Wednesday May 05, 2021

Mainland Europe's 1st underground railway turns 125

Published : 03 May 2021, 21:48

Updated : 03 May 2021, 21:50

  DF News Desk

People wearing face masks are seen on the elevator of a subway station in Budapest, Hungary on Sept. 10, 2020. File Photo: Xinhua.

Hungary's capital Budapest on Monday celebrated the 125th birthday of its underground railway, which was the first of its kind in mainland Europe and is the world's second-oldest after the London Underground, reported Xinhua.

It is known as the Millennium Underground, as it was inaugurated in 1896, the year when Hungary celebrated the 1,000th anniversary of the arrival of Magyar tribes in the Carpathian Basin in Central Europe.

"The Millennial Underground is a favorite of generations of Hungarians and of tourists alike," the municipal transport company BKV said in a statement. In 2002, the underground railway was included in the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The four-kilometer underground railway was a technical innovation in the late 19th century and it is still considered a milestone in the history of transport.

In 2020, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) named the Millennium Underground as one of the world's major technical milestones.

The construction of the underground railway line was a significant innovation in itself, but its low-floor cars with cabs on both ends were also state-of-the-art solutions.

One of the original cars, a timber-framed vehicle with track number 11 has been preserved in mint factory condition in BKV's museum in Budapest.

The 10.5-meter vehicle had a capacity of 46 passengers and was in service until 1960. It had a maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, BKV marked the day with an online event.

The Hungarian National Bank (MNB) issued a commemorative coin on the occasion.