HUNGARIAN State Railways is being restructured so that it conforms to the regulations required for railways in member countries of the European Union. This restarts a process begun in June 1993, when MÁV was established as a share company fully owned by the state. In the same year a law was passed paving the way for separate accounting for operations and infrastructure. The legal changes also triggered the hiving off of non-core activities, with the national railway retaining an interest in some of the 103 businesses that were set up.

Further progress was delayed by an economic downturn and financial problems. In 1996 the government reached an agreement with MÁV on financial restructuring to deal with accumulated debt, but the government’s attention then switched to other matters. Not until December last year was MÁV’s reorganisation on the agenda again, when the government passed a resolution on railway reform.

This now looks set to proceed, although the rate of progress may be dictated by the strained relationships between management and staff following long strikes in February which caused further loss of freight business to road hauliers.

Speaking at the Central & Eastern European Rail 2000 conference organised by AiC Worldwide in Budapest on April 4-6, MÁV Director General M