Trams in Budapest

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Budapest tram 3.jpg
Line 2 tram in Budapest (2008).
Locale Budapest, Hungary
Status Operational
Routes 33 (26 main, 7 supplemental)[1]
Operator(s) BKV
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
standard gauge
Propulsion system(s) Electricity
Stock 612[2]
Route length 156.85 km (97.46 mi)[3]
Stops 627[3]
Passengers (2011) 393.4 million[2]
Horsecar era: 1866 (1866)–1928 (1928)
Status Closed
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Propulsion system(s) Horses
Steam-powered tram era: 1887 (1887)–c.1900 (1900)
Status Closed
Propulsion system(s) Steam
Electric tram era: since 1887 (1887)
Status Still running
Operator(s) BKV
Track gauge 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) (1887)
1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) (1889 on)
Propulsion system(s) Electricity
Website Budapesti Közlekedési Vállalat (BKV) (Hungarian)

Trams in Budapest (Hungarian: Budapest villamoshálózata) is part of the public transport system of Budapest, the capital city of Hungary. The tram network serves as the backbone of the transit system, carrying almost 100 million more passengers annually than the Budapest Metro.[2]

In operation since 1866,[4] the Budapest tram network is one of world's largest tram networks, operating on 156.85 kilometres (97.46 mi) of total route.[3] As of 2014, it was composed of 33 lines (26 main lines, and 7 supplemental lines denoted by an "A" after the route number),[1] and the Budapest Cog-wheel Railway. The system is operated by the Budapesti Közlekedési Vállalat ("Budapest Transport Company") under the supervision of the larger Budapesg Közlekedési Központ ("Budapest Transit Center").


The early days[edit]

The first horse-tram line in Budapest was inaugurated on 30 July 1866 between Újpest-Városkapu and Kálvin tér, through Váci út.[4] Over a year before, on 22 May 1865, the Count Sándor Károlyi founded the PKVT (Pesti Közúti Vaspálya Társaság (English: Pest Public Road Rail Tracks Company)).[4] Horse tramlines in Buda proper soon followed, built by the competing Buda Public Road Rail Tracks Company (BKVT).[4]

By 1885, Budapest had as many as 15 horsecar lines[5] but since it was obvious that the technology was obsolete. A steam-driven suburban railway line from Közvágóhíd (Slaughterhouse) to Soroksár, run by HÉV, was separately introduced in 1887; two more lines soon followed.[4]

The first electric tram lines in Budapest (1887-1889).

Around this same time, Mór Balázs suggested that a new, electric tram system should be introduced to Budapest. It was Gábor Baross, then secretary of state at the Ministry of Community Service and Transportation who authorised the construction of the first test tram line between Nyugati railway station[4] and Király utca.[5] Balázs teamed up with Siemens & Halske and Lindheim és Társa and formed a new corporation: BVV (Budapesti Városi Vasút (English: Budapest City Trains)). The construction works (carried out by Siemens & Halske) started on October 1, 1887 and the line was opened on November 28, 1887. The track gauge of this first line was 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) and electricity was supplied to the cars from below to avoid cables hanging across the street.[4][6]

The second step in the expansion of the system were two 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge lines: on July 20, 1889 the second line, which spanned from Egyetem tér to Fiumei út via Kálvin tér, was opened.[7] It was designed so that in case of a power failure steam engines could tow the carriages. The third line, also standard gauge, was opened on September 10, 1889 and ran from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to Andrássy út.[8]

Even though not a tram line per se, the first underground line in Continental Europe, the Millennium Underground Railway must also be noted. It was built using a cut-and-cover method between 1894 and 1896 and was first named FJFVV (Ferenc József Földalatti Villamos Vasút (English: Franz Joseph Underground Electric Railway)) after emperor Franz Joseph. It used electric cars from the very beginning.[6]

In the first years, tram had no numbers but coloured circular signals instead, for example, a simple red, green, blue or black disk; a red disk with a vertical white stripe or a cross; a white disk with a green 8-pointed green star, etc. This, of course, quickly became very cumbersome so around 1900, when there were already 30 lines, each line got a number – BVV, which was renamed to BVVV (Budapesti Villamos Városi Vasút (English: Budapest Electric City Trains)) got the even numbers; odd numbers were assigned to a rival transport company, BKVT (Budapesti Közúti Vaspálya Társaság (English: Budapest Road Rail Company)).[6]

