Children’s Railway

7 04 2012

One of the legacies of the old Soviet regime still visible today in Budapest, as well as in the former USSR and many Eastern European countries, is the Children’s Railway, a railway line operated by children.  Originally established in the Soviet Union, a children’s railway served as an institution that taught teenagers about the railway profession.

The Budapest Children’s Railway was inaugurated in 1948.   Adults handle the administration and maintenance of the railway, supervision of the young railway workers, and the driving of the trains, but all other business of the railway, such as operating switches, checking tickets and controlling traffic, are handled by children aged 10-14.

Opening ceremony of the Children's Railway
July 31, 1948

Children undergo a four-month training course to become licensed railway workers.  As with adults, their license requires yearly renewal.  They can also attain officer positions, the highest being traffic manager.  Officers are distinguished by their red caps.  In order to not interfere with their regular schooling, children can only be excused to work at the railway at the request of the railway manager.

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