New Western Railway Terminal at Rákosrendező
Relocating the Western Railway Terminal from the inner city was a widely debated concept in the early 20th century. The development of the metropolis entailed an increase in the value of the immense railway area reaching deep in the heart of the city, reaching as far as the line of the Grand Boulevard, while the terminal’s capacity could not be further increased on this site.
The usual pros and cons were already voiced in the debate: the location further out of the city centre would be less easily accessible for passengers but there is no justification for having for warehouses, rail yards and loading facilities taking up half of the district in the middle of the city. Also, the fact that the railway line separated parts of the city was an additional source of complications.
In 1902, Szilárd Zielinski proposed relocating most of the railway functions requiring large areas to a new Northern Railway Terminal. In the very same year, an architectural design competition called for designs for a 12-track passenger railway station with Rákosrendező as its likely imaginary site.
Between 1901 and 1904, MÁV began relocating the functions that were causing most inconvenience. The coal yard and the running shed were moved to the Northern Freight Yard after 1908. The building complex of the Northern Running Shed constructed on the site is currently home to the Hungarian Railway History Park. Technical counsellor Ferenc Devecis prepared the plan for relocating the Western Railway Terminal from the city centre. It was approved by the government and the acquisition of land got under way. During the planning for the new central railway terminal in 1912, only four tracks and the railway station building of the Western Railway Terminal were expected to remain in place.
However, the planning was interrupted by the outbreak of the Great War. Moving the Western Railway Terminal up north, or even its conversion into a main railway terminal, kept cropping up from time to time, but without any real chance of being implemented, as today the greatest value is the very fact that the railway actually reaches the Grand Boulevard and a metro station.
“Anyone who has seen the neighbourhood even only once will not be surprised to hear that the Western Railway Terminal is like an artificial barricade dividing two rapidly developing and densely populated districts, Leopold and Theresa Towns, and that these two urban areas can never grow together as long as the Western Railway Terminal is on its current site.”
An article from the periodical Budapesti Napló from 1900 arguing for the need to move the Western Railway Terminal out of the city centre.
(1) The construction of the Northern Running Shed in 1911: with the construction of the coal yard and a new running shed, the most disruptive functions of the Western Railway Terminal were moved out of the city centre.
(2) An aerial photo taken of Rákosrendező in 1944 shows that rail network nearly of the size of a major terminal was available at that time.
(3) Architect József Vágó still contemplated the idea of relocating the Western Railway Terminal further out of the city and the construction of a new railway terminal even between the two World Wars. The photo of his plaster model appearing in 1938 in the daily Friss Újság shows that the façade of the new railway station would have faced the avenue running along the route of Ferdinand Bridge that was to be demolished. Realising that the plan would have freed up a substantial area occupied by the railways for urban development behind Eiffel Hall.