Children’s Railway in the Budapest Mountains
Buda side of Budapest is always mentioned as the green belt of the capital in every guide because of the mountains, and because there are fewer famous historical sights here.
One thing you do find here is the Children’s Railway, which, in contrast to its’ name, is not only for children!
This railway is one of Budapest public transportation sights, crossing the nicest part of two districts (2 and12) while winding through valleys and between green walls on a narrow track. The whole duration of the journey is 50 minutes, and the end stop is on the top of Széchényi Hill, where you can enjoy a nice view.
The railway is “run” by children, they sell and validate the tickets and they give out guidebooks about Budapest and other needed information. Of course their work is always supervised by adults, but during the work they learn how to act respectfully, how to deal with money and how to feel responsible for the passengers.
It may sound strange, but the railway was built for the sole reason of propaganda during the Socialist era. It carried out a significant pedagogical role: to prepare children for active and creative work by training them to be recruits for the national railways. Only the best children could take part in it, at the age of 10-14, and before entering the service, they had to undergo serious exams.
By now of course this role has disappeared, but the railway and the children stayed, with their serious smiles on their faces – it is really a unique experience.
One of the stations that needs to be highlighted is Janos-hegy where, after a short walk in the forest, you can find the best view of the capital from the picturesque tower named after Queen Elisabeth, Sissi.