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Hungary: HUF 1000 bn for railway infrastructure development

Hungary plans to invest approximately HUF 1000 billion in the development of fixed track transport and as part of this funding, the international TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Networks) will be upgraded on a section of 800 kilometres, János Fónagy, Minister of State of the Ministry of National Development said.

The following sections will constitute major projects: Budapest-Miskolc, Püspökladány-Debrecen, the South-Balaton line between Szántód-Köröshegy and Balatonszentgyörgy, Kelenföld-Százhalombatta-Pusztaszabolcs, Szeged-Hódmezővásárhely-Gyula, and the renovation of the South-Budapest railway bridge, the Minister of State informed.

The installation of the GSM-R communication system on a section of 2,554 kilometres also forms part of the development; 450 kilometres of railway lines will be electrified, and comprehensive track refurbishment works will be completed on a section of 400 kilometres by 2018.

The Minister of State also informed the press about the development of MÁV’s debt. The railway company’s credit portfolio amounted to HUF 27 billion in 2002, and almost reached HUF 300 billion by 2010. As a result of the takeover by the State of debts worth HUF 108 billion, the company’s debts decreased to HUF 152 billion by the end of last year, and they will decrease to just HUF 70 billion by the end of this year.

The various organisational changes which have been implemented in recent years have also contributed to the reduction of the railway company’s debts. The number of the members of the MÁV Group has been reduced from 45 to 24 in the past 5 years.

The Government has re-opened eleven of the 39 railway lines closed down between 2007 and 2009, and passengers may travel on these lines and on another 19 for tariffs which are a quarter lower now than they were before, the Minister of State remarked.

Mr Fónagy highlighted: MÁV has achieved the results presented against the background of peace at the work place; there has been no strike in the past 5 years, and the average wage has increased by 12 per cent.

As a result of the developments, more people use railway services. For instance, the number of passengers has increased by one fifth on the refurbished Székesfehérvár line, while one half more passengers travel to Kunszentmiklós and Lajosmizse by rail, the Minister of State added.

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