In Budapest, the millennium underground railway, the first underground tram on the continent, was launched on May 2, 1896. Even Franz Joseph I of Austria took a trip on the underground tram constructed for the opening of the monumental, millennial exhibition spanning across Hungary.
In the course of its construction, state-of-the-art solutions in architecture were used, including industrial reinforced concrete technology. An automated, mechanical security equipment, used on the railway, prevented the cars from colliding. Undergoing several refurbishments, the original cars had remained in use for 77 years until the railway was upgraded in 1973, which had been unprecedented before in the world. Widely known as the Kisföldalatti ('small underground'), the underground railway was added to the list of world heritage sites in 2002 alongside Andrássy Aveneue.
Built between 1894 to 1896, the Millennium Underground Railway was the first underground line on the European mainland and the world’s first low-floor tram. This railway line was one of the main architectural features of the Hungarian capital celebrating one thousand years of the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin.
Originally, the line ran from Vörösmarty Square (in downtown) to the City Park underneath Andrássy Avenue, the original terminus being the Zoo, with eleven stations (nine under the ground and two above). The original length of the line was 3.7 kilometers, extended in 1973 to the present 4.4 kilometers to Mexikói út as terminus.
The world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) named the Budapest Millennium Underground line in 2020 as one of the technical milestones of the world.
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