The dynamically growing network brought new companies: two of them served Újpest, the northern part of Pest, one Pestszentlőrinc, which then was a separate town, and one the southern part of Buda and the then-separate village Budafok. These companies were joined together in 1923 by the name BSZKRT (Budapest Székesfővárosi Közlekedési Rt. (English: Budapest Capital Transport Co)). It was during 1939-1944 that the most tram lines (66) existed in the city.[6]

After World War II[edit]

Animated gif of tram line changes in Budapest between 1968 and 2005. Looks best in full resolution.

The siege of Budapest left the city with a crippled infrastructure: many houses were destroyed, as well as the bridges bombed, electric cables torn. It was of course of utmost importance to restore the transport network, however, many trams were destroyed either in the siege or in a depot fire that occurred in 1947. This might have been the cause that decisionmakers suggested that trolleybus lines should replace trams in the city centre.[9] Along with cost considerations it is important to note that trolleybuses might be better suited for the downtown area than trams: they turn more easily and produce significantly less noise.

While some tram lines were abolished in favor of trolleybuses, the expansion of the system did not stop. Near Nyugati railway station a new junction of tram lines were built to transport people back and forth to the factories in Angyalföld and Újpest and line 33 through the newly built Árpád Bridge.[10] Line 4 on the Buda side and the tracks on Nagy Lajos király útja were also extended around 1960. The reconstruction of Erzsébet Bridge in 1964 played a significant role in the revival of the tram network: five lines started using it after its opening.[11]

In 1968 there were 83 tram lines in Budapest (10 of which night services) thus reaching the largest extent of the network since World War II,[12] decline was imminent. This happened partly because of the replacement of tram lines with single track and old vehicles with autobuses but also due to the construction of underground lines M2 and M3 which – were then thought to – replace tram lines that used to run above them. In 1972 tram lines on Erzsébet Bridge and Rákóczi út were abolished, then until 1982 tram lines were removed along M3 as well thereby effectively erasing 40 km of rail tracks, around 20% of the Budapest tram network. Along with lines in the city centre, most of the lines in Újpest and some in the southern parts of Pest were demolished.[13]

While many lines were closed down, a significant one was rising: tram 33 was shut down for the renovation of Árpád Bridge in 1981 but when the bridge was reopened, a new line was born on the eastern end of the outer ring road, Hungária körgyűrű, line 1. It has been under construction ever since with segments opened in 1984, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1995 and 2000 – the last one on the pest side of Rákóczi Bridge which was inaugurated in 1995 and was designed for the tram to cross it.[14]

Present and future[edit]

As of 2012, it seems that the local governments have shifted towards a more tram-friendly view: line 1 and 3 will be renovated and line 1 extended (mostly from EU funding);[15] line 47 and 49 are planned to reach Nyugati tér once again as it used to be their final stop before M3 was opened.[16] There is also a major project being planned to connect, extend, and develop the tram lines on the Buda side (providing longer lines and fewer transfers), which is held up by debate between the districts and the city.[17]


As of 2014, it was composed of 33 lines (26 main lines, and 7 supplemental lines denoted by an "A" after the route number),[1] and the Budapest Cog-wheel Railway. Among these lines, only Line 6 offers non-stop service, most of the trams run between 5 am and 11 pm.

