The terminus is a two-track middle-platform stop, where one track is longer than the other, for storage of vehicles.
Layout drawn by Balázs Fejes
The terminus of trolley bus line 74A, the Kisföldalatti ("Shallow Subway", MillFAV or metro line M1), and some bus lines is near.
Behind the fence next to the tracks is the depot of the Kisföldalatti ...
... which also has a track connection with the tram (left). To the right: tram arriving to Mexikói út via Erzsébet királyné útja.
This quite spacious depot was opened together with the extension of the line from Széchenyi fürdő to here in 1973.
The terminus itself is under the surface,
the vehicles only come up for the depot.
rails: route 67 in Mexikói út
At the corner of the Kisföldalatti depot, our tramlines turn into Erzsébet királyné útja, but you can also see another pair of tracks, branch off onto the continuation of Mexikói út. This is where tram 67 headed for Thököly út until March 11. 1997, when traffic on the line was "suspended", with the cause for this being the bad condition of the tracks in Mexikói út between Erzsébet királyné útja and Thököly út, and in Thököly út between Hermina út and Stefánia út. Officially the line is not "dead", only supplemented by buses (thus their route designation "67V"). In reality, the tracks in Thököly út have been asphalted over at several locations, and the terminus at Baross tér doesn't exist anymore due to the construction works for the metro line M4.
This is a relatively quiet street in a residential area, where trams share the surface with cars...
... which makes taking photos a bit hard.
Best is if you try during weekday rush-hour, when one tram is coming soon after another.
After just one stop we arrive to the junction, where route 3 and 69 part ways, while 62 joins 3.
Interestingly both tram 3 and 62 have two stops in this junction: one before and one after the bend - but just when heading for Gubacsi út/Mázsa tér. This is one of the strange features making these services desperately slow.
The tram 69 to the right is of course not a scheduled car: it's just entering traffic coming from remise Zugló.
One of the characteristic feature of Nagy Lajos király útja is that it was designed with 2 lanes for cars + 2 tracks + 2 lanes for the cars going the other way, BUT at most of it only half of this layout was built. After the stop after the junction, the tram running in the middle strip becomes the tram running on the side of the street. This results in way too many crossings with small streets, therefore, emergency brakings due to careless motorists are not uncommon here.
Before we reach the crossing with Thököly út, traffic lanes separate, and we're in the middle strip again.
The remise is located opposite to a church, and has a rather wretched connection to the "live" tracks, and also to the tracks in Thököly út (which haven't seen revenue usage since 1995). Therefore when a tram enters/leaves the depot, it blocks most of the crossing.
Aside the double skip via which the depot can be reached, there's also a simple crossover there, once used as the terminus turnback by the "lost" tramline 64.
rails: Thököly út
The first horse trams have ran between Baross tér and Stefánia út in 1885. By 1897 the line was electrified, and also extended to Hungária körút, with newer and newer extensions: in 1898 to Róna utca, in 1899 to Bosnyák tér.
Route 44 was closed in 1995, but everything (tracks, overhead) remained as it was, because it was the only connection of remise Zugló with the rest of the tram network. It was sentenced to death when the connection with route 13 at Örs vezér tere was complete. Although officially also out of usage, the tracks of "lost" tram route 44 between Bosnyák tér and Rákospatak are still intact (the reversing loop at the end is truncated though).
Most of the tram's right-of-way is parked over by cars, but the first hundred meters are sometimes used for storing trams (e.g. during track renewals cutting remise Zugló away from the rest of the network).
The depot was opened in 1900 for the company BKVT. It's a small facility, which hasn't been modernised for the ex-Hannover TW6000 trams, because the future of the depot is uncertain: the municipality wants to sell it, because the site became valuable recently (and will get even more valuable, if the M4 metro line reaches Bosnyák tér).
Right after the depot the street becomes "one-sided" again.
This is an area yet to be rehabilitated, with many emtpy parcels, or halfway complete or halfway disintegrated buildings. At the stop Szugló utca, the tram crosses trolley bus line 82.
rails: the turnout of route 64 at Egressy tér
Route 64 started as a single-track line with passing loops in 1933, was modernised later, and then closed in 1979. Some of its former overhead posts can still be seen: they are used by trolley bus line 77 crossing route 3 here.
Along our way while heading for Örs vezér tere we can see housing units from different ages: the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. The trams can be best photographed here in the morning, when the sun casts an almost perfect light onto them.
The monotonity of TW6000s is only broken when a faulty vehicle has to be supplemented with a vehicle from another line. Like to the right: a Ganz artic of route 24 springing in for a fallen tram 62.
After a slight bend, we arrive to the modern center of Zugló, which in fact lies on the border between Zugló (district XIV) and Kőbánya (district X). It's also the place where the inner terminus of the Gödöllő and Csömör HÉV services face the outer terminus of the M2 metro line on the other corner of the crossing. There's a track crossing the tram's way, connecting the HÉV to the state railways. Until 1970 the HÉV ran to Baross tér, but when the metro was opened, it was cut here.
