Magyar East '03-'16 - 7: Through the Puszta to Chop (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Overnight East '03 - 6: Departing Vienna (50 p.)

Videos for this part (please set to 1080p quality / full-screen mode):

Diesel around Györ:

Journey to Chop:

This series also includes current pictures: now Vienna Southern/Eastern Terminal has been replaced by the new Main Station - seen after returning from a day trip to Hungary on April 22 2015.
Whenever possible I use the station closer to home, Vienna Meidling, where all south- and westbound trains passing through the city also stop.

On April 29 2004 the situation still was completely different - EuroCity 25 Dortmund - Budapest, to the right, had to reverse at Wien Westbahnhof terminal changing locos. Some class 1044 electrics still could be spotted in their original livery back then.

We follow the Eastern Railway to Sarasdorf. EURegio trains Vienna - Györ were formed of a Hungarian MÁV-Taurus locomotive and ÖBB-Schlieren coaches, here ER 9431 hauled by 1047.008 (nowadays class 470) in the evening of July 5 2006.

EuroNight 466 "Wiener Walzer" Budapest - Zürich reached the straight towards Parndorf during summer solstice on June 20 2005.

On the other side of the sandpit you know from the previous report one finds views of this wind farm near Parndorf, passed by ER 7517 to Hungary. The line to Slovakia branches off right in the background.

We say goodbye to Austria, greeted by the Nickelsdorf train dispatcher on April 22 2015. Soon afterwards this place became a safehaven for many people in need.

Austrian staff of ÖBB-EC 62 "Bartók Béla" Budapest - Munich changing at Hungarian border station Hegyeshalom on June 18 2005. I walked to the level crossing at the eastern end of the station.

V63.039 blew up dust accelerating express 943 Bratislava hl. st. - Petrzalka - Rajka - Hegyeshalom - Budapest Keleti - Lökösháza. Nowadays the rail border crossing to Slovakia at Rajka does not see any regular passenger traffic anymore.

Classic engines changing trains.

I did a few tours before the neighbouring countries would join the EU and visited Györ on April 29 2004.

Old Ikarus bendy busses still roam the streets of Györ today, and we will spot M41.2108 again as well. M41.2143 had been painted in a heritage livery.

On July 14 2016 Bombardier Talent and Stadler FLIRT EMUs dominate the scene.

However, good old class M41 (new-MÁV: 418) have not retired yet.

I procured a few e-tickets from the ticketing machine at Györ and used the chance to shortly visit the diesel line via Pápa. At Gyömöre-Tét halt I got off and walked along a sunflower field next to the track.
MÁV 418.306 (old number M41.2306, modernized variation of class M41) left Gyömöre station somewhat outside the village hauling a composition of ex-ÖBB GySEV-Schlieren coaches as 9203 Szombathely - Györ past an old level crossing barrier.

Suddenly the barrier closed again and 628.308 (M62.308, ex-M62.262 remotorized with a Caterpillar-engine / originally built in Luhansk 1974) rushed past with a southbound freight.

9223 Celldömölk - Györ passed the semaphore-ensemble of Gyömöre in spotlight - pulled by 418.108 (M41.2108).

Another Schlieren coach rake with another Soviet-built diesel could be found further south near Tapolca at Lake Balaton... but that's another story.

At Györ-Gyárváros the mainline is joined, eastbound Floyd 450.001 (former British Rail 86248 / Doncaster 1965) passed by the mundane halt.

The industrial complex housing an Audi factory, on the other hand, is quite picturesque.

We follow the line east to Komárom on April 22 2015. DB Schenker 0480.005 is a powerful "Transmontana", freshly produced in 2013 by Softronic from Craiova in Romania.

The railway touches the Danube along a short stretch at Komárom. I was surprised by NOHAB-GM M61.010 (0618.010) transporting tanker cars for the refinery at Almásfüzitö.

EN 463 "Kálmán Imre" / EN 467 "Wiener Walzer" from Munich / Zürich was 1 1/2 hours late and finally came by with unusual traction: 630.028 (V63).

ZSSK Cargo "Laminátka" 240.019 just had crossed the rail bridge from Slovakia in the background.

As a treat two Floyd Class 86 went past the station on the Danube.

I continued to the next highlight: a few hundred metres of "mountain line" at Szár.

From the nearby stop you walk over meadows to the well-known cutting.

In the meantime, a parade of various Romanian-built privately-operated locomotives came past. CER Cargo 610.100 is another Softronic "Transmontana", sporting a different front design.

