BUD-BTS CD/ZSSK/MAV Metropolitan – 2nd Class

Operator: CD/ZSSK/MAV

Headcode: EC272

Route:    Budapest – Bratislava

Class:    2nd

Seat:     C370 S65

Date:     Thursday 6th January 2022

After less than 36 hours in the Hungarian capital and a day of aviation geekery that didn’t quite go to plan (read those blogs here & here), I was back at Nyugati station ready to take the second international train of the trip, the Metropolitan from Budapest to Bratislava in 2nd class.

Škoda locomotive 380 008-9

As with most of the international trains departing from Nyugati station, the Budapest-Bratislava-Prague services depart from the low numbered platforms (1-9) on the northern side of the station, with my service starting from platform 6. These Budapest-Bratislava-Prague services are jointly operated by the Hungarian, Slovakian and Czech national railways, with the crews changing over at stations close to the borders.

Whilst the crews change over enroute, the locomotive and carriages forming the services are generally those belonging to České dráhy (Czech railways), with my service being formed of six carriages (one 1st class, one restaurant car and four 2nd class) hauled by a Škoda electric locomotive. 380 008-9 was our locomotive and would take the service all the way through to Prague.

A 2nd class compartment

Three of the 2nd class carriages (and most of the fourth) were compartment carriages made up of a corridor on one side of the carriage and compartments with six seats on the other side. These compartments have individual lighting and temperature control however there are limited tables. The remainder of the fourth 2nd class carriage had a more open plan seating area with bays of six, along with the accessible area and bicycle storage. My reserved seat was in this open plan section, which was about half full for most of the journey.

Having been able to board about 20-minutes before departure, I was able to get myself settled for the journey of just under two and a half hours to Bratislava. We departed Budapest right on time, however got signalled behind a local service, meaning that by the time we reached our first stop, the Hungarian town of Vac, we were running about 10 minutes late.

The open plan section with two bays of six and larger tables

As this was essentially the reverse of the final stretch of my journey on the Metropol sleeper (read about that here), we were once again following the river Danube with the railway not venturing far from what had become the north bank beyond Vac. Thankfully, unlike the sleeper, I was able to see the Danube from my seat, and despite having crossed it numerous times whilst in Budapest, I was shocked at the scale of it.

Having departed Budapest at 1540, the light was starting to fade as we headed towards the Slovakian border. Quick stops at Nagymaros-Visegrad and the border town of Szob meant that by the time we reached the first stop in Slovakia, Štúrovo, we were back on time. Štúrovo also seemed to be the location where the Hungarian and Slovakian crews change over and, although it may be completely unrelated, automated announcements started.

Sunset over the Danube

Also at Štúrovo was a large freight yard, presumably the location where services swap from having Slovakian locomotives to Hungarian and vice a versa, with us passing trains carrying a wide range of freight as we departed the border town. The final stop before Bratislava was Nové Zámky and as we departed I decided to head one carriage up to the dining car, with the intention of having a meal before I left the train.

Unfortunately, due to the failure of the card machine and my failure to carry cash in any of the three currencies they accepted onboard, this plan failed miserably and I was soon heading back to my seat for the final part of the journey. Not being able to get a meal was really disappointing as having had a couple minutes to look at the menu, some of the choices looked delicious! With darkness having fallen there was very little to see out the window other than the odd small Slovakian town and we were soon passing through the outskirts of Bratislava ahead of our arrival into Bratislava Hlavna station.

Some of the seating in the Dining Car

The journey from Budapest to Bratislava on the Metropolitan (or the services with other names) is definitely the best way to get between the two capitals. With trains departing every two hours throughout the day and taking less than two and a half hours, it takes slightly longer than by road but without any of the stress. With being able to get a meal onboard (or not in my case), watch the world go by and the comfy seats (even in 2nd class) its certainly a more comfortable way to travel.

Lounge              0*

Seat/Facilities     4*

Food                0*

Service             4*

Punctuality         5*

Overall Rating      11/25 (read about my rating system here!)

2 thoughts on “BUD-BTS CD/ZSSK/MAV Metropolitan – 2nd Class

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