022
The Szeged - Hódmezővásárhely Tram-train commenced carrying passengers, initially with an hourly service, on 29 November 2021, increasing to 20 minute intervals in early 2022. It connects onto MAV tracks from the eastern tram terminus at Szeged Rokus until Hódmezővásárhelyi-Népker, then there is some 4 km of new single track tramway through the town centre of Hódmezővásárhely to terminate at the main MAV station. For more details see the Urban Transport Magazine article with a basic line diagram at the UrbanRailNet Site plus a MAV tram-train line diagram.
The 8km Imremajor - Csiszta gyórgyfürdő [Thermal Baths] branch of the MAV/BGV Narrow Gauge system from Balatonfenyefes reopened on 1 July 2021, having closed in 2002. The branch to Táska will not reopen as there is nothing of interest there.
Electric services between Szabadbattyán and Balatonfüred began on 19 June 2021, the start of the summer timetable. Approval has now been given for electrification of Balatonfüred - Tapolca - Keszthely/Ukk.
A new S76 Budapest suburban service started running between Rákos and Pilisvörösvár (on the line to Esztergom) on 25 October 2020. It uses connections at Rákos and Angyalföld that had almost certainly not had a passenger service before.
A new line between Százhalombatta and a point south of Ercsi, on the line to Pusztaszabolcs, bypassing Dunai Finomito and Ercsi, opened on an unknown date between March and June 2020.
Electric services between Szerencs and Sátoraljaújhely began on 2 July 2019 but note electrification does not include the cross border link to Slovakia. Work is under way on underway on route 101 Püspökladány - Biharkeresztes [unknown completion date].
For details of older changes see Hungary - Older General Information.