Rail line upgrade heralds improved services

Modernising a 6.4 km section of railway line between Szolnok and Szajol in central Hungary cuts travel time for passenger and freight services by removing bottlenecks and increasing line speeds.

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This project is part of a wider scheme to upgrade the railway line that runs between Budapest and Lőkösháza, which lies near the border with Romania. Work to improve the Szolnok-Szajol section contributes to the line’s interoperability – especially in terms of the infrastructure and signalling equipment – which means train operators are able to run their trains at full capacity without waiting at borders to change locomotives or staff.

The railway line also forms part of the Trans-European Transport (TEN-T) network. Through the TEN-T programme, the European Union has committed billions of Euros to improve transport infrastructure across Europe. The aim is to make it easier for people and goods to move in and between the Member States.

Increasing speed

The upgrade cuts travel times for passenger services by increasing speeds on the line while eliminating restrictions. Freight services benefit as well through extending line capacity and by improving waiting times and easing bottlenecks. The changes promise better services in general as they allow operators to run more trains on the route.

Work to upgrade the line includes:

  • Modernisation of the sub and superstructure – including construction or widening of embankments – to allow for a maximum speed of 160 km/hour and a 22.5 tonne axle load;
  • Various flood protection measures;
  • Reconstruction of the bridge which lies across the Zagyva River;
  • Reconstruction of bridges on the Tisza flood plain;
  • Removal of an existing bridge at Tisza and constructing two replacements bridges with a single track in its place using the existing pillars; and
  • Construction of a new bridge with a 40 m span on the flood plain at Szajol.

The scheme also provides for the modernisation of signalling and train detection systems, along with the upgrading of catenary and the energy supply system.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Modernisation of the Szolnok (excl.) – Szajol (excl.) railway line section” is EUR 80 424 260, of which the EU’s Cohesion Fund is contributing EUR 68 360 621 from the Operational Programme “Transport” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. Work falls under the priority “Improving the international railway and waterway accessibility of the country and the regional centres”.

Draft date

17/06/2015