AMENDMENT: The rail strike has since ended and trains are running throughout Hungary.

Hear that? No? That's because Budapest is missing a distinct sound. The sound of trains.

This photo was taken at peak rush hour time at Nyugati station, one of the city's main and usually most bustling domestic train stations. Take note of the arrival and departure board - nearly empty, save for a train headed to the airport. It's not exactly what I'd call active.

Since last Saturday there has been a strike that started with the railroad's domestic workers, but then spread by week's start to almost all trains in and out of Hungary. It's been reported that the cause for the strike is an internal battle between train officials and employees over money employees feel they deserve after the sale of a private sector of MAV.

Walk into any of Budapest's three main train stations, including Keleti, which normally handles most of the international traffic, and you'll be surprised at the deserted nature that haunts the iron and glass lattice-work. Despite Christmas being just days away, the strike shows no signs of stopping, which spells disaster, or at least major headaches, for holiday travelers with destinations outside of Hungary. However, it's been said that railroad employees will suspend the strike temporarily on the Christmas holiday. For those who want to arrive to family and friends earlier than Christmas Day, good luck.

A separate strike at Budapest's airport has holiday travelers needing to arrive at the airport three hours before departure to ensure everything goes smoothly. At this point, the bus is your best bet, either that or good old fashioned thumbing it.

Jacob P.


  1. stanfairbank said...

    The net may be good for some things but strike info is not usually one of them, because the disputes are usually resolved by the time you can find the news in a search. Thanks for putting it in the blog for our info.

    Also Ferihegy seems to be OK with passenger processing after a the post-holiday crunch on Monday, when there was some kind of strike going or one threatened to start, and the place was an absolute zoo.  


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