Long-awaited renovations on Budapest’s Metro 3 – the longest and busiest line of the city’s subway system – are finally scheduled to start this fall. The northern stretch of the line, connecting Újpest-Központ with Dózsa György Road, will be renewed by an Austrian company during autumn, while a tender for refurbishing of the remaining two stretches will soon be officially announced. During this time frame, replacement buses will serve the affected stations above ground, but on occasion during evenings and on weekends, these buses will run along the entire line during the renovations.
Running roughly parallel with the Danube on the city’s Pest side, the M3 spans 17 kilometers between the north and the south of the city, serves a total of 20 stations, and transports nearly 500,000 passengers daily. However, it does all that with cautiously dilapidated cars rolling on tracks that have long been unsafe. Fortunately, the issue is recognized by the Center for Public Transport in Budapest (BKV), and step by step, this public-transport artery is being renewed.
Budapest’s long-dilapidated Metro 3 has been through a lot recently; after being beset for various issues, Budapest’s public-transport officials pledged to modernize its stations and subway cars, announcing that the ramshackle trains would be gradually taken to Russia for comprehensive refurbishment, and then these improved carriages would be returned to Budapest and put back into operation. A big ovation welcomed the first refurbished Russian car that was sent on its way at a ceremonious press conference back in May. However, these cars soon started showing signs of major technical difficulties and serious safety issues, so all of the other cars renovated by early July had to be taken out of circulation.
However, in mid-July these refurbished Soviet-produced metro cars once again went through technical examinations, and seemed to be ready to roll again underneath Budapest. Nonetheless, the bigger issue with the Metro 3 line concerns its tracks that have long been time-worn, and are likely to encounter water seepage at certain spots, which could cause serious electrical issues. A potential tragedy has long been lurking in the dark along the M3’s underground tunnels, so it is now absolutely high time that this issue was addressed.
Renovations on the northern stretch – including the Újpest-Központ, Újpest-Városkapu, Gyöngyösi utca, Forgách utca, Árpád híd, and Dózsa György út stations – may start as soon as the end of October or early November, while a new tender will soon be issued for the renovation of the other two stretches, according to Hungarian news portal Világgazdaság. The 24.1 billion contract for the refurbishment of the northern stretch of the Metro 3 will be signed with the Austrian Strabag company at the end of August or in September. Originally, the renovations were planned to be completed by 2019, but now this optimistic date seems highly unlikely. During the refurbishment in the fall, the metro will only run between the Kőbánya-Kispest and Lehel tér stations, while replacement buses will serve the rest of the stations above ground. However, at certain stages of the works in the evenings and during weekends, occasionally replacement buses will run along the entire length of the line. A precise schedule for the renovation works will be decided once the contract is signed with the Austrian company. Despite the inconvenience we will face amid these renovations, we are surely looking forward to seeing Budapest’s Metro Line 3 with a fresh appearance in the not-too-distant future.