SERVICES on Hungary’s first tram-train line between Hódmezővásárhely and Szeged in the south of the country are due to begin on November 29, after 50,000km of testing was completed. Passengers can travel for free on the line until April 15.

Services will initially operate hourly, departing between 03.31 and 23.31 from Hódmezővásárhely and between 04.38 and 23.38 from Szeged. A single test service will run from Szeged railway station to Szeged-Rókus railway station on November 30, departing at 00.38 and arriving at 00.55.

From mid-January, tram-trains will operate every 20 minutes during peak periods and half-hourly off-peak, with night services due to be added over the weekend. The final timetable will be determined based on passenger feedback and other data.

The tram-train project involved linking Szeged tram Line 2 to the main line network at Szeged-Rókus station. Tram-trains will run on the MÁV line as far Hódmezővásárhely-Népkert, continuing on a new light rail alignment through the town centre before re-joining the heavy rail line at the city’s main station.

Stadler is supplying 12 37.2m-long dual-system Citylink tram-trains, the first of which was delivered to MÁV-Start in January. Eight vehicles were initially ordered, with four more following in July 2020. Each vehicle costs €6.4m ($US 7.8m).