Weekly newsletter

Budapest-Bucharest High-Speed Railway? Both Governments Want It

Gábor Sarnyai 2019.03.18.

Last year, the Hungarian government ordered a feasibility study for the high-speed railway line it plans to build to Bucharest. The project will certainly be expensive, but it is not yet clear how the two countries will share the bill.

Péter Szíjjártó visited the Romanian-Hungarian community in Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș) in celebration of the Hungarian revolution of 1848. While there, the Foreign Minister confirmed the government’s commitment to building the high-speed railway line.

Szíjjártó told reporters that Liviu Dragnea, the President of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), had suggested the high-speed train’s final destination be Bucharest instead of Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca). Szíjjartó appeared to be enthusiastic about the idea.

Budapest-Bucharest High-Speed Railway

The distance between Budapest and Bucharest. Via: Google Maps

According to Magyar Nemzet, although there is much the Hungarian and Romanian governments agree on regarding the high-speed railway, the financial aspect remains unresolved. Constructing the 850-kilometer track would cost more than 3,000 billion HUF (around 10 million euros per kilometer).

In the highlands, the price could be even steeper. Szijjártó revealed that the Hungarian government had ordered the feasibility study for one billion forints. When the government first mentioned the Budapest-Kolozsvár line, it seemed to base its plans on Chinese investment. Nevertheless, this seems to have been forgotten. Though once a cherished dream of Fidesz, the project hasn’t even begun, and the official statements are fewer and further between.

V4 Railway Project: Many Feasibility Problems May Arise

The plan references another high-speed train slated to connect the V4 capitals: Budapest-Bratislava-Brno-Warsaw. Romania also aspires to build a Bucharest-Craiova-Temesvár (Timisoara) line, but plans are still in the making. This route would not be practical for Hungary, however, as it would pass right by Székely Land, the region with the most significant Hungarian population.