The rain-soaked migrants, many of them refugees from Syria’s civil war, were whisked by train and shuttle bus to Vienna, where authorities arranged for thousands to head straight on to Germany.
According to Reuters, German police said the first 1,000 of up to 10,000 migrants expected on Saturday had arrived on special trains in Munich.
“A Horrible Situation”
Austrian police said over 6,000 had entered the country by midday with more expected in what has become Europe’s most acute refugee crisis since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.
Munich police said Arabic-speaking interpreters helped refugees with procedures at emergency registration centres. The seemingly efficient Austrian and German reception contrasted with the disorder prevalent in Hungary.
“It was just such a horrible situation in Hungary,” said Omar, arriving in Vienna with his family.
In Budapest, almost emptied of migrants the night before, the main railway station was again filling up with new arrivals but trains to Western Europe remained cancelled. So hundreds set off by foot, saying they would walk to the Austrian border, 170 km (110 miles) away, like others had tried on Friday.
After days of confrontation and chaos, Hungary’s government deployed over 100 buses overnight to take thousands of migrants to the Austrian frontier.
Austria said it had agreed with Germany to allow the migrants access, waiving asylum rules that require them to register in the first EU state they reach.