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.
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.
- 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 (ᵯ) 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)
Rest StopNormafa rétes büfé
Gyermekvasút (Szépjuhászné állomás)
Safety informationThe journey does not pose any technical challenges – we can start off either with children or with the granny.
Tips and hintsTickets are available not only at the ticket office but at the conductors on the train also.
Click on the selected stop or station to display on the map.
- Széchenyi Hill terminus
- Normafa stop
- Csillebérc station: It is about a 200-meter walk on foot from Konkoly Thege Miklós Street and from "Csillebérc" bus stop and parking lot.
- Virágvölgy (Flower Valley) stop – (It is a 700 meters' walk along the Blue ↺ (K↺) Trail northeast)
- János-hegy (János Hill) Station (It is a 700-metre walk along the Red (P) Trail westbound)
- Vadaspark stop (It is a 900-metre walk on foot from Budakeszi Street – "Korányi" bus stop along the Yellow + (S+) trail northeast and then northbound changing to the Yellow (S) trail.
- Szépjuhászné station
- Hárs-hegy station (on foot from Hűvösvölgyi Street (Stop Shop parking lot) It is a 400-metre walk along the Yellow (S) trail southeast.
- Hűvösvölgy terminus
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.