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Press release – Freight transport capacity ensured during the reconstruction of the northern part of the main railway line to Pécs

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MMV Magyar Magánvasút and Rail Cargo Hungaria concluded an agreement on operational cooperation

Budapest, December 17, 2017 The reconstruction and complete closure of the railway section between Kelenföld and Érd felső starting in February 2018 for more than a year will have a significant impact on the rail freight traffic on the railway line Budapest–Pécs and its connecting lines. The transportation demands of several strategically important companies and factories have to be satisfied in the region, therefore the railway undertakings need to approach the track closure with preparedness. MÁV has elaborated the appropriate alternative detours and solutions necessary for ensuring the track capacities needed for rail freight transport. The smooth supply of raw materials and transport of end products is also guaranteed by today's agreement of operational cooperation between Magyar Magánvasút Zrt. and Rail Cargo Hungaria Zrt.

The agreement was signed by dr. Katona László, executive director of Magyar Magánvasút Zrt. (MMV) and dr. Kovács Imre, chairman of the board of directors, CEO of Rail Cargo Hungaria Zrt. (RCH). Veszprémi László, deputy executive director for operations of MÁV Zrt. as well as representatives of the strategically important companies were present at the event organised on behalf of the signing of this agreement.
Several reconstruction projects are running or will be launched in order to modernise and sustain the appropriate state of the railway network on a long-term basis. One of those is the line number 40a, between Budapest and Pusztaszabolcs, of which the section Kelenföld and Érd felső will undergo reconstruction, which shall take 13 months according to plan. Due to the special circumstances and layout of the track the reconstruction is only possible with special equipment and complete closure. The closure has not only an impact on the passengers but also on the key companies south of Budapest in regard of the economy and energy supply of Hungary. Factories around Százhalombatta, Ercsi, Szabadegyháza, Dunaújváros, Dunaföldvár and Paks are supplied by 40-50 freight trains a day, counting with possible growth of demands.

Freight forwarders shall count with the increase of running time, lower train parameters (e.g. lower axle-load), and with more costs and resources than usual. RCH and MMV decided to conclude an agreement on operational cooperation for the optimisation of infrastructure capacities.

Dávid Ilona, chairwoman of HUNGRAIL told upon the signing of the agreement that the employees of MÁV, RCH and MMV worked together in the past months finding the appropriate alternative for freight transport on the available routes during the track closure. The domestic railway undertakings, the Ministry of National Development and the National Infrastructure Development Plc. (NIF Zrt.) did their best to serve the strategic companies and are monitoring the processes on a daily basis to ensure smooth handling. With the complete rebuilding of the tracks the allowed axle load shall increase, the speed-limitations will be eliminated, improving the competitiveness of rail freight transport.

With their cooperation RCH and MMV seek to reduce the negative consequences of the limitations of the access to tracks during the supply of the above mentioned companies by increasing the effectivity of their capacities. The two competitors shall cooperate on the operational level in the field of traction, wagon inspection, freight wagon utilisation, shunting and other services.

Dr. Katona László, executive director of MMV Zrt. stressed the importance of modern, developed railway track for all railway undertakings to use. However the high-quality service of clients is also important during the time of reconstructions. The agreement was concluded just for this reason: two key market players seek to coordinate and utilise their resources and capacities for the sake of satisfactory service of their clients.

Dr. Kovács Imre, chairman of the board of directors of RCH Zrt. expressed his appreciation for the development of the Hungarian infrastructure, for it improves the level, security and efficiency of freight transportation. The disturbance of traffic is unpleasant, but is part of the reconstruction process. Rail Cargo Hungaria does its best to reduce the disadvantages caused by the restrictions and seeks to provide high-quality services to its clients; especially for international traffic, as Hungary is a hub in Europe's east-west and north-south railroad traffics. 80% of Rail Cargo Hungaria's transports are international.

Background information:

With the below measures, coordinated technologies of infrastructure-operators and railway services the freight train traffic can be upheld. MÁV shall cooperate with the railway undertakings concerned in order to harmonise technologies and shall submit suggestions. Coordination with rail freight forwarders and shipping companies is being carried out every month starting from September 2017.

To ensure the seamless freight traffic MÁV established a separate control board coordinating the traffic of freight trains according to the information received from contact persons of railway undertakings and enterprises with large transport demands. After the beginning of the track closure in February an operational staff will organise the operation of the infrastructure network involving railway undertakings as well.

MÁV and Vpe-Rail Capacity Allocation Office have examined the passage capacities, the size of freight train traffic and the availability of resources for the expected traffic increase of the railway lines Budapest–Székesfehérvár, Pusztaszabolcs–Székesfehérvár and Székesfehérvár–Sárbogárd. MÁV has allocated several train launching tracks to avoid possible traffic disruptions.

There are maintenance works on the lines Székesfehérvár–Pusztaszabolcs and Székesfehérvár–Sárbogárd with the intention to cancel temporary speed limits, and the number of traffic personnel has also been increased. Automatized traffic flow is going to be introduced between Börgönd and Zichyújfalu to increase passage capacities of the section between these stations. On the detour section Komárom–Székesfehérvár MÁV provides continuous traffic operation.

Freight trains coming from and leaving for railway lines east of the Danube (Szob, Hidasnémeti, Záhony, Lőkösháza, Ferencváros) can run on the route Kelenföld–Székesfehérvár–Pusztaszabolcs, with diesel traction on the section Székesfehérvár– Pusztaszabolcs. On demand MÁV shall provide continuous traffic operation on the line Kiskunhalas–Baja–Dombóvár as well.

Freight trains running via station Gyékényes can use the line Gyékényes–Kaposvár–Rétszilas–Dunaújváros, with diesel traction on the section Rétszilas–Dunaújváros. Trains via Hegyeshalom and Komárom stations the use of the route Hegyeshalom–Komárom–Székesfehérvár–Pusztaszabolcs is recommended, with diesel traction between Komárom–Székesfehérvár and Székesfehérvár–Pusztaszabolcs.