If Children Can do It, So Can We!

An interesting article about Hungary’s “Children’s Railway”.

Light reading for the weekend.

The Rail Line Operated By Children.

By Mike MacEacheran, BBC

5 May 2017

With its shelves lined with worn textbooks and corridors plastered with drawings, noisy Gyermekvasútas Otthon on the western outskirts of Budapest seems like any normal school before the bell rings. Peer through the windows and you may see muss-haired children sitting on desks, teasing friends, toying with mobile phones or doodling in jotters as they wait for the day to begin.

But look closer and you’ll notice something odd. Those textbook subjects aren’t algebra or English. Instead they bear the stamp of MÁV START Zrt, the Hungarian State Railways. By the whiteboard, past the teacher’s desk, a cartoon poster reveals the detailed safety procedure for what to do when a deer ‒ or more commonly a hedgehog ‒ strays onto the tracks and into harm’s way. Next to it is a blueprint for the inner workings of the ultimate big toy: a locomotive engine.

Located in the suburbs at the end of the Hűvösvölgy tram line – one of 10 metro and suburban lines in Budapest ‒ Gyermekvasútas Otthon isn’t a learned place of academia. It’s an extracurricular training ground for the 11.7km Gyermekvasút, or Train Line 7. Travelling at 20kmh over the contours of the Buda Hills to Széchenyi Hill on the forested outskirts of the city, this tram line is one of the longest and fastest of its kind in the world. And it’s entirely run by children.

For the rest of the story, please click for link


3 Responses to “If Children Can do It, So Can We!”
  1. Haveacow says:

    Wow, although I see heads at insurance agencies the world over exploding! Bravo! Talk about really good and highly dependable but cheap labor. I would hazard a guess that, line #7 is probably the most efficiently run line on their system.

  2. eric chris says:

    I always suspected that there isn’t much to running public transit, kid stuff. It sure would be a great character building experience and a fantastic practical education for kids to run trams in Vancouver.

    Well, maybe the $173K to $360K annual salaried idiots who spend their days “planning” and not actually doing any work at TransLink might not be so enthused. Hey, I know; fire them. Just do it.


    It isn’t like anyone at TransLink can operate trains like the kids in Budapest or do anything else of value. I’ll let you in on a big secret: everyone at TransLink is killing time in fake jobs to collect a gold plated pension.

  3. Haveacow says:

    Guys, keep in mind the kids don’t drive the trains, maintain the rail vehicles or the right of way. All the heavy work is still done by adults of legal age. In fact, that looks like very ancient and smaller non standard gauge railway equipment. I don’t think the kids would be there if it were higher tech modern equipment. Most, although not all, of the jobs the kids are doing would be done by machines and computers today on a modern LRT or railway line.

    That being said, if you give young people a very strict series of rules and a highly specific operating system, its amazing what can be done by children and teenagers. If I were them I would expand the kid workforce by including them in the maintenance of the vehicles as apprentice mechanics and machinists. Those older rail vehicles probably require the operator to make a fair percentage of there own spare parts anyway, so here is another way to “train” young people in the industrial sciences. Why not add kids to the track crews if possible. I say if possible because much of the rail right of way maintenance equipment, tools and supplies require people who are not intimidated by things that are very heavy.

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