The renovated Lehel tér and Nagyvárad tér stations of metro line 3 were inaugurated on Monday morning and will be open to passengers in the early afternoon. The five-and-a-half-year reconstruction of the metro line is now complete.
Speaking at the opening of the last of the renewed stations at the final event of the reconstruction of metro line 3, at the Nagyvárad tér station, Land Development Minister Tibor Navracsics said that the project is important not only for Budapest and Hungary, but also for the European Union as well. With the reconstruction, the cooperation between the government, the capital and the EU has taken tangible shape, he said, adding that he hoped that more such cooperation could be established in the future, when EU funds arrive.
The minister said that the cooperation that had been achieved was a good example of how, "when it comes to really important things, although political noise can accompany cooperation, and can sometimes hinder it, it cannot ultimately thwart it".
Tibor Navracsics stressed that Budapest's transport, "the position and location of the capital", is crucial for the whole country. Not only in economic and cultural terms, but also in terms of everyday life. Virtually every second Hungarian "encounters Budapest in some form of daily activity", he added.
Mayor Gergely Karácsony thanked the government, the EU, the people involved in the project and the patience of the people traveling in Budapest. He said the reconstruction of the metro line was a big challenge for the city, but he hoped that when people use the renewed, accessible metro, they will think it was worth it.
The project could not have been completed without government support, the mayor said, adding that "here too I would like to urge the Hungarian government to settle its disputes with the European Union so that the funds can arrive in Hungary".
Gergely Karácsony dedicated the renovated metro primarily to the children born during the reconstruction, because, as he said, "ultimately, we are doing all this for them".
The world that surrounds us is clearly unsustainable, and if we want to build a new city, a new homeland, a new Europe, it cannot be exactly the same as the old one, the Mayor said, stressing that this often requires courage and public debate on how the city can function and be greener.
Tibor Bolla, CEO of BKV Zrt., stressed that one of the most modern metro lines in Europe is being inaugurated. During the project, the tracks have been renovated, 40,000 square metres of paving have been laid, and the length of the power lines laid is long enough to reach as far as Barcelona. In addition, inclined elevators have been installed for the first time in Hungary and the entire metro line is barrier-free, he said.
Tibor Bolla said that during the five-and-a-half years of the reconstruction, work had not stopped for a single day and 3,500 people had worked on the project. The metro replacement buses covered 22 million kilometres during the reconstruction, he noted.
Katalin Walter, CEO of BKK Zrt., said metro line 3 is the busiest railway line in the country, carrying more than half a million passengers a day.
The development and operation of a sustainable public transport system cannot be achieved without repairing the infrastructure, she stressed.
Agnès Monfret, Head of Unit at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, said that the renovation of metro line 3 was the largest project ever to receive EU funding under the 2014-2020 Cohesion Programme.
The EU supported the reconstruction not only because "the blue metro line is green", but also because it modernised, made the metro safer, faster and more user-friendly, she said.
With the inauguration ceremony of the Nagyvárad tér and Lehel tér stations on Monday morning, the reconstruction of metro line 3 is over, with trains running on the entire line from early afternoon and stopping at all stations accessible for everyone.
The three-phase works started on 6 November 2017 with the closure of the northern section (between Újpest-központ and Dózsa György út stations), which was reopened to passengers on 30 March 2019. Renovation of the southern section (between Népliget – Kőbánya-Kispest stations) took place from 6 April 2019 to 22 October 2020. In parallel, the reconstruction of the middle section (between Lehel tér and Nagyvárad tér stations) started in March 2020 at Arany János utca and Ferenciek tere stations.
Monday's inauguration of the Nagyvárad tér and Lehel tér stations, which play a key role as a turning station, also marks the completion of works affecting passenger traffic.
The reconstruction of metro line 3 cost HUF 225 billion. According to BKV's press release, the total amount of eligible funding to the EU is HUF 172.7 billion, while the domestic co-financing is HUF 44.7 billion. The capital's municipality contributed HUF 7.1 billion.
To see the photo gallery of the event, click HERE.
Photos by Mihály Nagy/magyarepitok.hu