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The first woman in the world whose portrait decorates on a locomotive. It was none other than Queen Elisabeth, the Austrian Empress.

(Elisabeth Amalie Eugenia von Wittelsbach, (Sisi, was her nickname for Elisabeth) was already a legend in her lifetime. Through her marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph I of Habsburg, she became Empress of Austria and only a few years later she was crowned  as the Queen of Hungary. The unconventional Elisabeth was especially fond of horseback riding and traveling.
After a century of her death, Sisi’s hold on the popular imagination remains undiminished.  The life of the Austrian Empress and Queen of Hungary ended in 1898. Her death was tragic; murdered on a city street at the age of 61.)
But Sisi’s legend lives on-and-on just like Princess Diana’s who both are often brought together with their personalities and efforts in their lifetime.
To-day was another distinguished day in memorial of Sisi. 
The GYSEV Inc. (Győr – Sopron – Ebenfurt Railway Inc.) wished to pay their tribute to her by having  her portrait on the “Taurus” locomotive.
Next year will be Hungary’s Queen Elisabeth’s 175th birthday.

Around midday the press and media representatives where called to Gödöllő to be present at the ceremony.The press gathering was opened by invited V.I.P. guest, who added some thoughts to this unique ceremony.

GYSEV, now has a tradition of keeping up  annually decorating their running locomotives with famous individuals faces. The past 3 years were: Haydn, in 2008, István Széchenyi, in 2009, and Ferenc Liszt, in 2010.

Mr. Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister Opened the press conference by saying: “This is the Austrian- Hungarian railway company’s fourth consecutive year. During the past year’s by an excellent choice there were chosen famous Hungarian personalities portrait on these train that were connected to that year’s anniversary.

Mr. Pál Völner, State Secretary for Infrastructure at the National Development Ministry said the following: “The railway company wouldn’t have had found a better person to fit in our latest theme of the locomotives than Queen Elisabeth. The queen spent a lot of time at Gödöllő. She received the castle as a coronation gift and was fond to travel by train. During these times was built the integrated national railways. It isn’t a coincidence that the Queen Elisabeth’s portrait decorates, stands on a modern locomotive and the ceremony is at Gödöllő, in front of the railway station’s royal waiting room.

Grand Duke George Austrian Habsburg, expressed his thanks in the name of his family by saying the known quote of his father: “In these difficult times,  you should rely and be optimistic in the future history. Also thanked to have decorated in memory the locomotive to Sisi, the Hungarian Queen.

Ms.  Ilona Dávid, President and CEO – GYSEV Inc. The thematic locomotives are trademarks of our railway. Our company is proud of the Sisi-locomotive, we would like to pay tribute to our queen that was blessed with an excellent diplomatic sense.

After the opening ceremony came the main attraction,  upon the cut of the national ribbon came pull-off the covering veil by the V.I.P. guests from the Taurus locomotive. The V.I.P.’s received a piece of stripe as a souvenir. By this act the locomotive had been inaugurated and from now on it will be rolling on near and far route.

In Hungary many buildings and institutions are named after Sisi.

Update and snaps by Aggie Reiter

14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Chris on 14/12/2011 at 09:46

    I have noticed, through reading the regular reports from this reporter that, it seems to me anyway, many countries could/ should learn from the Hungarian way of honouring their history and maintaining traditions from long past….So easily we are prone to forgetting our national pride in an effort to stay alongside other nations who are hellbent on being progressive and viewed that way globally…there should be a happy medium where we can move forward but at the same have an undying appreciation of those who went ahead before us leaving the imprints of their foresight to be maintained and celebrated forever…Thank You for outlining how things are done in your wonderful country.

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