Production Services

Railway Related Production Service

Shoot with Us in Train Stations and on Tracks

We have had countless opportunities to provide our specialist production services to shoots at railways, including action scenes for TV shows, commercials and fashion shoots. Our most action-packed production was by no doubt the one episode of Covert Affairs that we produced in one of the central historic railway stations of Budapest. This production is a great example of the possibilities that a well-planned production can be granted in Hungary since the action scenes featured firearms combat and the actors jumping among moving trains and onto the tracks from the platforms. A slightly similar project that we produced in 2018 were scenes for the Korean TV series Memories of Alhambra. The location was a Hungarian countryside station where action scenes took place, although in this case, the attackers were warriors from the past. We have also collaborated on a picturesque commercial for Nikon that featured one of Budapest’s large cast iron stations basking in the light of a stunning sunrise. During a fashion shoot for Boden, we rather focused on the visual cultural heritage of the retro elements left over from the Soviet Era.

We have had countless opportunities to provide our specialist production services to shoots at railways, including action scenes for TV shows, commercials and fashion shoots. Our most action-packed production was by no doubt the one episode of Covert Affairs that we produced in one of the central historic railway stations of Budapest. This production is a great example of the possibilities that a well-planned production can be granted in Hungary since the action scenes featured firearms combat and the actors jumping among moving trains and onto the tracks from the platforms. A slightly similar project that we produced in 2018 were scenes for the Korean TV series Memories of Alhambra. The location was a Hungarian countryside station where action scenes took place, although in this case, the attackers were warriors from the past. We have also collaborated on a picturesque commercial for Nikon that featured one of Budapest’s large cast iron stations basking in the light of a stunning sunrise. During a fashion shoot for Boden, we rather focused on the visual cultural heritage of the retro elements left over from the Soviet Era.

Our Fixer Services

Progressive Production’s decade long history of collaborating with the Hungarian Railway has led us to become internationally renowned for our railway-related services. These services that we provide are highly comprehensive, all-encompassing and essential for a successful and smooth international production on the Hungarian Railway. Our complex service is based on our experience and in-depth professional knowledge of not only film production, but also of the national railway system, enabling us to work as a fixer translating the needs and issues between both sides ensuring time and cost efficiency, as well as a flawless workflow.


A photo from our location database featuring the historic Nyugati Train Station, a favourite for international productions

The types of railway related productions’ locations include train tracks, halts, train stations and terminals of any size. There is also the possibility to shoot with the use of standing or moving carriages and train engines. We specifically aim to offer flexibility and a uniquely wide range of opportunities for shooting on these locations. We provide a location database featuring all the production opportunities that the Hungarian Railway System has to offer so that the process of finding the most ideal location for a given project is swift and straightforward.


The Hungarian Railway has also gained a deeper understanding of what productions may need due to our collaborations, making them able to grant more flexibility and possibilities for our productions in their locations than other foreign railway location

The Hungarian countryside also provides charming rural railway locations featured in our database

We have also been able to deepen our knowledge and become highly experienced in producing in railway-related locations. Also, we have established and sustained work relations with all of the important colleagues of the railway. From station master to the engine master, we are able to swiftly contact the key figure regarding any issue that may arise. Our speciality is that we are able to translate any production issues into a form that the railway system can easily understand, and vice versa of course. Collaboration with the figures of the railway is vital for the production’s safety, efficiency and to ensure a wide range of opportunities. We have experience in shooting at a large train station during peak time with full closure, using SFX such as firearms and other pyrotechnics, as well as filming with the use of large equipment.  


Introducing Hungary’s Railway System

The railway is a complex logistic system, with all of its elements are taken into consideration, ensuring an on-time and flawless flow of trains inside and travelling through the country. The Hungarian Railway has countless advantages, which is why Hungary is such a popular location internationally for shooting railway-related productions. The main administrative advantage is that the whole of Hungary’s railway system is nationalised and therefore is under the Hungarian State Railways. There is a centralised system processing permits for shooting anywhere in the country, ensuring that the terms and regulations are standardized. The second infrastructural advantage is that the railway system was extensively developed at the turn of the 20th century during the Austro-Hungarian Empire and also after the Second World War during the Soviet Era of Hungary. This lead to an expansion of a huge amount of tracks, stops and stations throughout the country, resulting in a system currently 8000 kilometres long. Since then national and international utilization of the railway system has significantly reduced on many lines, leading to many being hardly used or even closed down. The less frequently used or even disused railway sites provide ideal conditions as filming locations because they have developed infrastructures and buildings, but since they are uncrowded, so gaining permits for their use and closure is a significantly easier process.

