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Miskolc: sunshine in the city of closed factories

Miskolc is a town which has to re-define itself. Before political changes, it was the second-largest town in country, with strong heavy-industry and a steelworks that evolved out of several forges around the then-separate town of Diósgyőr around 1765. All this, plus the nearby mines were at least partially closed around and after the fall of communism, leading to unemployment and impoverishment. The soot remained, but there was no work, so even the population has decreased (1985: 211 000, 2008: 172 000).

The annual Opera Festival is one of these "re-defining" shots - one that seems to work. But for the tram enthusiast, it's not the music that makes this event important, but the "Opera Festival Tram", which is Bengáli number 100, the first of this type in Miskolc. While the last cars of the type were withdrawn in 2004, this one was deleted from stock even earlier, in 1989. Fortunately it wasn't scrapped, but restored to its (almost-)original state, and is now "the" heritage tram for rental.

Here we see no. 100 approaching Tiszai pályaudvar (Tiszai railway station, the main railway station of the city), and then waiting in the outer reversing loop in front of it.

The tram looks very 1962-ish indeed :) The canvas propagates the Opera Festival.

A quick look inside (left), and the tram heading for the inner city (right).

Of course I also took a few photos of "normal" trams: the ex-Viennese E1 (left) on route 2, and the CKD Tatra KT8D5 on route 1. The Tatra on the picture to the right was one of the first samples of the type, built for Most (CZ). The KT8D5 of Miskolc were bought partly from there, and partly from Kosice (SK).

KT8D5 in the old main street (left), and somewhere between the inner city and the railway station (right).

The railway line to Bánréve and Tornanádaska has separated the Tiszai railway station from the city until the underpass seen to the right was built in 1951. Nevertheless, the railway station still seems to be an off-city limits place.

Communist-type housing areas on the left, the Selyemrét Spa on the right.

The railway station building is one of the nicest of its kind, and it's also one of the cleanest ones in the country. Maybe being located too far (=more than a short walk) from the inner city does have some advantages?

Miskolc now plans to modernise its tramway, partially through EU funds. The programme includes almost complete track renewal, low-floor vehicles, and an extension of route 1 to Felső-Majláth. I hope they will succeed, because this beautifully situated town (in the vallies of the Bükk mountain, complete with the Diósgyőr ruins, the Lillafüred Castle with the waterfalls and caves around it, the Miskolctapolca Cave Spa, etc) deserves better than its current state...

© Ákos Endre VARGA, unless stated otherwise. All rights reserved.

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