Line number End stations Stock type Remarks
Bécsi út / Vörösvári út–Közvágóhíd H
Tatra T5C5
Bécsi út / Vörösvári út–Népliget M
Tatra T5C5
Supplemental line of line no 1
Jászai Mari tér–Közvágóhíd H
Supplemental line 2A ceased on 23. February 2013.
Mexikói út M–Gubacsi út
TW 6000
Széll Kálmán tér M–Újbuda-központ M
Combino Supra Budapest NF12B
Széll Kálmán tér MMóricz Zsigmond körtér M
Combino Supra Budapest NF12B
Angyalföld kocsiszín–Rákospalota, Kossuth utca
Tatra T5C5, Tatra T5C5K
Lehel tér M–Káposztásmegyer, Megyeri út
Tatra T5C5
Széll Kálmán tér M–Savoya Park
Tatra T5C5, Tatra T5C5K
Batthyány tér M+HKelenföld vasútállomás M
Ganz csuklós
Keleti pályaudvar M–Közvágóhíd H
Ganz csuklós
Blaha Lujza tér M–Izraelita temető
Tatra T5C5, TW 6000
No service
Tatra T5C5
Supplemental line of tram no 28
Keleti pályaudvar M–Izraelita temető
Ganz csuklós
Temporary supplemental line of line 28 (running on All Soul's day)
Blaha Lujza tér M–Új köztemető (Kozma utca)
TW 6000
Blaha Lujza tér M–Sörgyár
TW 6000
Supplemental line of line 37
Batthyány tér M+H–Kamaraerdei Ifjúsági Park
Ganz csuklós
Határ út M-Tulipán utca
TW 6000
Deák Ferenc tér M–Városház tér
Ganz csuklós
Deák Ferenc tér M–Savoya Park
Ganz csuklós
Weekends only
Deák Ferenc tér MKelenföld vasútállomás M
Ganz csuklós
Határ út M–Pestszentlőrinc, Béke tér
TW 6000
Mester utca (Ferenc körút)–Nagysándor József utca
TW 6000
Mester utca (Ferenc körút)–Ferencváros vasútállomás
TW 6000
Supplemental line of tram no 51
Határ út M–Pesterzsébet, Pacsirtatelep
TW 6000
Szent János kórház–Farkasrét, Márton Áron tér
Tatra T5C5K2
Széll Kálmán tér M–Farkasrét, Márton Áron tér
Tatra T5C5K2
Supplemental line of tram no 59
Városmajor – Széchenyi-hegy, Gyermekvasút
Hűvösvölgy–Móricz Zsigmond körtér M
Tatra T5C5K2
Blaha Lujza tér MRákospalota, MÁV-telep
TW 6000
Kőbánya alsó vasútállomás (Mázsa tér)–Rákospalota, MÁV-telep
TW 6000
Supplemental line of tram no 62
No service
TW 6000

Abolished lines[edit]

It is not always straightforward to decide whether a tram line still exists in Budapest since throughout the decades some numbers may have been carried by several lines (not at the same time though), so some numbers might have appeared and disappeared throughout time. Some lines were assigned new numbers so even though there is no line with that specific number, there is a line on exactly the same route. Of course, existing lines might have been lengthened or shortened, so this also makes hard to exactly define a tram line. Still, the following table tries to summarize these data – termini and dates refer to the last time the number was used.

Number of the line Termini Inauguration and disappearance
2A Jászai Mari tér — Boráros tér H 1973–2013
5 Flórián tér – Hévízi úti lakótelep 1950–1974
7 Óbudai kocsiszín – Margit híd, budai hídfő 1946–1961
7i Fóti út – Rákospalota, Kossuth utca 1967-1974
8 Újpesti piac – Megyeri út 1955–1980
9 Batthyány térBudafok, Városház tér 1920–1986
9A Móricz Zsigmond körtér – Albertfalva kitérő 1961–1972
10 Rákospalota, Kossuth utca – Megyeri csárda 1954–1985
11 Margit híd, budai hídfő – Bécsi út 1950–1981
13 Örs vezér tere – Gubacsi út 1955–2001
15 Jászai Mari tér – Újpesti vasúti híd 1940–1977
15A Jászai Mari tér – Váci út 1963–1977
17 Bécsi út / Vörösvári út - Margit híd, budai hídfő H 1981-2014
20 Ganz gyárFerenc körút until 1977
22 Nagyvásártelep – Boráros tér 1932–1970
23 Baross tér (Festetics György utca) – Ferenc körút 1928–2000
23A Népliget – Közvágóhíd 1953-1964, 1976-1980
25 Állatkert (Budapest Zoo) – Thököly út 1920–1973
26 Rókus kórház – Eskü tér 1910–1956
26A Kőrösi Csoma út – Orczy tér 1942–1956
27 Nagyvárad térKeleti Pályaudvar 1957–1959
29 József körút – BNV főberjárat 1925–1995
29Y Baross tér (Festetics György utca) – BNV főberjárat 1974–1995
31 Közvágóhíd – Pacsirtatelep 1973–1995
32i Pesterzsébet, Nagy Sándor utca - Ganz-MÁVAG 1967–1975
33 Nyugati pályaudvarÓbudai kocsiszín 1950–1981
34 Közvágóhíd – Kálvin tér 1949–1951
35 Pacsirtatelep – Határ út – Pacsirtatelep 1951-1953
36 Keleti pályaudvar – Kápolna tér 1945–1994
38 Rókus kórház – Ferenc József laktanya 1920–1970
39 Keleti pályaudvar – Új köztemető 1927–1932
40 Pestszentimre – Pestszentlőrinc 1947–1975
43 Nagytétény – Móricz Zsigmond körtér 1963–1972
44 Zugló, RákospatakKeleti pályaudvar 1972–1995
45 Március 15. tér – Keleti Pályaudvar 1952–1963
46 Petőfi híd, budai hídfőDéli pályaudvar 1958–1963
48 Nyugati pályaudvar – Albertfalva kitérő 1957–1960
53 Nyugati pályaudvarKispest, határ út 1950–1963
56 Moszkva tér - Hűvösvölgy 1930-2008
67 Keleti pályaudvar - Rákospalota, MÁV telep 1902-1997

