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New Budapest subway line opening today

March 28, 2014 – the first section of the long-awaited Budapest subway line is inaugurated and open for the public. Between the two terminals, Keleti Railway Station in Pest and Kelenföldi Railway Station in Buda, passengers can get on the tube at eight stations, six of which are new.

It is hard to believe but the first plans for a fourth subway line in our capital were drawn up in 1972, but the track and list of the stations were finalized as late as 1996. Construction work started a decade ago, in 2004, while the number of cars in Budapest kept steadily growing. The opening of the new line was delayed several times and the building costs also kept increasing. The overall budget of this section crept up to 452 billion HUF, financed by the Hungarian State and the Municipality of Budapest, with an aid of 180.8 billion HUF from the European Union. The next section, linking Keleti Railway Station with Bosnyák Square, will hopefully be ready by 2017.

Besides providing a crucial new link between the Pest and Buda side of the city – crossing the Danube in the city centre could be a nightmare due to the traffic jams on the bridges – this subway line is finally accessible for all, including disabled passengers. Besides the usual escalators, street level elevators will transport passengers to the level of platforms, making life so much easier for people travelling with baby strollers as well. It is expected that this line will be able to carry a maximum of 40,000 passengers per hour per direction.

The air-conditioned trains are fully automated and run with 4 carriages with a driver, for the time being. The subway is expected to switch to computer operation with no driver in about a year or so. Driverless subway systems have been in operation around the world since 1967, when the London Underground Victoria Line opened. On this line trains run automatically from station to station but the driver is responsible for door closing and handling emergency situations. Some lines of the Copenhagen, Barcelona, Milan, Paris, Chicago, San Francisco, Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul systems are truly driverless, capable of unattended train operation, which is currently the highest level of automation.

The subway covers the 7.4 km distance between the two terminals in 13 minutes and runs every 2-3 minutes in the rush hour. Passengers can transfer to Metro line 2 at Keleti subway station and Metro line 3 at Kálvin Square station. The public transport system was modified to provide transfers to the new subway line, consequently the changes to various lines across ten districts of the capital might cause some disruption.

long-awaited – várva várt
terminal – végállomás
track – nyomvonal
to finalize – véglegesíteni
to be delayed – késleltetik, késik
to increase – növekedni
budget – költségvetés
to creep up – felkúszni
crucial – létfontosságú
link – összeköttetés
due to – valami miatt
accessible – hozzáférhető, elérhető, megközelíthető
disabled – mozgássérült
escalator – mozgólépcső
platform – peron
carriage – szerelvény
computer operation – számítógépes vezérlés
driverless – vezetőnélküli
to be responsible for – felelősnek lenni
emergency situation – vészhelyzet
unattended – felügyelet nélkül, kíséret nélkül
rush hour – csúcsforgalom
to transfer – átszállni
to be modified – módosítják
consequently – ennek következtében
disruption – zavar, fennakadás

True or false?

1. The new subway line starts driverless operation next year.

2. The first computer operated subway line opened in Tokyo.

3. The new subway line was fully financed by the Hungarian state.

4. In contrast to the old subway lines, the new one is accessible for disabled people.

5. The new line is linked to two other Budapest subway lines.

answers: 1-T 2-F 3-F 4-T 5-T

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