On the outskirts of Budapest sits a vast area that is occupied by abandoned locomotives and railway cars. This place is known as the Red Star Train Graveyard, originally called Istvántelek.
In the first few years of the 20th century, this depot was built as a repair complex for the national railway. One of the workshop halls measures 24,000 square meters (28,704 square yards) and was actually Budapest’s largest building in 1902.
The depot was busy during its lifetime. As well as servicing active trains, older wagons and locomotives were brought there for repair or restoration before being sent on to the Budapest Railway Museum.
But WWII and steam trains becoming obsolete took a heavy toll on the depot, and the site was gradually abandoned, although the southern part is still used for repairing modern trains. It appears that many of the locomotives earmarked for the museum were just left where they stood, possibly due to a lack of funds.
The collection of dilapidated trains is quite varied and can prove fascinating for those interested in trains. The site comprises two large depots, a few smaller sheds, and then a wide-open area where trains are left at the mercy of the elements.
At this site alone, visitors can see more than 100 locomotives and railway carriages. The Red Star Train Graveyard includes rare Hungarian MAV 424 steam engines, German freight cars, and Soviet cars from the 1960s.
Inside some of the newer carriages, intrepid explorers can find old train tickets. A couple of the Hungarian steam engines have a red star on the front, which is how the place got its name among the locals.
In addition, one of the trains left on the site is a MAV 301 engine, one of only a few still in existence. According to rumors, there is a strong possibility that some of the German freight cars stored there were ones used to transport Hungarian Jews during the German National Socialist occupation of World War II.
Over time, the Red Star Train Graveyard has become overgrown by plants and the trains have succumbed to rust, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a unique local attraction. The place is a draw not only for those who are fond of abandoned places but also people who are interested in trains and history.
In addition to the abandoned trains, there is also some fascinating railway architecture as well as viewing towers made of brick and wood together with painted signs positioned along the length of the station.
However, it should be noted that because the southern end of the site is still in use, trespassers can easily be identified. There is also a barbed wire fence to navigate around the perimeter.
It was reported in the summer of 2017 that access to the site was made even more difficult after guards and dogs were added to the security measures. But entry is still possible if you have the relevant documents with you.
The amazing photos of the abandoned train yard in Hungary were taken by Laurie Mitchell for her urban blog, My Radiant City. Laurie has been traveling around the world for four years.
Laurie’s blog focuses on living car-free, documenting historical events, preserving historic buildings, and creating livable communities for everyone. You should visit her beautiful website to see more of her work.
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