KOREA TRAIN EXPRESS (KTX) is
South Korea 's high-speed rail system,
Korail . Construction began on the high-speed line from
Busan in 1992.
KTX services were launched on April 1, 2004.
KTX operates from
Incheon International Airport
Incheon International Airport with stops at Seoul
Yongsan Station towards
Gwangju , and from Gangnam
Suseo Station with intermediate stations in New Dongtan
Seoul Subway Line 1 's
Jije Station in
Pyeongtaek . A new
Gangneung is under construction to serve the 2018
Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang .
Top speed for trains in regular service is currently 305 km/h (190
mph), though the infrastructure is designed for 350 km/h (217 mph).
The initial rolling stock was based on
TGV Réseau , and was
partly built in Korea. The domestically developed
HSR-350x , which
achieved 352.4 km/h (219.0 mph) in tests, resulted in a second type of
high-speed trains now operated by Korail, the
KTX Sancheon . The next
HEMU-430X , achieved 421.4 km/h in 2013, making
South Korea the world's fourth country after
France and China
to develop a high-speed train running on conventional rail above 420
* 1 History
* 1.1 Origins of the project
* 1.2 Creation of the system
* 1.2.1 Start of high-speed line construction
* 1.2.2 Phase 1: Seoul–
Daegu and conventional line upgrades
* 1.2.3 Phase 2: Daegu–Busan, extra stations, urban sections
* 1.3 Further upgrades of connecting conventional lines
* 1.4 Further high-speed lines
* 2 Rolling stock
* 2.5 KTX-III
* 2.6 EMU-250
* 3 List of
* 4 Operation
* 4.1 Services
* 4.2 Tickets and seats
* 4.2.1 Type of seats
* 4.2.2 Ticket prices
* 4.2.3 Discounts
* 4.3 Passenger numbers and usage
* 4.3.1 Forecasts
* 4.3.2 Ridership evolution
* 4.3.3 Market share and effect
* 4.4 Technical and operational issues
* 4.4.1 State of infrastructure
* 4.4.2 Incidents and accidents
* 4.4.3 Passenger comfort and convenience
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
ORIGINS OF THE PROJECT
Busan axis is Korea's main traffic corridor. In 1982, it
represented 65.8% of South Korea's population, a number that grew to
73.3% by 1995, along with 70% of freight traffic and 66% of passenger
traffic. With both the
Gyeongbu Expressway and
Korail 's Gyeongbu Line
congested as of the late 1970s, the government saw the pressing need
for another form of transportation.
The first proposals for a second Seoul-
Busan railway line originated
from a study prepared between 1972 and 1974 by experts from France's
Japan Railway Technical Service on a request from the IBRD .
A more detailed 1978-1981 study by
KAIST , focusing on the needs of
freight transport, also came to the conclusion that separating
long-distance passenger traffic on a high-speed passenger railway
would be advisable, and it was adopted in the following Korean Five
Year Plan .
During the following years, several feasibility studies were prepared
for a high-speed line with a Seoul–
Busan travel time of 1 hour 30
minutes, which gave positive results. In 1989, following the go-ahead
for the project, the institutions to manage its preparation were
established: the Gyeongbu High Speed Electric Railway "> KTX
KHSRCA started construction of the Seoul–
Busan Gyeongbu High Speed
Railway (Gyeongbu HSR) on June 30, 1992, on the 57 km (35 mi) long
Daejeon , which was intended for use as test
Construction started before the choice of the main technology
supplier, thus alignment design was set out to be compatible with all
choices. Of the planned 411 km (255 mi) line, 152.73 km (94.90 mi)
would be laid on bridges, and another 138.68 km (86.17 mi) in tunnels.
However, plans were changed repeatedly, in particular those for city
sections, following disputes with local governments, while
construction work suffered from early quality problems. Planned
operating speed was also reduced from 350 km/h (217 mph) to the 300
km/h (186 mph) maximum of high-speed trains on the market. Three
competitors bid for the supply of the core system, which included the
rolling stock, catenary and signalling: consortia led by GEC-Alsthom,
today Alstom, one of the builders of France's
one of the builders of Germany's ICE trains; and
Mitsubishi , one of
the builders of Japan's
Shinkansen trains. In 1994, the alliance of
GEC-Alsthom and its Korean subsidiary Eukorail were chosen as winner.