Rolling stock[edit]

Current fleet[18][edit]

Image Type Modifications and subtypes Board numbers Depot Allocations Count
Tram 47 in Budapest.jpg Ganz articulated CSMG-1, CSMG-2, CSMG-3, CSMG-E, KCSV5 1301, 1307, 1310, 1313-1320, 1324, 1333, 1341-1342, 1349, 1357, 1360-1361, 1363-1369, 1400-1402, 1404, 1406-1413, 1415-1435, 1437-1448, 1450-1481 Budafok, Ferencváros, Kelenföld, Száva 103
17-es villamos, Budapest.JPG KCSV7 KCSV7 1321, 1325-1332, 1335-1337, 1339-1340, 1343-1348, 1350-1356, 1359, 1362, 1370 Ferencváros 30
Tram 18 in Budapest.jpg Tatra T5C5 Tatra T5C5 4000, 4002, 4008-4011, 4014-4015, 4017-4018, 4020-4023, 4028-4029, 4031, 4034-4049, 4051-4055, 4057-4059, 4061, 4070-4071, 4074, 4077-4094, 4096, 4098-4101, 4103, 4106-4108, 4110, 4112-4113, 4116-4117, 4123, 4125, 4127, 4130-4132, 4134-4135, 4137-4138, 4140, 4143-4144, 4147, 4149, 4151-4171, 4200, 4202-4221, 4223-4224, 4227-4230, 4232-4234, 4236-4265, 4267-4273, 4275-4313, 4315, 4317-4323, 4325-4326, 4328-4329, 4332, 4335-4336, 4339, 4341, 4344-4346, 4349 Angyalföld, Baross, Budafok 240
Tatra t5c5k at line 59 budapest.jpg Tatra T5C5K Tatra T5C5K2 4001, 4003-4007, 4012-4013, 4016, 4019, 4024-4027, 4030, 4032-4033, 4050, 4056, 4060, 4062-4069, 4072-4073, 4075-4076, 4095, 4097, 4102, 4104-4105, 4109, 4111, 4114-4115, 4118-4120, 4122, 4124, 4126, 4128-4129, 4133, 4136, 4139, 4141-4142, 4145-4146, 4148, 4150, 4201, 4225-4226, 4231, 4235, 4266, 4274, 4314, 4316, 4324, 4327, 4330-4331, 4333-4334, 4337-4338, 4340, 4342-4343, 4347-4348 Szépilona 80
TW-6000.JPG DÜWAG TW 6000 TW 6000 1500-1502, 1504–1592 Száva, Zugló 92
TW-6000.JPG LHB TW 6000 TW 6000 1600-1609 Száva 10
Erzsebet korut villamos.jpg Siemens Combino Combino Supra 2001–2040 Hungária 40
CAF Urbos Urbos 3 2201– 37