There's one stop on one side, close to the terminus of trolley bus lines 81 and 82, and of several other buses, and another on the other side, close to another large bus terminus.
This really is a very busy place, and with a bit of zoom you can make postmodern shots like the one to the left.
Together with the depot of the metro, a large workshop was also built here at the end of the sixties; it's located behind the ugly tower building next to the metro terminus. It can be accessed by trams with a bit of running against normal traffic, which can be an interesting game during the late morning peak, when most of the transports reach/leave the workshop ("főműhely"):
"Fehér út" should have been the place where everything running on rails and owned by the BKV would be repaired and examed, but the HÉV went a different way. Due to the lack of money, smaller exams and repairs on trams are made in the remises, so the workshop is currently underutilised. To overcome this, they do other stuff, too, like repainting state railway coaches.
Two photos of the TW6000, when they were arriving from Hannover - they were put onto the rails and into operation here.
The large halls can be accessed via two large traversers (one of them can be seen on the left). At the back one can always find something interesting, like UVs being stripped for spare parts (right), and there's also a 700-meter trial track there, where trams are tested at their top speed.
Okay, let's continue our way!
One side of the street is occupied by a small forest, which is populated by homeless people and garbage. Once this was a military parade ground, the protective zone of a factory, plus the first airfield in Hungary, now it's no-man's land...
Trams leave the tracks on reservation after the stop Terebesi utca, and crawl along cars through an underpass (left). Then they make a sharp turn, climb (right), and arrive to the place called "Sharp corner" (Éles sarok).
Due to the spacious and interesting layout of this junction,...
... one can take photos of trams running parallel (left), diverging (right) ...
... and crossing each other's way. Of course I must note that it's not easy to get a good angle at this tram cavalcade: the two pictures above for example were taken through the rear window of a tram heading for Örs vezér tere.
After the junction, the street climbs a small hump, and then descends into the downtown of Kőbánya ...
... which was heavily reshaped in the seventies and eighties, and not necessarily for its benefit. Before that, trams ran through a narrow neighbouring street, so the change was good for the trams, but the architecture around leaves a lot to be desired. To understand what has happened to this area, you must know that it was mainly inhabitated by labourers and less wealthy people, for whom these flats were a great step forward. After the fall of communism, most of the factories around here were closed, and this amplified vandalism and criminality. Rehabilitation has already started, with more modern housing estates being built and old buildings being renovated, but the process will take quite some time, I think...
rails: the turnout of route 36 at Liget tér
Before you arrive to Liget tér, you might notice the sad sight of an unusable turnout. This used to be route 36, closed in 1994. The stretch from here to Kápolna tér remained usable (during shortenings due to accidents, etc) until the switches were removed in 2003.
This is the last joint stop of route 28 and 3/62A. In the vicinity you can find a relatively large bus terminus and a state railway station (Kőbánya alsó vasútállomás).
The turnout of our routes is located right underneath the railway station.
After the bend is the terminus of route 62A.
Although the terminus is called Kőbánya alsó vasútállomás ("Lower Kőbánya railway station") / Mázsa tér, the reversing facility is a few hundred meters away, between the tracks of route 3:
The uncomplicated terminus (left) is followed by a somewhat deserted industrial area. And here comes the fun part:
This is where the tram gets single-track for about 300 meters, crosses a halfway abandoned shunting yard, passes a railway underpass, and changes to the other side of the street.
To the left: the "bottleneck" starts right where once one of the passing loops of the old, one-track tram 13 was. To the right: only one railway track remained out of the original four that crossed the tram track.
The barriers of the level crossing are still there, although I have no idea when they were used for the last time. To the right is the building of the railway station, still bearing its name plate: "Kőbánya-Hízlaló".
To the left: a look at the railway flyover seen from the corner of Horog utca. Note the removed turnout: this track used to lead to the locomotive shop of the Kőbánya industrial railway, occupied in its last decades by Mukis. To the right: the Fehér út workshop uses route 3 as its test facility, so you might spot just about any kind of tram anywhere on the line. Seen here: the prototype of the modernised Tatras (T5C5K) running in solo (!).
The other side of the underpass: we're soon back on two tracks again!
To the left: the smoke-stacks of the Kőbánya powerhouse were torn down in 2010. To the right: one of the very few mansions in the street (the tram 62 on the photo was a depot run). Soon after this we arrive back to a more urban area, with high-rise apartment houses.
Before reaching Ecseri út we cross one of the busiest streets of Budapest: Üllői út.
rails: Üllői út
Before the metro line M3 was built, this used to be the most congested tram corridor in town. Now its one the most congested road in town.
The archive photos above were taken during the construction of the metro: tracks were laid and relaid and cut and moved and removed and relaid a few meters away for years.
Although the neo-romanesque Church of the Holy Cross was built as late as the 1920s (it was consecrated in 1930), it still makes a magnificent background for photos in the morning!
This stretch runs along a small forest.
