Plan puts Budapest as last stop on super-fast TGV rail line
A plan to bring the super-fast TGV train to Hungary hits some bumps
By the year 2015 Budapest could become the last stop for France's famed TGV train, according to French economic daily Les Échos. But the plan to bring the 320 km/h train to the Hungarian capital is likely to run into obstacles due to Hungary's aging rail network, mfor.hu comments.
A new, 300 kilometer eastbound stretch of the TGV railway called TGV-Est was inaugurated last week. Starting on June 10, passengers traveling from Paris will be able to reach Strasbourg in two hours and 20 minutes, instead of the current four hours, the city of Nancy in 90 minutes (instead of two hours and 45 minutes) and Reims in 45 minutes, instead of one hour and 35 minutes.
As the trains traveling on the new line will be 20 km/h faster than the current TGV, and will cross national borders, travel time between Paris and such international destinations as Luxembourg and Frankfurt will also be slashed, to just over two hours and just under four hours, respectively. Traveling by TGV from Paris to Munich will take just over six hours.
According to Les Échos, an additional investment of €1.5 to €2 billion could see construction starting in 2010 on the 106 kilometers of track needed to connect Paris with Budapest via TGV.
The plans regarding Hungary, however, are unlikely to result in lightning-fast train travel between the French and Hungarian capital, as the poor state of the Hungarian rail network results in maximum speeds well below those attainable in other EU countries. Currently, a permanent speed limit of 80 km/h is in effect over a total of 3,500 kilometers of track in Hungary, while on most Hungarian lines, the maximum speed is 100 km/h, and even on the fastest lines (the recently renovated lines to Hegyeshalom and Cegléd), it is only 160 km/h.