630.028 had stayed in the express diagram and returned from Budapest hauling IC 924 "Alpokalja" to Szombathely / "Kékfrankos" to Sopron. Since the line to Szombathely has been fully electrified, these intercity services are now running separately from Budapest to alternating destinations every hour.

Let’s start the report of the current tour:
On July 28 2016 I left work at noon and departed Meidling at 1:26 p.m. by railjet 63, which took me punctually to Kelenföld.
This Budapest suburban junction is always busy with freight- and passenger traffic.

At 4:21 p.m. I boarded five minutes delayed R 3523 to Köbánya-Kispest. The InterCity towards Záhony just left as my train arrived. A few minutes later semi-fast 6296 approached - which takes almost an hour more than InterCities on the same route - but I got on and would not regret it.

First: the appalling state of Köbánya-Kispest station. Summer showers already had subsided, but the roofs still leaked everywhere. Not really inviting to wait for a longer period of time.
Second: The semi-fast consisted of converted former 1st class coaches featuring windows to open. Soon after we left Budapest the sun came out. How could an a/c InterCity match that?

Only few spots of proper Puszta steppe and pasture landscape are preserved, mostly farmland stretches out over the horizon. InterCity 33 "Latorca" Chop - Budapest-Nyugati conveying two UZ through coaches from Kiev was met near Abony, but at these speeds in a straight not possible to take a good picture of.

Along this line I have to offer more historic photos: On April 22 2003 we rode the former express "Tisza" from Lviv via Chop and Budapest back home. Of course it was the other direction, but I will show the images in geographical order of the current trip.
The first bigger city 100 kilometres from Budapest is Szolnok.

Old and modern loco sheds along the line.

Mix of construction trolleys in 2003.

Behind Szajol the electric mainline to Romania via Békéscsaba branches off, in 2016 I spotted Train Hungary Romanian "Cutter" 0609.012 here.

From now on my semi-fast was operating as a local train, stopping at every station - which can be up to 15 km apart in this vast plain. Punctually at 6:52 p.m. we reached Püspökladány, also a junction, for example of the diesel line via Biharkeresztes towards Oradea in Romania. IC 366 "Hargita" from Brasov should have been there at the same time, but it had not shown up yet.

Class 416 (former Bpmot) DMUs were built in Russia, 416.026 was produced in 2005 by Metrowagonmash.

In 2003 we had reached the second large city of the line, Debrecen.

This year dusk was approaching as I arrived at Nyiregyhaza, my stop for the night. I checked into Palermo Panzió 15 minutes walk from the station, before midnight a travelling companion arrived from Germany.
The room was nice, but offered some spacy blue alternative lighting - Bloc Hotel Gatwick can offer nothing against that!
Smartphone pics of the place:

Early morning of July 29 2016 I knocked on the door of my travelling companion’s room, and we woke up the receptionist sleeping in the lobby. Past narrow gauge tracks we reached the station where class 127 "InterPici" (a kind of regional express) railbusses could be taken pictures of - which was immediately prohibited by a security guy. A good start into the day...

So, we boarded regional train 6220 departing at 5:48 a.m. to Záhony. At sunrise we passed Nyiregyhaza depot - here I have an exact image from 2003 for comparison, including old diesel shunter M32.2027.

After an hour's ride we reached the modern border station to the Ukraine, Záhony (image from 2003 to the left).
From Fényeslitke a broad gauge line runs parallel to the standard gauge tracks. The broad gauge yard of Záhony is located to the right side of the picture. Next to original-M62 628.272 you can spot regauged freight cars, the flatcars serve as converters from chain to Russian automatic couplers used on broad gauge cars.

IC 627 "Délibáb" to Budapest was ready to depart, the railbusses served the branch line to Mátészalka.

478.032 (M47.2075) with one coach arrived as cross-border local from Chop.
Of course soon afterwards a security guy came by and prohibited photography - the policemen who had seen us all the time were not bothered by it at all.

After a stationary border check inside the train we departed at 8:35 a.m. for the short hop as train 32512 across the border.

To the left in the depot I captured Hungarian broad gauge M62.5, to the right the standard gauge version.
A dreamy view at Tisza border river through the windows of the sleeping car in 2003.

We reached the other river bank, Ukraine, and waved at the border guard on the small bridge - he waved back. The four-rail dual-gauge track leading over the bridge is split up into one broad gauge and two standard gauge tracks.

We stopped shortly until we continued the ride through Ukrainian fields and villages.

Reaching Chop we joined the electrified mainline from Slovakia. ChME3-4177 was busy shunting on broad gauge.

Next time we will finally regauge! :0) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.