A Fine Ride Ten Years in the Waiting

It only took 10 years with construction starting in 2004 and a final cost of 452.5 billion Ft, but it has finally opened. One billion Ft = $4,466,000 or €3,259,000. You can do the math. Budapest‘s fourth metro line opened to the public on Friday. The first two days of travel were free, so you can imagine the crowds.

Ron and I had Mary Beth and Alice in tow coming from our extensive tour of Vác. We thought they would be too tired to follow us to Rákóczi tér where we intended to take our first ride on the first day of the new metro. Being troopers, they conceded that this was a golden opportunity for another fabulous travel story to share later, so all four of us lost our Metro 4 virginity as a group. We along with hundreds of others flooded the escalators at Rákóczi tér to descend to the next platform, but not yet to the tracks. It took a second escalator ride to put us train-side.

The trains look like the new trains on the M2 Red line. Each station either has some adornment or not. Rákóczi tér looks plain and unfinished, while Szent Gellért tér has lovely tile work. One station has blocks of bright colors. With only 10 stops on the entire line, the ride was not extensive. A Hungarian overhearing our English commented as he was exiting the train “They stupidly set stops within 500 meters of each other. What a waste.” Perhaps so, some of the stops are ridiculously close like Fővám tér and Kálvin tér. One could almost throw a rock between the two.

The stations include:
Kelenföld vasútállomás    
Bikás park
Újbuda-központ
Móricz Zsigmond körtér    
Szent Gellért tér    
Fővám tér    
Kálvin tér – Intersects with M3 Blue line.    
Rákóczi tér    
II. János Pál pápa tér    
Keleti pályaudvar – Intersects with M2 Red line.

There are 15 vehicles on this line. Each vehicle has four cars, but they are contiguous, so one could walk the length during the ride if so inclined. They are reportedly controlled automatically. This should be interesting.

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