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Socialists call for railway developments

The opposition Socialist Party has slammed the poor state of Hungary's rail network, decrying a lack of maintenance and investment.

Deferred maintenance over the past 15 years is estimated to total 10,000 billion forints (EUR 25.3bn), Laszlo Varga, the party’s deputy leader, told a press conference streamed on Facebook, citing obsolete infrastructure, malfunctioning safety systems, shuttered lines, out-of-date vehicles and recently introduced employment restrictions.

Last year Hungarian trains were a combined 3 million minutes late, he said.

Recently introduced cheaper regional passes were causing national railway company MAV losses in the tens of billions of forints, he said, and he called for the government to compensate the company.

The government, the Socialist politician said, was eyeing the purchase of Spain’s Talgo train manufacturer, but the Spanish government was opposed for fear of Russian circles increasing their influence.

“The Hungarian government shouldn’t get involved in such uncertain transactions but instead take immediate and meaningful steps to replace the old trains,” Varga said.

While the government “always talks about European Union funding when it comes to railway developments” they should use domestic funds before community financing becomes available, the politician insisted.

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