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European Railroad Discussion > Hungary Part 1 — Budapest Keleti Station (Ooops, Nyugati statio

Date: 11/21/22 18:24
Hungary Part 1 — Budapest Keleti Station (Ooops, Nyugati statio
Author: gobbl3gook

Budapest Keleti Station.  
(Oops, actually Budapest Nyugati Station).  

Quite the welcome for me for my first steps in Hungary.  

Wikipedia says it was opened in 1877, making it one of the oldest grand train stations still in use anywhere in the world.  

As per my usual mode of operation, no prior Googling.  Just get off the train and see what there is to see.  

Lots of trains here.  Lots of tracks.  A confusing setup as to how to find an eastbound train.  I think someone helped me out and walked me over to the appropriate track area.  (I think I came in on the westermnost track, and had to loop around the end of the terminal, then go out to the norther set of tracks on the east side?)

October 2019.  

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/22 00:29 by gobbl3gook.

Date: 11/21/22 18:27
Re: Hungary Part 1 — Budapest Kelti Station
Author: gobbl3gook

Lots of pretty details.  On a beautiful and hot day.  But I only had a few minutes, so mostly just enjoyed the experience of picking my way through corridors and through train halls trying to find a train going in my direction.  

Date: 11/21/22 18:36
Re: Hungary Part 1 — Budapest Kelti Station
Author: gobbl3gook

7) Always take photos of maps, for current abd future reference!  

8) This was a really nice place to wait for a train.. 

9) Cast iron columns. Some repairs or renovation going on.  

Date: 11/21/22 18:39
Re: Hungary Part 1 — Budapest Kelti Station
Author: gobbl3gook

10) Detail on the cast iron column.  How many folks have touched this column since 1877?  How many have taken note of the details?  How many conversations has it heard?  *So* interesting to me...  

11) overall route map -- Bratislava - Budapest - Zahony (Ukraine border) on about Oct 19.  (red line) 

Then Ukraine border - Budapest - Suboptica on about Oct 30 (yellow line) 

Comments, questions, observations?  

Ted in OR

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/22/22 00:39 by gobbl3gook.

Date: 11/21/22 19:09
Re: Hungary Part 1 — Budapest Kelti Station
Author: BuddPullman

Very nice photos, thank you.

I was there in 1985 while in enroute to Yugoslavia, spent 4 nights at a hotel between trains.  The station was and is beautiful. Nice to see it again in your photos.

Date: 11/21/22 19:20
Re: Hungary Part 1 — Budapest Kelti Station
Author: steph62850

I have fond memories of trying to upgrade a third class ticket to first class in Keleti Station.  I was successful despite not speaking Hungarian.  

Stephanie Ann

Date: 11/22/22 00:38
Re: Hungary Part 1 — Budapest Kelti Station
Author: gobbl3gook

Hi BuddPullman and Stephanie, 

On further investigation, I had the name of the station wrong.  

But, can you share your stories?  What was it like in 1985, BP?  Could you buy tickets anywhere, and travel without a host?  Or was travel restricted for westerners?  And what was the train travel like?  And where did you go next?  Zagrab, Belgrade?  

And Stephanie -- how did you end up with a 3rd class ticket?  Why did you choose 1st class instead?  And where were you going?  

A few map links: 
Exterior scaffolding in May 2022
Looking very handsome in May 2014, with big puffy clouds.  

Date: 11/23/22 21:48
Re: Hungary Part 1 — Budapest Kelti Station
Author: BuddPullman

I was living in NYC (and made travel plans with a friend from DC) to fly from JFK to West Berlin via Frankfurt. TWA to Frankfurt and Pan Am from Frankfurt to West Berlin.  German airlines were forbidden to fly over East Germany, still in 1985. 

Before leaving the USA, I went to the East Coast Embassies of the eastern bloc countries to apply for an secure travel visas. The Iron Curtain was in effect and you could not just show up at the frontier or border with the expectation of being allowed in the country. Having all the necessary Visas in hand before departing NYC, we boarded a train from East Berlin, after careful East German scrutiny by customs personnel, and headed south to Vienna.  We had sleeping car accommodations and were locked in our rear sleeper apart from the rest of the train. Our sleeper was going all the way through the communist bloc and would pass through the Iron Curtain in order to get to Vienna.

The sleeping car attendant had a small space in the car and would sell hard rolls and bottles of juice.  We never got to see if there was a diner in the large part of the train.  

The train took us south through Dresden and later that night through Prague.  The next morning we passed into Austria.  When leaving communist territory we passed under a foot bridge manned with armed soldiers watching our train enter free Austria.  

We hotel ed for 3 nights in Vienna and took a different train to Budapest, called the "Orient Express" in the Thomas's Guide. This Orient Express was not the luxury version like the movies but a more utilitarian one. After 3 nights in Budapest, we took a sleeper from there along Lake Balaton to Zagreb.  From Zagreb we had another sleeper overnight to Split on the coast. At Split we opted for a Ferry boat to Dubrovnik, a beautiful city. 

It was a terrific trip and it was so interesting traveling behind the Iron Curtain.  I am sure it is just as interesting today and much more friendlier.

It is great you had the opportunity to visit Budapest. 

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