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Forest train

Children’s Railway

· 2 reviews · Forest train · Budai-hegyek · open
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  • The tunnel at Hárs-hegy.
    / The tunnel at Hárs-hegy.
    Photo: Attila Nógrádi, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • Halloween decoration
    / Halloween decoration
    Photo: Attila Nógrádi, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • /
    Photo: Gulyás Attila, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • Train at the Kis-Hárs-hegy lookout point from Tündér-szikla
    / Train at the Kis-Hárs-hegy lookout point from Tündér-szikla
    Photo: Gulyás Attila, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • Departure
    / Departure
    Photo: Gulyás Attila, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • Waiting for the last train.
    / Waiting for the last train.
    Photo: Gulyás Attila, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / Special train for the fireworks of August 20 (National Holiday)
    Photo: Gulyás Attila, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / Ticket offices in the waiting room.
    Photo: Gulyás Attila, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / Children’s Railway - mixed train
    Video: Attila Moór
  • / Children’s Railway- the Guiness-Record title (interview in Hungarian, May 20, 2015)
    Video: TV2 Magyarország
  • / The tunnel at Hárs-hegy.
    Photo: Gulyás Attila, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / The view from Normafa-lejtő with Erzsébet lookout tower
    Photo: Ƀálint $ztankó, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / The view towards Hármashatár-hegy
    Photo: Ƀálint $ztankó, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / The view from Makovecz lookout tower towards János-hegy
    Photo: Edit Martin, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / The view from Makovecz lookout tower towards Hármashatár-hegy
    Photo: Edit Martin, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / The view from Makovecz lookout tower towards Nagy-Hárs-hegy
    Photo: Edit Martin, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / Makovecz lookout tower
    Photo: Edit Martin, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
  • / Kaán Károly lookout tower
    Photo: Dabis Balázs Silvius
  • / The view from Kaán Károly lookout tower
    Photo: Dabis Balázs Silvius
  • /
    Photo: Gulyás Attila, Magyar Természetjáró Szövetség
0 200 400 600 m km 2 4 6 8 10

This narrow gauge railway line is operating on the outskirts of our capital city. It is winding in the woods of Buda hills in the 2nd and 12th district between Széchenyi Hill and Hűvösvölgy. The name it bears has a very special and unique meaning as it is operated by children – of course under adult supervision. It got listed on the Guinness World Records in 2015 as the longest railway in the world operated by children. The railway line that operates without electrification runs on only one rail-track. It is more than 11 kilometers long and it tackles with 235 meters of elevation gain in just about 45 minutes.

open
easy
11.2 km
0:45 h
12 m
240 m

These days, the Children’s Railway (formerly known as the Pioneer Railway) plays a significant role in Hűvösvölgy and Buda Hills. However, back in those days, there was a huge debate over its location. Many wanted it on Margaret Island, others suggested the area of Népliget, or even the park of the Royal Palace of Gödöllő. Construction works began in April, 1948. Those days, the project was so important that the first phase was finished incredibly quickly, just within three months. The line connected Széchenyi Hill and Virágvölgy (Flower Valley) station and it was three kilometers long. The second phase was completed and inaugurated two months later, in June, 1948, between János-Hill and Szépjuhászné. Eventually, the railway, which is nearly 12 kilometers long and has been in use ever since, reached Hűvösvölgy, its final destination in 1950.

In the beginning, there were only three trains running on this line, of which only one, nicknamed Kis (Little) Piri was designed especially for the Pioneer Railway. One Ganz engine car arrived from the small railway line in Lillafüred and one diesel engine was transported from Békéscsaba to Buda Hills. Along with the length of the rail-track, the machine stock also increased. In 1950 two brand new Ganz motorcars went out to service and in the 1960s and 70s Mk48 and Mk49 diesel engines were also in use.

The six red and white Mk45 diesel engines that are currently in use were made in Romania; they have been running on this line since 1973. Their restoration began in 2010 and the old (MB836 type) engines were replaced by more modern Caterpillars of much lower consumption.

After the political changes the Pioneer Railway was immediately renamed. However, the most important thing did not change: there are still 10-14 year-old children in service on the trains and at the stations. They do this under the supervision of adult stationmasters and engine drivers. Also, the technical background is ensured by qualified workers of the Hungarian State Railways, so it is guaranteed that we will never meet an underage fireman. Any child can join the  Children’s Railway provided that he or she does well at school, is granted permission by his school, is found healthy at the medical test and does a four-month-long course.