The technology was almost identical to that found on the high-speed
lines of France's
TGV system. Track-related design specifications
included a design speed of 350 km/h (217 mph) and standard gauge .
Phase 1: Seoul–
Daegu And Conventional Line Upgrades
See also: Upgrade of the Gyeongbu and Honam Lines
1997 Asian Financial Crisis
1997 Asian Financial Crisis , the government decided to
realise the Gyeongbu HSR in two phases. In a first phase, two-thirds
of the high-speed line between the southwestern suburbs of
Daegu would be finished by 2004, with trains travelling along the
parallel conventional line along the rest of the Seoul–
The upgrade and electrification of these sections of the Gyeongbu Line
was added to the project, and also the upgrade and electrification of
Honam Line from
Daejeon to Mokpo, providing a second route for KTX
services. The budget for the first phase was set at 12,737.7 billion
won, that for the entire project at 18,435.8 billion won in 1998
prices. While the share of government contributions remained
unchanged, the share of foreign loans, domestic bond sales and private
capital changed to 24%, 29% and 2%.
The infrastructure and rolling stock were created in the framework of
a technology transfer agreement, which paired up Korean companies with
core system supplier
Alstom and its European subcontractors for
different subsystems. Alstom's part of the project amounted to
US$2.1 billion or €1.5 billion.
KTX train approaches Miryang
Station , on the non-high-speed Daegu-
Well ahead of the opening of the Gyeongbu HSR for regular service, in
December 1999, 34.4 km (21.4 mi) of the test section, later extended
to 57 km (35 mi), was finished to enable trials with trains. After
further design changes, the high-speed tracks were finished over a
length of 223.6 km (138.9 mi), with 15.0 km (9.3 mi) of
interconnections to the conventional Gyeongbu Line, including at a
short interruption at Daejeon. The high-speed section itself included
83.1 km (51.6 mi) of viaducts and 75.6 km (47.0 mi) of tunnels.
Conventional line electrification was finished over the 132.8 km (82.5
Daegu and on to Busan, the 20.7 km (12.9 mi) across
Daejeon, and the 264.4 km (164.3 mi) from
Daejeon to Mokpo and
Gwangju. After 12 years of construction and with a final cost of
12,737.7 billion won, the initial
KTX system with the first phase of
the Gyeongbu HSR went into service on April 1, 2004.
Phase 2: Daegu–Busan, Extra Stations, Urban Sections
Busan section of the Gyeongbu HSR became a separate
project with the July 1998 project revision, with a budget of 5,698.1
billion won, with funding from the government and private sources by
the same ratios as for phase 1. In August 2006, the project was
modified to again include the
Daegu urban area passages,
as well as additional stations along the phase 1 section. For these
additions, the budget as well as the government's share of the funding
Construction started in June 2002. The 128.1 km (79.6 mi) line, which
follows a long curve to the northeast of the existing Gyeongbu Line,
includes 54 viaducts with a total length of 23.4 km (14.5 mi) and 38
tunnels with a total length of 74.2 km (46.1 mi). The two largest
structures are the 20,323 m (66,677 ft) Geomjeung Tunnel, under Mount
Geumjeong at the
Busan end of the line; and the 13,270 m (43,540 ft)
Wonhyo Tunnel, under Mount Cheonseong south-west of Ulsan, which will
be the longest and second longest tunnels in Korea once the line is
A long dispute concerning the environmental impact assessment of the
Wonhyo Tunnel, which passes under a wetland area, caused delays for
the entire project. The dispute gained nationwide and international
attention due to the repeated hunger strikes of a Buddhist nun, led to
a suspension of works in 2005, and only ended with a supreme court
ruling in June 2006. With the exception of the sections across
Daejeon and Daegu, the second phase went into service on November 1,
2010. By that time, 4,905.7 billion won was spent out of a second
phase budget, or 17,643.4 billion won out of the total.
The two sections across the urban areas of
Daejeon and Daegu,
altogether 40.9 km (25.4 mi), will be finished by 2014. As of October
2010, the total cost of the second phase was estimated at 7,945.4
billion won, that for the entire project at 20,728.2 billion won. The
last element of the original project that was shelved in 1998,
separate underground tracks across the
Seoul metropolitan area, was
re-launched in June 2008, when an initial plan with a 28.6 km (17.8
mi) long alignment and two new stations was announced.
