The CFR announcement was met with laughter by Romanians. “If the trains reduce the speed by 50 km/h we will go by 20, but in the opposite direction”

Officially, those from the CFR say that the trains run up to 50 km/h slower because of the heat wave. The CFR announcement was met with laughter by Romanians, who know that trains run very slowly anyway.

Romania has the slowest trains in Eastern Europe. PHOTO: Shutterstock

CFR Călători announced, on Sunday, June 23, that the train speed will be reduced between 30-50 km/h based on the red heat code. According to the cited source, the decision was taken because the temperature at the rail level would reach and even exceed 50-80 degrees Celsius.

The speed restrictions applied on the railway in the affected area will be maintained during the period of validity of the red and orange code of severe weather in force, the CFR also announced.

The announcement seemed hilarious, given that many passenger trains do not exceed an average of 50 km/h anyway. Cluj24 gave the example of the passengers of the IR 1835 train that left Bucharest’s North Station on Sunday, June 23 at 3:27 p.m. and who arrived in Cluj-Napoca after almost 16 hours. The quoted source recalls that the journey normally takes 14 hours, but due to speed restrictions during the heat wave, the train is running more than 100 minutes late. If the rail distance between the two cities is less than 500 kilometers, this means that the train did not exceed, on average, 30 km/h.

The CFR announcement was met with laughter by Romanians

The CFR announcement was met with laughter by netizens. On a tour group, people made fun of the fact that trains will run up to 50 km/h slower and gave the example of trains that were running at an average of 30-40 km/h. The question they asked- o people was how fast those trains run, if they will go up to 50 km/h slower.

If they reduce the speed by 30 km/h we will actually stand still. If the trains slow down by 50 km/h we will actually go by 20 km/h, but in the opposite direction“, someone joked.

I traveled 16 hours to Cluj, from Bucharest, less than 500 km. I wanted to get off and run past the train, I would have arrived faster. I don’t even know how hot it was! It was 32 degrees outside in Bucharest, and when I arrived in Cluj it was 17 degrees, it was already the next morning, but the trains were still dragging as if it were African temperatures”wrote another. “And on Iași – Bucharest, you pray for death. Air conditioning vax in 2024, slow as a cart”, replied another. “Timișoara – Bucharest is a joke. Steam trains went faster at the beginning of the last century”was another reply.

Someone else wondered why in the West high-speed trains don’t have to slow down and move at most 30-50 km/h. “I was on the TGV recently, it was very hot in France, but the train averaged over 250 km/h. Only about 10 times faster than here. Isn’t the rail of the heat train affected in them?”

Someone remembered that during the winter, when the temperatures drop, the CFR makes similar announcements and reduces the speed of the trains: “They take us for fools. In winter, how do you get past -7 or -8 degrees, they say it’s freezing and that there are problems with the lines. Now, if it’s summer, the problem is that it’s too hot. OK, physics tells us that extreme cold or heat can cause problems for the railway, but how come you don’t hear that in other countries? I went to Spain by fast train, it was over 40C, but the train was not even a minute late. Or do they make their railway and trains from other materials? Either they get carried away and find solutions, because they certainly don’t sit around waiting for the line to cool down”

Forever taxed by Romanians

It is not the first time that people make fun of CFR Călători ads. Earlier this year, CFR announced that Intercity trains could run at speeds between 160 and 200 km/h, but even then the news was dismissed on social media.

“Let’s laugh with CFR! Any resemblance of the trains to reality is purely coincidental,” joked another. A lady was just as funny: “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.”

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.

“No transport minister has been able to do anything with CFR and their trains in all these years. And there were ministers from all parties. One was more incompetent than the other, 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 even more. Not that the current minister is better than the others. Nowhere in the European Union is it like here”another netizen concluded.

The slowest trains in Eastern Europe

Without comparing the Intercity trains, the fastest in Romania, with the famous TGVs from France or similar high-speed trains from Japan or China, in other former socialist Eastern European countries things are much better.

In Poland, the 327 km between Warsaw and Gdansk are covered in two and a half hours by the fast trains and in three and a half hours by the slower ones.

In Hungary, trains on the distance Budapest – Pecs 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.

Even in Ukraine, a country that is not a member of the EU and that did not benefit from European funds like Romania, rail transport was much better, at least before the war started. Thus, a distance similar to that between Cluj and Bucharest was covered in half the time to our neighbors in the North. The best example is that of the trains connecting the capital Kyiv with Kharkiv (493 km), which needed four hours and 43 minutes. An even greater distance, Kiev – Lviv, 627 km, was covered in five hours and 15 minutes. Today, trains in Ukraine are running late, which is not surprising considering the country’s infrastructure is being massively bombed by the Russians.

Worse than in Africa

In fact, rail transport in Romania is more like that in countries like India. In recent years, countries in Africa have come to have much faster rail transport than in Romania.

If Romania can’t, doesn’t know or doesn’t want to, even though more than three decades have passed since the Revolution, an African country like Morocco could, knew and wanted. The Moroccans inaugurated the first high-speed line in 2018. On the distance of 363 kilometers connecting Tangier and Casablanca, the Moroccan TGV takes two hours and 10 minutes. On this distance, in July 2018, a test train reached a record speed (for Africa) of 357 kilometers per hour.

Two other high-speed line projects, Kenitra – Marrakech, on 386 kilometers will cost 4.5 billion euros, while the Marrakesh – Agadir line would cost 5.5 billion dollars. According to Moroccan officials, a high-speed rail line costs them less than 10 million dollars per kilometer. The first line cost two billion euros. As Morocco did not have this money, it benefited from financing from France (51%) and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the emirate of Abu Dhabi, plus Moroccan funds.

Further south, also in Africa, trains from Kenya cover a distance similar to Cluj-Bucharest, between Nairobi and Mombasa, in only four and a half hours.

The African state has invested 3.2 billion in a 472-kilometer railway that connects the capital Nairobi with the country’s southernmost large city, Mombasa. The website shows the daily schedule of the Madaraka Express train, which departs from Nairobi at 9:00 a.m. and arrives in Mombasa at 1:30 p.m.