As your fixer, we are able to utilize the advantageous traits of the Hungarian Railways’ system for it to be significantly more flexible and allowing for productions than is often the case in other countries. With the use of our local knowledge, we are dedicated to finding solutions for our productions in collaboration with the Railway. This enables a more flexible use of these locations and a broader range of possibilities regarding the use of technical equipment.


While many railways in different countries do not grant complete closures of a site and some even require the crew to grant public passengers with free movement even during the shoot, here even the prioritisation of productions over normal traffic can be arranged by us. In Hungary, we are also able to provide the possibility to organize the complete closure of parts of a station, even if the location is a historic, central and busy train station and shoot during peak hours.

We are also committed to broadening the possibilities of using certain filming equipment at railway locations, while many locations around the world have strict restrictions never permitting overhead equipment. We create the sufficient conditions to provide the necessary safety that can make the use of special equipment possible. For example, even booms and dollies can be used here in accordance with safety measures. Also, while SFX, such as the use of firearms and pyrotechnics are categorically not permitted in many places, such restrictions are a lot more flexible in Hungary and can be allowed in alignment with the safety rules and after negotiations. Therefore, we believe that if our client’s production has a specific technical need, we will find the location and the means to make it feasible.


Progressive Productions is shooting Memories of the Alhambra in the main hall of the Budapest's Keleti Station

Prepping Railway Productions

While many perceive the production of railway shoots as part of a location manager’s job, here at Progressive we see it as one of the key tasks of our producers since every aspect of a railway location has a trickle-down effect on the entire production. This is why circumspect pre-production is actually the most vital element for ensuring a successful production.


From the beginning of the collaboration, we can provide our clients with vital and in-depth information on the railway system. This combined with our knowledge of the railway radically simplifies the first rounds of communication. In the pre-production phase, we are able to save a lot of time thanks to our previous experiences. We ensure that the production is planned in consonance to its railway environment, in accordance to the Railway’s rules and regulations, our insight into the complexity and the operation of the system, as well as all its health and safety regulations.


During pre-production, it is key to making the right decisions for providing the foundations for a safe production with in-depth and multifaceted knowledge of the conditions and situations that may occur. Planning and communication with the Railway in the preproduction phase can also enable some of the art department aspects of the railway location to be altered. We also ensure that all elements of the production are fully compatible with the location, preventing any obstacles or difficult situations that may occur during the shoot.

Many hardly used countryside stations are collected in our database

The aspects of stations to be kept in mind when planning:

 
BTS of our shoot for Nikon in sunrise 

Here is an example of the complex considerations that need to take place when planning a production at a railway station. Let’s say that a shoot is to take place on the platforms of a medium-size train station. The story is set at the turn of the 20th century, therefore the architecture has to be sufficiently historic, not modern, nor renovated in a too modern fashion. Hungary has a wide range of fitting stations to choose among, but further technical issues need to be taken into consideration. The location always has to be analysed regarding overhead cables, since these can lead to prohibiting the use of any filming equipment that is to be held above one’s head, precisely no nearer than three meters of the cables. This is due to those being a serious safety hazard, resulting in even steam engines not being able to pass through. But if the project has a scene, let's say a wide establishing shot, that has to be shot with a camera crane. In this case, only such a station can come into consideration that does not have overhead cables, which also impacts the type of train engines and carriages that can be used. Therefore this is an example of how the workflow of choosing the ideal location and the compatible trains commences.

The efficient use of timing is also key for a successful production, and especially when working in collaboration with railways, since precise scheduling is vital for the coordination of the nation-wide railway system. Mindful, professional preproduction and indispensable, realistic time planning assists us to keep to the planned schedule, to which we also pay extra attention during the production. Planning in advance ensures the most reliable workflow of preproduction and production. Generally, last-minute adjustments and alterations can be harder to get accepted when it affects railways, although we are able to cater for last-minute situations as well. We do our best to ensure that our client’s needs are communicated and accepted by the railway because our knowledge makes us able to maximize both the production’s possibilities and its compatibility with the safety measures. Progressive also believes in providing the director with as many options as possible, and providing them with time and flexibility to make or alter decisions to can maximize their creative freedom for the benefit of the project.

