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The "short" story of Hungarian State Railroads (MÁV)

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Last modified: December 18, 1996.

The Hungarian State Railways (MÁV) was "born" on the 1st July 1868 as the Hungarian goverment bought the failed Hungarian North RR (Magyar Északi Vasút) or rather its lines from Pest to Salgótarján and Józseftárna (today 80a, 81 (Line number in the timetable) ) with every accessories, the finished plans for continuing the line and every rights. The endstation of line was the present Budapest-Józsefváros station. (On this place should be mentioned that not this was the first railroad line in Hungary. The first railroad line with steam-traction was the line Pest-Vác (33.9 km, today 70) wich was opened on the 15th July, 1846 ( Picture about the opening ceremony(JPEG, 57k) ). Further railroad lines to 1868:
The MÁV continued the building to North on the evidence of the plans. In 1871 was reached Losonc (Lucenec, SK) and in 1872 was opened the line to Ruttka (?, SK), too. The network of MÁV was growed partly by redeeming of private railroads, partly by opening of new lines.

In 1868 were the most important targets setted in laws and they were realized from loans.
The era after the conciliation between Hungary and Austria (1867) was politically and economically very complicated. Hence the buildings of private railroad companies indicated extremly heavy financial burdens because a lot of this companies often failed and they owners got often into troubles, too.
When the company's revealed receipts didn't reach the profit-margin indicated in the agreement, the difference was covered from state implements which was finally payed by the citizens. In order to reduce this kind of burders, the goverment had decided to take this companies into public ownership.
The main private lines built after the conciliation:

The vehicle-quantity of MÁV in his first decade:
Specification 187118751879
Inspector- and mailcars 38136201
Freight cars160534845194

The main manufacturers were Austrian, German and Belgian.
Some pictures:

Due to nationalization in 1870's and 1880's the network of MÁV increased to 4172 km and ca. 50% of mainlines was in the hand of the state.
The nationalization had 3 main period:

  1. 1876-1880
    • 1878 - Magyar Keleti Vasút
    • 1879 - Vágvölgyi Vasút (in 1883 takes it the OMÁV over and comes only with OMÁV back to MÁV)
  2. 1880-1885
    • 1880 - Tiszavidéki Vasút
    • 1884 - Első Erdélyi Vasút
    • 1884 - Duna-drávai Vasút
    • 1885 - Alföld-fiumei Vasút
  3. 1885-1891
    • 1889 - Magyar Nyugoti Vasút
    • 1889 - Budapest-pécsi Vasút
    • 1890 - Első Magyar Gácsországi (Galíciai) Vasút
    • 1890 - Magyar Északkeleti Vasút
    • 1891 - Osztrák-Magyar Államvasutak (OMÁV)
After 1880 were built local railways (HÉVs), too, wich transported the passengers to the main lines. Many other lines were built, too. So was the lenght of MÁV-lines in 1892 about 5200 km.

One of the typical locos of this era was the freight locomotive Class IIIe, (later 326 series) (JPEG, 31k), wich was to find in the whole country. When they removed out of freight service, they were used at larger stations as shunters. The locos were produced by MÁVAG, Sigl, Krauss and Mf d.StEG (Maschinen-Fabrik der k.k. priv. Österreichischen Staatseisenbahn Gesellschaft, Wien) in the same execution.
An other typical loco is the fast train loco Class Ia (later 220 series). The first loco of this type was putted in 1881 into operation. Between 1881 and 1905 were 204 exemplares produced. The last exemplare was after 60 years service, in October 1952 discarded.
The third typical loco, the Class XII (later 377 series), was made for side-track service but they lived to see the endgame of steam-era. This locotype was produced in 531 exemplare.
And two tyipical passanger cars of this years:

To the turn of the century was developed a ca. 17 000 km long in Europe up-to-date network.[...]

(The page is compiled on the basis of Railroadhistory yearbook 1993 (published by Hungarian Traffic Museum.)

The page is maintained by Gábor Bejczi (
Important: Railroad is only my hobby !!!
If you've some additions or ideas just send me an email.