The Second Oldest Metro Line in the World – the Budapest Millennium Underground
After the 150 year old London Underground, the yellow M1 line of Budapest is the second oldest metro line in the world and the first one on the European mainland.
The “földalatti” (“the underground”), as it is usually referred to locally, has been operating in the capital city since the 19th century.
The constructions began in 1894. It took less than two years for the 2000 workers to complete the line using a cut and cover method.
This means it was built entirely from the surface. It was inaugurated by emperor Franz Joseph on May 2, 1896, marking the thousandth anniversary of the arrival of the Hungarian tribes (the Magyars) to the region of present-day Hungary. It was therefore named the Millennium Underground.
It had eleven stations, two above ground, and the railway line was 3.7 km long. Trains started every two minutes. Running underneath the Andrássy Avenue it transported up to 35000 passengers a day between the city center and the city park. The end station at the time was the Zoo.
Modern trains replaced the original ones in the 1970’s, but the 19th century atmosphere has been preserved. This is one of the reasons why it is a popular tourist line, but also because today it connects Budapest’s city center Vörösmarty Square with the Budapest City Park, Heroes’ Square and its museums and the also very popular Széchenyi Medicinal Bath.
It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002.
You can also learn more about it and the history of underground transportation and see some of the oldest metro wagons of Europe displayed at the Millennium Underground Museum, which you can find at the Deák Ferenc Square metro station underpass and can visit for the price of a metro ticket.
mainland – szárazföld/kontinens
to refer to something as – utalni valamire valamiként
to operate – működni
capital city – főváros
construction – építkezés
to complete – befejezni
cut and cover method – nyitott építési módszer
entirely – teljesen
surface – felszín/ felület
to inaugurate – felavatni/beiktatni
emperor – császár
to mark – jegyezni/jelezni
anniversary – évforduló
tribe – törzs
therefore – ezért
above ground – föld felett
railway – vasút
underneath – alatt
passenger – utas
to replace – helyettesíteni/lecserélni
atmosphere – hangulat
to preserve – megóvni
reason – ok
to connect – összekötni
world heritage site – világörökség része
to display – kiállítani
underpass – aluljáró