Does the “Budapest train” go to Budapest or is it from Budapest?
Railjet is an express, high speed modern Austrian train, and one major route is from Munich to Budapest via Salzburg and Vienna. Four years ago I travelled from Vienna to Budapest first class in just 3 hours at speeds up to 200kph. There is a story to be told with an important message.
At Vienna central station I made my way to platform 8 where I was told by two people that the Budapest train was departing at 1604. Yes, there it was up on the board. I chatted to a lady who was also going to Budapest before she went to get a coffee. Suddenly at 1555 an announcement was made, “The Budapest train is arriving on Platform 8.” That was strange – it was early.
So I boarded, and as I made my way to my allocated seat I saw from the window of my departing train that the Hungarian lady was still on the platform! Suddenly I thought – trains in Europe never depart 5 minutes early. Something was very wrong.
My heart sank as I asked a fellow traveller where the train was going. Munich! I was going the wrong way on an express train heading to Germany! This was the train FROM Budapest. As panic set in, my mind was in a daze. My fellow traveller explained that there was no problem – the train made one last stop at West Bauhnhoff station in Vienna. Get off there and get the next train in 2 hours going east back through my originating station and on to Budapest. Phew!
So I got off, changed my seat reservation, rang Budapest to tell them I’d be arriving at 9pm not 7pm, and then promptly broke the handle of my heavy suitcase on the escalator. Definitely time for a stiff drink so headed to the bar.
The train journey was fast, efficient, with good food, and at long last relaxing. The only way to go!
Lesson – never get “the Budapest train” from Vienna unless you want to go west!
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