South Korean Government Targets National Railway Upgrade

South Korean Government Targets National Railway Upgrade :The South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced on 17 June 2016 that it has finalized a 10 year US$60 billion plan to upgrade the national railway network.

The plan, said to help cut travel time not only between major cities but also commuting time in the Seoul metropolitan area, involves connecting major cities by means of High Speed Rail (HSR) by 2025.

Several existing railway lines would be upgraded to allow the use of trains running at speed of about 250 km/h. New high speed lines would allow the use of 300+ km/h high speed trains.

Travel times would be drastically reduced, as follows:

from Seoul to Gangneung – from 5 hours and 12 minutes to 1 hour and 7 minutes
from Gwangju to Gangneung – from 7 hours and 25 minutes to 3 hours
from Busan to Gwangju – from 6 hours and 6 minutes to 2 hours and 20 minutes

The Korean government would also install new railway tracks in the northern Gangwon areas that currently have relatively poor transportation infrastructure. Passengers will then be able to travel by rail from Seoul to Sokcho in only one hour and 30 minutes. Travelling by bus (currently the only option) takes 2 hours and 30 minutes.

The ministry expects a positive impact on the local economy and on the number of jobs available.
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With regards to the Seoul metropolitan area the Transport Ministry wants to make it possible for people living in areas such as Ilsan, Songdo, Gunpo and Uijeongbu to reach downtown Seoul within 30 minutes.

Just to give some examples: travel time from Songdo to Seoul would drop from 87 minutes to 23 minutes; commuting time from Uijeongbu to Seoul would drop from 32 minutes to less than 9 minutes.

The Korean railways, currently totaling 3,729 km in length, would grow by 43% to 5,363 km.
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Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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