The “Connecting Europe Express” launched within the framework of the European Year of Railways program has arrived at the Budapest Eastern Railway Station. The special train departed from Lisbon on September 2 and it will stop in more than 100 cities during its five-week journey.
It will then head from Budapest to Kosice and arrive in Paris on October 7, at the end of its more than month-long trip across Europe.
The wagons of the train are provided by various European railway companies. The Hungarian railway company, MÁV-START, contributed a converted CAF luggage car to host a traveling exhibition, showcasing technologies and innovations that improve the experience of train travel, as well as how the European Union supports infrastructure projects.
László Mosóczi, State Secretary for Transport Policy at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, said that the Hungarian government would increase the competitiveness of public transport primarily by supporting the growth of environmentally friendly railways.
An important task of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology is to complete the modern and interoperable domestic railway core network by 2030. In the next decade and a half, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient railways should be kept at the center of domestic policy efforts. Hungary plans to spend a total of about HUF 6 trillion on the comprehensive renewal of fixed track infrastructure, rolling stock and services.
Dr. Roland Juhász, Secretary of State for Public Property Management in the Prime Minister’s Office, emphasized that the government’s declared goal is to make the railway network the backbone of public transport. Thanks to additional financial assistance provided by the state, the railway company’s management is stable, employment is guaranteed, and jobs are safe. Thus, MÁV continues to offer its employees a secure status and stable career path. The government’s objectives are in line with the European Union’s medium and long-term plans to create new opportunities to connect economic areas and transport networks so that people increasingly choose public transport alternatives to private transport.
Dr. Róbert Homolya, President and CEO of MÁV, said that 700 km of railway tracks must be electrified to achieve the climate target by 2050. This will require the purchase of almost 800 new rail vehicles by 2030. So far, 14 of the 40 KISS double-decker motor trains have been put into service on our busiest suburban Cegléd and Vác lines, and according to the current schedule, the entire fleet of 40 will run in the agglomeration by the end of 2022. Meanwhile, 55 of the 90-piece series self-manufactured IC + cars are already in operation and first-class IC + cars are being manufactured. Depending on the success of the ongoing tests, the first railway trams are scheduled to start between Hódmezővásárhely and Szeged between November and Christmas, and 115 electric locomotives are also being procured. Of the four large railway machines ordered last year, three have already been delivered to MÁV FKG; these will be able to carry out the railway company’s own track maintenance and renovation work with greater efficiency in addition to cost savings, he added.