Well, it's not really a forest, but from certain angles it looks like one :)
rails: Nagykőrösi út
Originally the tram line here continued towards Pestszentlőrinc and Pestszentimre., but that stretch was abandoned in 1983 to make room for a highway. Some remnants of the old alignment and its turnout/crossing with Határ út can still be seen: a lonesome overhead post in the bush, a fragment of the old curb along the now non-existing tracks...
We reach the last stretch through a quite far-flung triangle junction:
Bends in every direction, no vehicular traffic, plus paved platforms everywhere so you don't have to step in the mud for good photo positions :) The branch turning towards Kispest, Határ út M is only used by depot runs and special workings.
Tram 3 heading for Epreserdő utca (left) and for Gubacsi út (right). The other tram on the picture to the right was a depot ride.
"Határ" means "border", and the name is justified: this is the boundary between Ferencváros and Pesterzsébet - once the latter wasn't part of Budapest, so this was the city limits. The Ferencváros side is occupied by the gigantic, and now mostly unused Ferencváros shunting yard and some related facilities, the other by the bucolic part of Pesterzsébet.
Soon we reach the exit of the large, unidirectional, single track Pesterzsébet loop (or more precisely: loops). Route 51 (formerly known as route 21, and 30 even earlier) leaves this exotic network-in-a-network by heading for Gubacsi út (thus joining route 3), while route 52 leaves in the other direction.
I hope the map above helps to decode what I meant to say :) The rest of the stretch is pretty much the same until we reach the entrance of the Pesterzsébet loops at Török Flóris utca, ...
... where route 51 goes straight (left - on the picture yet called route 30), while route 52 leaves us.
Route 3 ends in what's probably the most awkward and over-dimensioned terminus in town:
Here route 3 can reverse in three different
1. going around in the reversing loop,
2. entering the stub track parallel to Határ út by using the crossover just before the loop,
3. turning onto Gubacsi út for about 200 meters, then changing to the other track on the crossover there, and use the big sweep going through the reversing loop, thus reaching the stub track parallel to Határ út
And you might see all three procedures done during the day: since route 3 is long, drivers have long pauses after their rounds, and while they're resting, their tram also stays where it was parked - blocking the track where it was parked. But that's no problem: other cars just take one of the other ways :)
To the left: the tram 3 near us will just go 'round the loop. To the right: the tram on the right has just left the platform where passengers can board, and the tram on the left will take its place by using the crossover in the middle of the photo.
To the left: a tram 3 heading for the sweep while changing directions via the crossover in Gubacsi út. To the right: trams having their pause in the reversing loop.
Two special photos taken at this terminus - left: a heritage tram-set on its first test run, just leaving the reversing loop, while a tram 13 waits on the stub track. To the right: you can see how the sweep track reaches the stub one, and also how the reversing loop leads to the boarding platform.
The boarding platform is surprisingly simple, at least compared to the reversing facilities.
rails: Ady Endre utca
If the thing with the Pesterzsébet loop seemed complicated, then I probably should mention that at one time there were more loops than now, therefore there were more exits/entrances (the direction of circulation was changed at one point) than Jókai Mór utca and Török Flóris utca. One of the "lost" paths was Ady Endre utca.
This section of the loop system was closed in 1979. On the archive photo above we see a tram 31 leaving Pesterzsébet for Gubacsi út. As you can see on the other photo, not only the tram vanished, but also the whole street (at least on this end)!
Once there was a HÉV service connecting Pesterzsébet with Csepel island. To put it simple, the workers of the factories on the island lived in Pesterzsébet, and this was how they went to work, and then home. The route of this service changed from time to time, but between 1959 and 1978 it started from where today's tram terminus is. BUT: it's not the same loop, as we can see on the "then&now" photos above. Some of the old overhead posts are still the same, though.
There was another track right next to the HÉV: it lead to the other entrance of the Pesterzsébet loop system until 1972.
On the old photo above you can see the other track in front (or better: parallel to) the HÉV train. The parallel running only lasted a few hundred meters, then the tram turned into Baross utca - this is how tram 13 first penetrated Pesterzsébet. But then a big high-rise housing area was built around this street, and the tram was removed from it - how stupid!
By the way, if you walk further along from the stub track of the tram terminus, you will also find some abandoned tracks in the weed. After the HÉV line was suspended, a connecting track was built between the tram terminus and the HÉV line to Ráckeve, for service/freight usage (e.g. this is where many old trams were transferred to a scrapyard near Szigetcsép, where they were first set on fire, and then chopped to pieces).
Disclaimer: The author cannot
be held responsible for mistakes, misinterpretations, inaccuracies, inactualities,
etc. on/of these pages, nor for the content of other pages linked in.
Archive photos: from the collections of Dr. Zoltán Ádám Németh and Zsolt Levente Nagy, tramway.com, Heinz Heider, Tim Boric, Ákos Varga
Track layout drawings: BSzKRt (collection of Dr. Zoltán Ádám Németh), Fejes Balázs
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