The Moszkva Tér Tram Junction
past and present

Track plan in 1952

Track plan in 1981

Track plan in 1998

(The Square was first named Széll Kálmán Tér in 1929 and then in 1951 became Moszkva Tér. Prior to 1929 it was an unnamed piece of common land)

At the construction of the Budapest Tram system, Moszkva Tér (square) was just the foundation ditch of an abandoned Brick Factory, It was also used as a Tennis Court and Ice Rink. As the ditch ended in a gradient, the tram tracks were skewed around the site of the current tram junction, having a ‘delta’ and turning circle at the junction of Krisztina Körút and Szilágyi Erzsébet Fasor, much smaller than the present day version.

Moszkva Tér was handed over in 1942, on December the 26th, during the Second World War. At the beginning of the century, goods trains had used the so-called Jobbparti (Right-bank) circle line between Déli Palyaudvar (Southern Mainline station), passing near Pálffy (Bem) tér to Óbuda Station, connecting with both Tramway and HÉV services along the way, using steam haulage. In the 30’s it was taken out of use. but during the Second World War plans were made, that should the Northern Danube Train Bridge be lost, all vital supplies be sent via this route. During the same period, due to a rubber shortage, heavy restrictions were placed on all road traffic and the trams were heavily burdened with an upsurge in passengers. To simplify track alignments and help to maintain head ways, a large terminus was also built in North Buda, where trams could turn around a large turning circle; additional to this, trams passing through were guaranteed unblocked passage. With the threat of possible goods traffic, the line between Széna Tér and Krisztina Körút was adapted so as both forms of rail traffic could use it. It was at this time that the tunnel was created.

After the war, goods traffic did pass through here, for example, Coal from Dorogi was brought into the Capital, but the Kisrókusz utca GANZ factory also used these lines right up until recently. With some small changes, the square stayed the same up until 1990, by which time the turning and passing loops had fallen into disuse due to the double-ended nature of the Trams and the junction was rebuilt to a simplified format.

Moszkva tér 1.

The junction of Retek Utca and Krisztina Körút in the 1930’s. At weekends, the Budapest citizen would go on excursions. They would go to the stop at Retek Utca and catch an 83 (with trailer) to Hüvösvölgy, or an 81 (Single unit) to Zugliget (If they could fit on)

Moszkva tér 2.

During the war, all available tramcars were pressed into service. The petrol-powered trams (railcars) to the right of the picture were pushed into service after being adapted as trailers. These trams ended up in Szombathely, on its 1000mm gauge tramway.

Moszkva tér 4.

The 3600 trams (‘Stuka’s) were delivered during the war. These trams were similar in both bodywork and mechanical capabilities to the UV types, but were only run as single units or with a trailer. One of these trams can be seen on the right of the picture.

Moszkva tér 15.

3600 series trams on the tunnel incline, probably in the 40’s

Moszkva tér 16.

This picture from the end of the 40’s shows one of the then recently delivered 5800 series trailers being pulled by a 1000 series Motor unit on route 6

Moszkva tér 3.

A no. 6 tram is just starting off at the bottom of this photo from the 50’s. A four-wheel Motor unit is towing two ‘Gy?ri’ trailers. These trailers were acquired during and after the war, but are still operational today, after fitment with sliding powered doors as trailers to UV type motor units, the trailers being in the 5800-5900 series.

Moszkva tér 17.

UV types were introduced to route 6 in the 50’s, though at first only as two-car units. One of these units has just reached Széna Tér. A manual point-handle can also be seen; the points, due to their railway traffic were set with joists under the pavement.

Moszkva tér 18.

A sunny sunday morning in 1957

Moszkva tér 6.

The straight passing-through tracks are interesting, in that, due to their use for railway traffic, the tracks are of the wider flange variety, as is neccesary for main-line use. This is apparent today as well, between Déli Pályaudvar and Moszkva Tér and between Széna Tér and Kisrókusz utca.

Moszkva tér 5.

In this picture from the 1960’s, 22 trams and 19 buses are present.

Moszkva tér 7.

At first, UV types ran as two-car units, but after extensive tests with trailers, the three-car units were introduced to route 6. However, as the conversion of the trailers was being done as quickly as possible, only the most neccesary items of equipment were fitted to them to start with. For instance, powered, cab-operated doors were not fitted to many such cars, the reason why the doors on the nearest Unit’s trailer are open.

Moszkva tér 8.

This tram is the experimental version of the Ganz ‘Ipari’ type, which worked route 44 in the 60’s. The 44 route ran from Moszkva Tér to Zugló, Rákospatak. The experimental car differed from the production cars with its swept back windscreen and smaller windows on the doors.

Moszkva tér 9.

The UV and 1000 series trams, which are described in greater detail on our web site, are visible on this picture. The last 1000 types spent their last years on routes 56,58 and 59 as these cars were uniquely fitted with equipment for hilly routes. For example, they were fitted with an anti-rollback system, which prevented the car from rolling away when no brakes were applied, ie. when the driver left the cab.

Moszkva tér 10.

In the 60’s, the Bus station was on the site of where todays sidings are. On the buses at this time, seated conductors were used, therefore passengers were only allowed to board through the
rear set of doors, where the conductor was.

Moszkva tér 19.
At the terminal point for routes 4 and 6, between the boarding/alighting area, two sidings were available, alongside Várfok utca. The sidings alongside the embankment wall, though rarely used, still exist, also being used for overtaking purposes.
Moszkva tér 20.

Until the GANZ factory moved from it’s Margit Körút premises, the square carried considerable goods traffic.

Moszkva tér 11.

By 1972 the Metró Station building had been completed. Because of this, the turning circle for the Hüvösvölgy routes (56 and 58) had to be rebuilt to a tighter format.

Moszkva tér 12.

UV types served the Nagykörút (Grand Boulevard) until 1972, after which came coupled Ganz ‘Ipari’ sets. On the picture, a number 4 has got a start signal, meaning the 18 about to turn has to wait.

Moszkva tér 13.

TATRA T5C5 trams arrived in the 80’s and one of their first routes was the 59, but soon after they were also placed into service on routes 18 and 61

Moszkva tér 14.

In 1990 the square was changed, the complex of points and turning circles for both Körút and Mid-Buda routes were removed. At the new terminus for routes 4 and 6 stand a ‘normal’ number 6 and one of a more vintage variety

Written and pictures by Németh Zoltán Ádám and Székács András

Translated by Jimmy.