A steam locomotive at the Eiffel Art Studios

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Although the details of the idea changed over time, one thing was certain from the very outset of the project: the Eiffel Art Studios was to pay homage to the building’s past rooted in railway history, using a steam locomotive to remind visitors of the works that had once been carried out in the workshop. And even if it is just a single locomotive...

327.141: this is the magic number worth remembering, as that is the number of the locomotive in the hall. Series 327 locomotives were manufactured for barely two years (from 1911 to 1912), with 130 examples of this fast and light type. Number 141, originally registered as 327.016, is a real war refugee that returned home from Yugoslavia in 1941 and changed its name so the repatriation committee wouldn’t be able to find it if we lost the war. And the plan succeeded: the locomotive remained Hungarian! After 57 years of service, it was retired, or rather scrapped, on 4 November 1969. The Opera has saved the locomotive and the coal-car (or tender) from destruction: the locomotive’s condition has been protected and missing parts have been replaced, but it hasn't be repainted and will be left in a state reflecting disrepair, but only slightly, to show the passing of time.

The locomotive is naturally accompanied by a rail car: number 327.141 is hauling a dining car with a wooden chassis, which is protected as a historical monument. The car, made of teak wood, will be used as Eiffel Art Studios’ buffet. The car has naturally been spruced up, with oak used to replace any missing pieces. Based on an agreement between the builder Strabag and the experts at MÁV [Hungarian State Railway] Nostalgia, the locomotive, which was already on display at the 2017 season opener, and the dining car are located in the hall. The plans required that they took their places in the first section of construction, as the existing rails were removed with the scheduled demolition.

There was also another locomotive at Istvántelek, steam locomotive 301.006 from series 301, which is one of the only two of the 22 examples in total that survived the 20th century. (For example, number 001 met its demise thanks to the tragic derailment orchestrated by Szilveszter Matuska.) This locomotive had been promised a leisurely life at the Art Studios. Neither the locomotive nor its fans have any reason to worry: this wonderful example of engineering has also been moved to Kőbánya, where it will reside in the enormous park around the hall.