Korean KTX (High Speed Train)
The Korean KTX high speed rail train is an exciting development which was completed in with its first trip in December 2004, bridging the gap between Seoul and many locations between Seoul and Busan. With the introduction of the Korean KTX high speed rail train, South Korea became only the 6th country to have high speed rail after France, Japan and Germany to name a few.
The Korean KTX rail service is based on the French TGV high speed train and the KTX was designed with the help of French engineers. Operated by Korail the train potentially can reach a speed of 300km per hour.
The main line on the KTX (Korean Train EXpress) is the Gyeongbu Line which runs between the capital Seoul and the Southern port town of Busan. Stops on the Gyeongbu Line include Yongsan, Daejeon, Milyang and Gupo. The journey time with the Korean express train has been reduced from over four hours, down to under three hours. In the future it is anticipated that the journey could be reduced even further to less than 2 hours.
The next stage of the Korean KTX high speed train development is expected to be ready for 2010 (the year the Korean formula 1 motor racing arrives in Korea). In 2010 another part of the Seoul to Busan track was made compatible with high speed rail
Passenger take on the high speed train routes was slow and there have been worries about paying back for the development of the KTX. Passenger numbers though between 2005 and 2007 began to increase and things are looking much more positive. As a foreigner who has used the KTX, I thought it was great! Comfortable, inexpensive and of course, quick!