This is one of the nicest streches in Budapest. It consists of various sections built at different times. Its northernmost part was opened in 1869 as the first horse-tram line in Buda (Buda, Pest and Óbuda have only been merged into Budapest in 1873), starting at the bridgehead of the first permanent bridge between Buda and Pest, the Chain Bridge (or Széchenyi Lánchíd, as it was later named after the initiator of its construction). The horse tram line went along the Danube to Bem József tér, from there it went over to what later got known as the Buda section of the Grand Boulevard, and then climbed up to Zugliget, as the predecessor of "lost" tram route 58. Another branch went further to north, and was mainly the predecessor of today's tram 17. Later it was electrified, but it was only connected to the southern tram lines built on the other side of the bridgehead in 1906.
The section north of Battyhány tér was abandoned in 1970. Around that time the strech between Döbrentei tér and Batthyány tér was only used by route 9, and later by route 19. Tram 9 was suspended in 1986, while route 41 was brought here in 2003.
Route 19: Batthyány tér - Bem rakpart - Várkert rakpart - Döbrentei tér - Gellért rakpart - Szent Gellért tér - inner Bartók Béla út - Móricz Zsigmond körtér - outer Bartók Béla út - Vasút utca - Etele tér, Kelenföldi pályaudvar (6 km)
Vehicles: 8 x Ganz articulated car (from remise Kelenföld)
Route 41: Batthyány tér - Bem rakpart - Várkert rakpart - Döbrentei tér - Gellért rakpart - Szent Gellért tér - inner Bartók Béla út - Móricz Zsigmond körtér - Fehérvári út - Budafok, elágazás - Anna utca - Ady Endre út - Rózsavölgy - Kőérberek - Susulyka utca - Kamaraerdei Ifjúsági Park (13.3 km)
Vehicles: 7 x Ganz articulated car (from remise Budafok)
Here's a Google Maps overview of this branch. It's right on the left-hand side (as we look at it here) of the river:
This is a simple two-track terminus with a scissors crossover. Very nicely photographable for the most of the day, though.
The whole upper quay branch was rebuilt in 2008-2009, and the terminus now lays in a (very) slight curve, so should the line once be extended northwards (which is planned, although currently the mayor of District II. blocks the process), the tracks will dodge the stairs to the subway and the underground terminus of the HÉV line to Szentendre.
This is a "touristic" part of the city, with many attractions. You should take a look at it from the other side of the Danube: there's the Castle District above, with the Fishermen's Bastion, the Mathias Church, and the Battyhány tér Market Hall below. And there's the old White Cross Inn, in which Casanova has stayed for a few nights during one of his journeys - at least according to folklore.
The upper quay (the street above the quay) is called Bem rakpart. Here you will find a few hotels, brasseries, and the French Institute for Culture.
Some of the houses in the street are now getting renovated, but most of the trees had had to be cut after a catastrophic storm in which two people have died from falling branches. It turned out the trees were suffering from some kind of disease that made them too weak.
The underpass under the bridgehead of the Széchenyi Lánchíd is narrow, steep and windy - definately a must for tram fans! :)
This used to be more fun with UVs:
Let's climb out on the other side:
Some still shots of the same ramp.
The new stop for Clark Ádám tér/Lánchíd is located after the tram climbs out of the underpass. There's a crossover switch after the stop, used during shortenings. Trivia: Currently only Ganz articulated trams (and heritage cars) are allowed to go through the underpass - Tatras, TW6000 and everything else must turn back here.
Hint: The easiest way to get to the Castle District is to alight here and take the funicular.
Here the views are dominated by the Chain Bridge, or the Castle Bazaar, which is in a very rundown condition, so I'm not going to show you photos of it :(
Remark: the former stop Ybl Miklós tér is gone since the 2008/2009 renewal of the line.
The stop Döbrentei tér is a few hundred meters away from named square. Here you shall find the best lighting conditions in the early forenoon hours.
This strech is shared with automobiles.
Route 18 is joining us here as it arrives from Déli pályaudvar.
Trams are running here in the middle of the narrow road between the river and the cliffs of Gellért-hegy (St. Gellert's Hill).
Looking north, with the Elisabeth Bridge in the background
After a few hundred meters under the rocks, we arrive to...
Buda's most important tram services run through here, which means one tram in each direction at every change of the traffic lights - this will sure give you plenty of possibilities to take tram photos!
Although much of the square is messed up due to the construction works for the new M4 metro line, it's still a great tramspotting place.
One thing: please be cautious with vehicular traffic when searching for the right angle for a photo! And also be cautious in the stop: the platform is quite narrow for such a big patronage (although latter can not be seen on the photos above:).
Hint: You should climb up
to Gellért-hegy - there are a number of panorama platforms on the cliffs,
with a first-class view onto the trams!
Hint: This is not an advertisment, but the Gellért Spa is really an attraction. It's approachable from the side of Hotel Gellert, and is so spectacular that it was even featured in some movies (like in "I, spy" with Eddie Murphy).
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