The CFR announcement that caused laughter among Romanians. “It sounds weird, but it really helps. If you expect an inheritance…”

CFR Călători announced, among other things, that Intercity trains can travel at speeds between 160 and 200 km/h, which caused laughter on social networks. This is in the conditions where those from the CFR are the champions of delays, and today's trains move many times slower than the steam trains of a century ago.

The trains in Romania are the slowest in the EU. PHOTO Shutterstock

CFR Călători reintroduced, after an eight-year break, Intercity trains, and from this year 16 sets will be made available to travelers on the routes on which the speed and technical conditions of the railway infrastructure allow the circulation of this category of train.

After a break of 8 years, in the 2022/2023 train schedule, the Intercity service was reintroduced on the routes on which the speed and technical conditions of the railway infrastructure allowed the circulation of this category of train. Thus, a number of 12 trains were designed for circulation in 2023, on the routes: Bucharest North – Cluj-Napoca and return; Bucharest North – Constanta and return; Braşov – Constanta and return; Bucharest North – Suceava and return; Bucharest North – Paşcani – Iasi and return; Bucharest North – Teiuş – Arad and return”, it is stated in a company statement.

CFR representatives also announced that they recently introduced two other new connections: Bucharest North – Galați and return and Bucharest North – Bacău – Piatra Neamț and return, and in the future, when the technical conditions of the railway infrastructure allow, they intend to introduce this service also on other traffic routes.

How are the neighbors?

Last but not least, the press release states that “the wagons are suitable for circulation with a maximum speed of 160 km/h and some of them even 200 km/h.”

The ad made many people laugh, and people contradict the representatives of the CFR. For example, the Intercity Bucharest – Cluj train covers the approximately 490 kilometers (by rail) between the two cities in eight hours and 40 minutes, which means an average of about 55 kilometers per hour. But this is only in theory, on paper. In reality, most of the time that train is late, just like all the other trains connecting the two cities. For example, in the 1980s Intercity trains covered the same distance in about seven hours.

Without comparing the Intercity trains, the fastest in Romania, with the famous TGVs from France or similar trains from Japan or China, our neighbors are infinitely better off. According to Hotnews, in Ukraine, before the war began, a distance similar to that between Cluj and Bucharest was covered in half the time. Thus, from the trains connecting the capital Kyiv to Kharkiv (493 km) they needed four hours and 43 minutes. An even greater distance, Kiev – Lviv, 627 km, was covered in five hours and 15 minutes. In Hungary, today, Budapest – Pecs trains cover the 237 km in two hours and 47 minutes. And the Bulgarians are much better off than us: a journey by train Sofia – Varna, over a distance of 540 km, takes five and a half hours.

“Let's laugh with CFR”

Not by chance, CFR Călători announcements were met with ironies and jokes on a group for travelers on Facebook.

The CFR boasts of Intercity trains, but does not say what kind of Intercity this is. I periodically go to my girlfriend's place in Cluj with this train and I do about 10 hours on average. It's for nothing that he only stops at three stations if he goes about 40 per hour and spends more time in the fields. I went to France by train between Paris and Lyon, 400 kilometers, in two hours, and the ticket, admittedly caught on offer, was cheaper than for Bucharest – Cluj”someone noticed.

“Let's laugh with CFR! Any resemblance of the trains to reality is purely coincidental”, joked another. Equally funny was a lady: “A friend met a boy online and decided to go to him, in Cluj, after he invited her. Except he got his hair cut shortly before he left and sent a picture to his partner. When she arrived in Cluj, the boy was waiting for her, but he didn't recognize her, the girl already had long hair.”

“When you are in session, you can learn all the subject, when you arrived in Cluj you are already a grade 10”, one student commented. “It sounds weird, but it really helps. If you are waiting for an inheritance, when you arrive at your destination you come into possession of it”, someone else laughed. “You can jog by the train in the morning, the next day, after you leave Bucharest in the evening. The idea is not to rush because you leave the train too far behind”, it was another irony.

“It was a nightmare”

“I also took the train twice, going back and forth between Bucharest and Cluj, but I will never do that again. I am cured, I will not get on a train in Romania again as long as I live. The first time I did about 11 hours, the second time even more. In this country, the train is a bad joke”another netizen commented.

I took the night train from Bucharest to Cluj and it was a nightmare. Full, miserable train, unsanitary and flooded toilets, cold. I had been in the summer before, then you were baking in the carriages because the air conditioning didn't work and the windows were blocked so they couldn't be opened. From now on, on occasion, by bus or only by plane over such a distance”someone else wrote.

No Minister of Transport has been able to do anything about CFR and their trains in all these years. And there were ministers from all parties. One was more incompetent than another, one used a crowbar through the subway like miners, another said we don't need highways, and others you don't even remember because there were more. Not that the current minister is better than the others. Nowhere in the European Union is it like here”, someone else noticed.

However, there were also voices of a completely different opinion. “I went by train from Bucharest to Cluj and it was decent. It's more eco-friendly to go by train and it's even safer than by car. You just need a little patience, for now the conditions are not great, but it's not as bad as some people say here”, someone said.

He wasn't the only one. “In civilized Europe, air travel over distances of less than 500 kilometers is stopped, only trains are used. That's how it is in France already, the TGV goes as fast as the plane, so will the Italians, who also have fast trains. That's what they should do here too, the revenue would increase and the money obtained from the tickets would be invested in the infrastructure and we would have really fast trains”, said another. The two were immediately contradicted.

Go by train if you have so much time to waste.”In France, the motherland, TGVs are running, but you may not know that we have trains that travel at 30 km/h. So with us you have no choice” and “It's not decent at all. It smells, it's dirty and it crawls like a turtle”there were only a few reactions.