Name Location Built Operated vehicle types Operated lines
Angyalföld kocsiszín Budapest IV., Pozsonyi út 1. 1896 Tatra T5C5, Tatra T5C5K 1, 1A, 12, 14
Baross kocsiszín Budapest VIII., Baross utca 132. 1889 Tatra T5C5 1, 1A, 28
Budafok kocsiszín Budapest XI., Fehérvári út 247. 1899 Tatra T5C5, Ganz articulated 18, 41, 47, 48
Ferencváros kocsiszín Budapest IX., Könyves Kálmán körút 7. 1904 Ganz articulated, KCSV7 2, 24
Hungária kocsiszín Budapest VIII., Törökbecse utca 1. 1912 Combino Supra Budapest NF12B 4, 6
Kelenföld kocsiszín Budapest XI., Bartók Béla út 137. 1912 Ganz articulated 19, 47, 49
Száva kocsiszín Budapest IX., Üllői út 197. 1913 Ganz articulated, TW 6000 3, 28, 37, 37A, 42, 50, 51, 51A, 52, 62, 62A
Szépilona kocsiszín Budapest II., Budakeszi út 9-11. 1870 Tatra T5C5K 18, 59, 59A, 61
Zugló kocsiszín Budapest XIV., Thököly út 173. 1899 TW 6000, nostalgia Ganz UV's 3, 62, 62A, 69

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Budapesti Közlekedési Központ - Timetables". Budapesti Közlekedési Központ (BKK). Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2011" (PDF). BKV Zrt. 2011. p. 4. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  3. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2011" (PDF). BKV Zrt. 2011. p. 48. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "The History of BKV, Part 1 - Development of community transport". BKV Zrt. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  5. ^ a b "The History of the Budapest Tram Transport". BKV Zrt. Retrieved 2013-10-17. 
  6. ^ a b c d Legát, Tibor; Zsolt L. Nagy; Gábor Zsigmond (2010). "Bevezető [Introduction]". Számos villamos [Numbered tram] (in Hungarian). Budapest: Jószöveg. pp. 6–12. ISBN 978-615-5009-15-0. 
  7. ^ Legát, Tibor; Zsolt L. Nagy; Gábor Zsigmond (2010). "8". Számos villamos [Numbered tram] (in Hungarian). Budapest: Jószöveg. pp. 57–59. ISBN 978-615-5009-15-0. 
  8. ^ Legát, Tibor; Zsolt L. Nagy; Gábor Zsigmond (2010). "24". Számos villamos [Numbered tram] (in Hungarian). Budapest: Jószöveg. pp. 132–137. ISBN 978-615-5009-15-0. 
  9. ^ Jakab, László; Zsolt L. Nagy (2011). "Villamospótló". In Legát, Tibor. Szerbusz trolibusz [Hi there, trolley] (in Hungarian). Budapest: Jószöveg. pp. 46–49. ISBN 978-615-5009-30-3. 
  10. ^ Legát, Tibor (2008). "Harminchárom [Thirty three]". Közlekedik a főváros [The capital in motion] (in Hungarian). Budapest: Jószöveg. p. 38. ISBN 978-963-7052-77-4. 
  11. ^ Legát, Tibor (2008). "Szimbolizmus [Symbolism]". Közlekedik a főváros [The capital in motion] (in Hungarian). Budapest: Jószöveg. p. 52. ISBN 978-963-7052-77-4. 
  12. ^ Gábor Sandi. "Trams of Budapest in 1968". Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  13. ^ Legát, Tibor (2008). "Halványuló sárga [Fading yellow]". Közlekedik a főváros [The capital in motion] (in Hungarian). Budapest: Jószöveg. pp. 60–62. ISBN 978-963-7052-77-4. 
  14. ^ Legát, Tibor (2008). "A külvárosi gyors [Express in the suburbs]". Közlekedik a főváros [The capital in motion] (in Hungarian). Budapest: Jószöveg. p. 74. ISBN 978-963-7052-77-4. 
  15. ^ Index (2012-05-07). "Bevetik fűvel az 1-es villamos vágányait [Tram line 1 to be seeded with grass]" (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  16. ^ Index (2011-11-17). "Budapest: támadnak a villamosok [Budapest: attack of the trams]" (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  17. ^ Index (2011-01-24). "Csak a vita fonódik, a budai villamos nem [It is only the debate that goes on, not the tram]" (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  18. ^ "A jelenlegi villamos járműállomány". Retrieved 2013-10-10. 

External links[edit]