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Budapest, 13. August, 2001.

No, 13th of August is not a special day. There's no anniversary on that day, and it's not the birthday of someone important. In 2001 however there was something special about it: I heard a rumour that a group of rail fans from Germany would take a big round trip in the city. And this usually means a great opportunity to take photos of trams at interesting and/or unusual locations!

Jászai Mari tér, terminus of route 2. Of course this picture is not that interesting, but Ganz CSMG2 articulated trams like the one on the photo are not normal on route 2: this line is served with the refurbished KCSV6's (CSMG2's rebuilt with Ganz-Ansaldo electronics), but there's not enough of them, so when one of them breaks down, they send out a normal CSMG2, just like this morning.

Okay, now this _is_ interesting: streetcar BKVT 611 had an interesting life: it was built in 1907, and then served until the seventies (as one half of the twin set 1714-1715). After that it was used in nostalgy service during the eighties - just as it was, so in really bad shape. It was rebuilt to its original state in 1987, since that it's used on hired rides. The german rail fans (or at least a third of them: they separated into three groups) got here by a Ganz CSMG2 (reserved just for them) on route 6 and then changed to this old vehicle.

BKVT 611 on the Danube front. This car does not only look interesting, it even sounds interesting with the whistling sound of the air brake system and the deep roar of the motors. You can see the gentleman on the right side of the picture was quite surprised seeing this old streetcar, he just stood there buffled!

Photo-stop at Vigadó tér.

In the background you can see Buda Castle.

The old streetcar went on southwards along the Danube, while I got to the other side of the river, all the way up to Városmajor, the lower terminus of Fogaskerekű vasút, the cog-wheel railway. Not much after I got there, a Ganz articulated (which is not usual here nowadays) arrived. Onboard was another group of the rail fans from Germany.

"K" (for "Különjárat") means "special train".

The Ganz from another angle.

A cog-wheel train on the terminus. This vehicle was built by BBC-SGP (Austria) in 1972-73. Some of its fans call it lovingly "the big red cow" :-)

The cog-wheel railway itself was opened in 1874. It was electrified in 1929, and only one vehicle remained from the steam-tracion days: a passenger car. The rail fans of course were taken to the Széchenyi-hegy uphill terminus with this car. The "person" on the roof of the car is a dummy: originally a brakeman used to sit there, but with 1500V DC in the overhead wire this was impossible to do. You can also see two hungarian rail fans to the right, taking photos of the special ride!

After the cog-wheel nostalgy car departed, I got back to Moszkva tér. I wanted to see the Ganz articulated we just saw at the cog-wheel terminus, turining back in the loop of route 56.

The Ganz entering the loop...

... coming out of it on the other end...

... and waiting for the tracks to get vacant, in order to be able to reverse to the terminus of route 4 and 6 (notice the points in the lower right corner). As you can see, all this was done during the morning peak - trams everywhere!

The three groups of german rail fans were out on the tracks all day, but I was unable to follow them. I think they must have had a great time, I've surely had one if I were for them :-)

© Ákos Endre VARGA, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.

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