Budapest HEV

Budapest, Hungary | C.1887

Photo Credit: Balazs Csizik

BHÉV (short for Budapesti Helyiérdekű Vasút, or “Budapest Railway of Local Interest”) is a system of commuter and rapid transit rail lines in and around Budapest, Hungary. The four lines currently exist as their own unit, but plans are being made to integrate it into the larger Budapest Metro system.

Originating since 1887, these local railways were built in areas avoided by long-distance main lines, but where railway construction could serve local needs. They were constructed by an autonomous, joint-stock company, but operated by other trusted railway companies, mostly by Hungarian State Railways.

Prior to the BHÉV, horse-drawn tramways were the main mode of transportation, starting operation in 1866. While people of wealth used to ride with their own personal carriages, others rode the predecessors of modern-day taxis, the horse-bus, also known as the public carriage.

Those who lived on the outskirts of the city used the rudimentary public transportation mostly for recreational purposes, however, it all changed with the arrival of industrialization, when more jobs were created in the city; for example, Ujpest was founded in 1840, and the workers, craftsmen, and traders who settled there all worked in Pest.

The railway system now connects the district of Csepel and towns Ráckeve, Gödöllő, and Szentendre with various points of central Budapest. Plans are in place to merge the BHÉV and Metro lines for more seamless passenger usage via an underground line between the Kaszásdűlő and Lágymányosi bridge stations.

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