During the Railway Shoot

A historic waiting room with a uniquely dark atmosphere of the 1950s from our database

Progressive’s services also cover all the specific aspects of the on-location production. Our services include the coordination of the crew in alignment with the special health and safety rules, the closure of railway areas and the management of moving of the trains and other vehicles. Many specific and special measures have to be made for railway locations, requiring a different type of collaboration among crew members who have to constantly act and be instructed in accordance with the site’s safety requirements. This is why we will provide full knowledge of the location, with all its possibilities of hazards and assist the heightened level of required collaboration. We also ensure good communication and work relations with the stationmaster, who is responsible for everything that happens in a station and therefore their collaboration is vital for a successful shoot.


Therefore, by our attention focusing on all of the key aspects that ensure safety and fitting with the schedule, we enable the creative team to fully concentrate on the artistic aspects of the shoot.

Our Railway Location Library

The most vital part of the preproduction is finding a location that perfectly fits the production, the art department and the project’s technical requirements. Our service aligns the requirements of the production with the railway’s system, to ensure access to the location, let that be the entire station or just a rural platform. We believe that anything is possible with sufficient planning and expertise. We always aim to bring out the most from the timeframe and the location’s technical aspects to maximize our client’s opportunities. Our team has invested years of hard work to research and scout all of the Hungarian Railway System’s potential locations. We have created a location library featuring countless train stations and track routes, with information and photographs presenting their architectural and technical traits. This library enables us to swiftly find the best location options that fit the script and to present these to our clients.

When considering which parts of the train station our production would use as their filming location, it is worth keeping the following list in mind.

The various parts of a station:

When planning our location scouts, our aim was to cover Hungary’s full range of stations. These have a large variety regarding their architectural designs and conditions, scales and characteristics, ensuring that options for any type of shoot. So our location library features both large-scale historic and socialist train stations in the Hungarian capital, but there are many also medium-sized ones in countryside towns, as well as small stations in rural areas. In Budapest, there are two famously grandiose, turn of the 20th century, cast iron train stations with vast glass roofs and beautiful architecture. The Soviet Era has also left its mark with simple geometric designs, that are often either run-down or have playful and colourful features. Train stations in the countryside offer an even more vast range of styles, conditions and sizes.

There is also diversity regarding the scenery if trains are wished to be filmed travelling on tracks. In Hungary, we are able to shoot trains not only travelling through natural landscapes but also suburban areas and urban districts too. Progressive has collected and photographed many potential backdrops, so our team can swiftly provide a collection of options, that vary from lush mountainous areas and lakeside views to barren plains and industrial scenery. Our service also provides finding the right combination of the type of trains that are compatible with specific tracks.

We have scouted countless stations with authentic interior decor left from the Soviet Era
Historic carriages can be rented for shoots

Our database also covers the Hungarian Railway’s similarly diverse stock of trains and carriages, that can be used in productions. Still functioning historic ones are provided by Hungary’s Train Museum. The choice of engines and carriages for a production has to be made partially based on what is compatible with the location. This is another reason why it is crucial for experienced producers to cover and align all aspects of the production with each other.


Firstly, the main difference between trains can occur regarding their machine, whether they are powered by electricity, via overhead cables or by diesel if they are locomotives. Although some large stations do not permit steam engines anymore, some of Budapest’s historic stations do, providing exceptional possibilities for stunning shots unlike many other cities in Europe.

Operating steam engines are available for productions

Engines and carriages can be chosen based on color, style or by historic period, which can be historic, dating from before the World Wars, retro from the Soviet Era, modern or contemporary. Additionally, its painting, stickering or interior redesign can also be managed.


Progressive’s special service focuses on assisting their international clients to be able to access the best production opportunities for their railway-related productions. Our location database enables us to provide a range of high-quality options among which our client can choose the location that is perfect for their production. As fixers, from the pre-production phase, we efficiently develop the project in alignment and in constant communication with the Railway. Thereby, we ensure the production the most opportunities these unique railway locations can offer and a smooth and safe workflow throughout the production in.

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