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sights & culture


Once Upon a Time in the North – kids will love the new hands-on exhibition at the Transport Museum


  • Zsanett Fürdős

19/07/2021 11.33am

With several weeks of the summer holidays still ahead of us, the new Transport Museum in the industrial zone of Kőbánya has just unveiled an impressive exhibition, due to run until October. Once Upon a Time in the North tells the history of the hall it is standing in, the trains and the workers who repaired them. All is very hands-on – you can climb upon the engines and sit in old compartments.

In the Diesel Hall, where Hungarian trains were repaired for generations, the new exhibition Once Upon a Time in the North shows in words, pictures and vehicles the part the Northern Vehicle Repair Area played in the running of the railway in Hungary and surrounding region.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

This recently opened attraction also allows visitors to peek into the new Transport Museum for the first time. Once located in City Park, it now forms the centrepiece of what is currently the largest brownfield development in Europe.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

After the closure of the former railway repair site, many thought that the whole thing would be demolished and replaced by a housing estate. Instead, the Transport Museum and a branch of the Opera House – workshops and a small stage  – should revitalise the previously neglected area.

There is still a long way to go before you can walk around the new museum as a whole, but in the meantime, the current exhibition allows you to admire the old Diesel Hall, for many years closed off to visitors along Kőbányai út.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

Once Upon a Time in the North tells the history of the hall and surrounding Kőbánya industrial district, and illustrates what the future museum will look like. Not only can you admire the locomotives, bicycles and motorcycles, but you can touch them, even climb on them.

The popular 424 steam locomotive, even taken to North Korea

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

The exhibition first shows the historical significance of the industrial environment of Kőbánya-Józsefváros, where the first railway workshops appeared in 1867. Other vehicles were later brought here for repair. The lives and communal residences of the local workers are also detailed.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

In addition to railroad vehicles, you can also see old bikes that workers used to go to work in the morning, admire a Puch racing motorcycle from the 1920s, and the Formula V car that once zoomed around nearby Népliget.

Photo: Szabó Gábor - We Love Budapest

The Diesel Hall was unveiled in 1962. Around it today, the pipes, beams and machines aren’t kept behind glass and off-limits but left as they should be, oil stains and all. Graffiti, posters and peeling walls decorate the paint workshops.

The Budapest railway of the future is also visualised, the new stations and revamped local lines.

The exhibition is only open four days a week, Thursdays to Sundays. With expected high demand, admission is by reservation only (English-language page available).

Hungarian Museum of Transport 
District X. Kőbánya út 30 
Tram 28 to Eiffel Műhelyház from Blaha Lujza tér/Népszínház utca 
Until October Thur-Sun noon-7pm
Tickets here
Admission 2,400 forints. Under-26s/over 62s 1,200 forints. Under-6s/over 70s free

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