Budapest’s fourth metro line, linking Kelenföld and the Keleti railway stations, was opened to the public on Friday, on which occasion a ceremony was held in the presence of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Mayor of Budapest István Tarlós at the Kelenföld terminus.
Mayor Tarlós called the newly opened metro line one of Hungary’s biggest investment projects over the past few decades and more “a result of chaotic preparations, then serious efforts”. The current expansion of the underground network indicates that the leaders of Budapest and the central government “are willing and able to cooperate”, he said.
The Mayor underlined that the international agreements concluded in 2005 and 2006 with regard to the construction of the metro line did not make any further consideration possible in 2010 about the continuation of the investment. He also stated that after renegotiating the contracts, the capital was able to regain tens of billions of forints, and instead of the “metro-politics” of previous leaderships, construction was finally realised successfully.
The metro line’s 15 vehicles, each with four wagons, will be controlled automatically, but monitoring will also be present during the test phase to ensure absolute safety.
The project was financed by the Hungarian State and the City of Budapest, with co-funding from the European Union. Its total budget was HUF 452.5 billion (EUR 1.5 billion), of which HUF 180 billion (EUR 600 million) was derived from EU funding, including a risk reserve of HUF 67.5 billion.
The procurement of new Metropolis metro trainsets is part of Budapest’s largest ever fleet modernization and transportation development programme. Providing an efficient and comfortable metro solution to the 1 million daily passengers out of the 1.8 million citizens of Budapest represented a major challenge for the city. The decision was made to replace the fleet in operation on line 2 and to build a new automated line 4 provided with driverless rolling stock.
This is the first time that the passengers of Budapest metro will experience an automated metro, although the city’s metro system has been carrying people for 118 years. To familiarize travellers with the new system, a driver’s cabin staffed by a train supervisor will be placed at the front of the trainset during the first year of service. The wall separating the driver’s cabin from the passenger area will then be removed by Alstom technicians.
The 15 new Metropolis inaugurated for line 4 are 80m long (5 cars) and can carry 810 passengers, including 164 seated. The cars have four external wide (1.3m) sliding doors on each side, allowing passengers to access and exit the metro quicker at stations. The vehicles – capable of running 70 km/h – are single spaced enabling passengers to walk easily from one vehicle to the next inside the train if needed.
Modern lighting and a light interior combined with the warm, red tone of the carpets creates a relaxing atmosphere and a spacious traveling environment. The comfort and safety of the passengers is further enhanced by built in air-conditioning and a state-of-the-art passenger information system.
“We are very proud to deliver this automated metro to the city of Budapest, the first one in Central-Eastern Europe. This shows our expertise in conceiving metros for any type of configuration, depending on the requirements of the customer. Citizens of Budapest have been using metros for more than a century and it was an interesting challenge for us to create a state-of-the-art metro that suits their needs,” said Andreas Knitter, Alstom SVP Europe.
The new metro of Budapest was designed in France. Its traction system was manufactured in Hungary. The manufacturing of the carbody shells and the actual assembly took place in Katowice, Poland.