Author’s recommendation

It is advisable to visit the sights along the railway line and link the ride to a short excursion. Just to mention a few, for instance:

  • The Báthory Cave on the northeast side. It is accessible from the Szépjuhászné or Hárs Hill station if you follow the Yellow (S) markers.
  • Game Reserve of Budakeszi (from stop „Vadaspark”)
  • The ruins of the Pauline Monastery in Budaszentlőrinc - right next to Szépjuhászné station.
  • Csacsi-meadow
  • Csillebérc Adventure Park at Csillebérc station, right behind the station building.
  • Disznófő spring
  • Erzsébet (Elisabeth) lookout tower – from János Hill station along the Red (P) Trail.
  • Kaán Károly lookout tower from Szépjuhászné station along the Yellow (S) Trail.
  • Makovecz Imre lookout tower – turn right at the Green ↺ (Z↺) marker and then follow the Yellow ▲(S▲) markers.
  • Kossuth statue.
  • The Chairlift from János Hill station along the Red (P) Trail.
  • Magyar-Szentföld Church
  • Makkosmária from Virág-völgy (Flower Valley) station along the Mária () Trail, downwards
  • Nagyrét (The Great Meadow) (Hűvösvölgy)
  • Ördög-orom (Devil Peak)
  • Széchenyi-emlék (Széchenyi Monument)
  • Szent Anna Chapel
  • Szent Anna meadow
  • Tündér-szikla (Tündér Rock)
outdooractive.com User
Author
Eszter Szabó
Updated: January 24, 2019

Difficulty
easy
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
472 m
Lowest point
232 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Rest Stop

Normafa rétes büfé
Gyermekvasút (Szépjuhászné állomás)

Safety information

The journey does not pose any technical challenges – we can start off either with children or with the granny.

Equipment

A journey on the train does not require any special equipment. Wear comfortable clothes and bring some snacks and drinks with you. If you are also planning to take a trip, it is advisable to wear hiking shoes.

Tips, hints and links

Tickets are available not only at the ticket office but at the conductors on the train also.

Start

Széchenyi-hegy (460 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
47.494330, 18.976582
UTM
34T 347595 5262083

Destination

Hűvösvölgy

Turn-by-turn directions

Stations of the Children’s Railway and their accessibility:

  • Széchenyi-hegy terminus: cogwheel railway 60
  • Normafa stop: buses 21, 21A
  • Csillebérc stop: bus 21
  • Virágvölgy stop: only on foot
  • János-hegy (János Hill) Station: by chairlift
  • Vadaspark stop: only on foot
  • Szépjuhászné station: buses 22, 22A and 222
  • Hárs-hegy (Hárs Hill) station: only on foot
  • Hűvösvölgy terminus: trams 56, 56A, 59B, 61 or buses 29, 57, 63, 64,  64A, 157, 157A, 164, 257, 264

Public transport

Public transport friendly

Stations of the Children’s Railway and their accessibility:

  • Széchenyi-hegy terminus: cogwheel railway 60
  • Normafa stop: buses 21, 21A
  • Csillebérc stop: bus 21
  • Virágvölgy stop: only on foot
  • János-hegy (János Hill) Station: by chairlift
  • Vadaspark stop: only on foot
  • Szépjuhászné station: buses 22, 22A and 222
  • Hárs-hegy (Hárs Hill) station: only on foot
  • Hűvösvölgy terminus: trams 56, 56A, 59B, 61 or buses 29, 57, 63, 64,  64A, 157, 157A, 164, 257, 264

Getting there

Click on the selected stop or station to display on the map.

Parking

Parking facilities at the stations:

  • Széchenyi-hegy terminus: spacious, free parking lot next to the station
  • Normafa stop: spacious, free parking lot next to the station (sometimes it is difficult to find a space at weekends, in the summer or at weekends when it is snowy)
  • Csillebérc stop: 200-300 meters northbound from the stop there are two huge parking lots at Normafa close to the Ski House. (sometimes it is difficult to find a space at weekends, in the summer or at weekends when it is snowy)
  • Virágvölgy stop: It is advisable to park at Normafa, close to the Ski House. (sometimes it is difficult to find a place at weekends, in the summer or at weekends when it is snowy); from here, you just have to take an easy walk untill the stop.
  • János-hegy stop: it is advisable to park at Normafa close to the Ski House (sometimes it is difficult to find a place at weekends, in the summer or at weekends when it is snowy); from here, you just have to take an easy walk untill the stop. Or if you plan a longer walk, you can leave the car in Budakeszi Street in the parking lot of Korányi Hospital, or in Budakeszi, next to the church in Makkosmária
  • Vadaspark stop: at Korányi Hospital or next to Szépjuhászné you can park for free;
  • From here Szépjuhászné station is only a short walk: there is a spacious and free parking lot next to the station
  • Hárs-hegy stop: You can park at Szépjuhászné and Hűvösvölgy and take the hiking trails to reach it.
  • Hűvösvölgy terminus: in front of the station, opposite the road, there is a spacious and free parking lot.
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

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Reviews

5.0
(2)
Berecz Péter
August 19, 2019 · Community
János hegyre érdemes felmenni a kilátoba, lefele jovet pedig libegovel menni, amivel felfele is visz. Kilátoban korabeli képek, torténetek.
show more
2019. augusztus 19., hétfő 11:26:13 de.
Photo: Berecz Péter, Közösség
2019. augusztus 19., hétfő 11:26:32 de.
Photo: Berecz Péter, Közösség
2019. augusztus 19., hétfő 11:26:52 de.
Photo: Berecz Péter, Közösség
2019. augusztus 19., hétfő 11:27:34 de.
Photo: Berecz Péter, Közösség
2019. augusztus 19., hétfő 11:28:07 de.
Photo: Berecz Péter, Közösség

Photos of others

+ 3

Status
open
Reviews
Difficulty
easy
Distance
11.2 km
Duration
0:45 h
Ascent
12 m
Descent
240 m
Public transport friendly In and out Family friendly Mountain railway ascent/descent Insider tip

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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