FURTHER UPGRADES OF CONNECTING CONVENTIONAL LINES
See also: Upgrade of the
AREX , Chungbuk , Daegok–Sosa–Wonsi ,
Daegu , Donghae Bukbu , Donghae Nambu , Gyeongchun , Gyeongjeon ,
Gyeongui , Gyeongwon , Janghang , Jeolla , Jungang , and Yeongdong
The electrification and the completion of the re-alignment and
double-tracking of the
Jeolla Line , which branches from the Honam
Line at Iksan and continues to Suncheon and
Yeosu , began in December
2003, with the aim to introduce
KTX services in time for the Expo 2012
in Yeosu. The upgrade will allow to raise top speed from 120 to 180
km/h (75 to 112 mph). The section of the perpendicular Gyeongjeon
Samnangjin , the junction with the
Gyeongbu Line near Busan,
to Suncheon is upgraded in a similar way, with track doubling,
alignment modifications and electrification for 180 km/h (112 mph).
The until Masan was opened on December 15, 2010. The upgrade is to be
Jinju by 2012 and Suncheon by 2014. The top speed of
AREX line, Seoul's airport link, is to be raised from 110 to 180
km/h (68 to 112 mph) for the KTX.
Pohang section of the
Donghae Nambu Line is
foreseen for an upgrade in a completely new alignment that circumvents
Gyeongju and connects to the
Gyeongbu High Speed Railway at
Singyeongju Station , allowing for direct
KTX access to the two
cities. On April 23, 2009, the project was approved by the government
and a ground-breaking ceremony was held. The altogether 76.56 km
(47.57 mi) line is slated to be opened in December 2014.
On September 1, 2010, the South Korean government announced a
strategic plan to reduce travel times from
Seoul to 95% of the country
to under 2 hours by 2020. The main new element of the plan is to aim
for top speeds of 230–250 km/h (143–155 mph) in upgrades of much
of the mainline network with view to the introduction of
The conventional lines under the scope of the plan include the above,
already on-going projects, and their extensions along the rest of the
southern and eastern coasts of South Korea, lines along the western
coast, lines north of Seoul, and the second, more easterly line
Busan with some connecting lines.
FURTHER HIGH-SPEED LINES
Honam High Speed Railway and
Suseo High Speed Railway
Suseo High Speed Railway
Until 2006, the first plans for a second, separate high-speed line
Seoul to Mokpo were developed into the project of a line
branching from the Gyeongbu HSR and constructed in two stages, the
Honam High Speed Railway (Honam HSR). The budget for the 185.75 km
(115.42 mi) first stage, from the new
Osong Station on the Gyongbu HSR
Gwangju·Songjeong Station , was set at 8,569.5 billion won. The
second stage, the 48.74 km (30.29 mi) remaining to Mokpo, was to be
finished by 2017 with a budget of 2,002.2 billion won. The
Osong-Iksan section of the first phase is also intended for use as
high-speed test track for rolling stock development, to be fitted with
special catenary and instrumented track. The ground-breaking ceremony
was held on December 4, 2009. As of September 2010, progress was 9.6%
of the project budget then estimated at 10,490.1 billion won for the
first phase, which was due for completion in 2014, while the estimate
for the entire line stood at 12,101.7 billion won.
First plans for the Honam HSR foresaw a terminus in
Suseo Station ,
southeast Seoul. The branch to Suseo was re-launched as a separate
Suseo High Speed Railway
Suseo High Speed Railway (Suseo HSR), in June 2008.
Detailed design of the 61.1 km (38.0 mi) line is underway since
September 2010, with opening planned by the end of 2014. For the
longer term, new high-speed lines from
Sokcho on the eastern
coast, and a direct branch from the Gyeongbu HSR south to
further to the coast are under consideration. In conjunction with the
award of the
2018 Winter Olympics to PyeongChang in July 2011, KTX
service via the eastern coast line was anticipated; the expected
travel time there from
Seoul is 50 minutes.
In January 2009, the Korea Transport Institute also proposed a 167 km
(104 mi) line from Mokpo to Jeju Island , putting Jeju 2 hours 26
minutes from Seoul. The line would include a 28 km (17 mi) bridge
Haenam to Bogil Island and a 73 km (45 mi) undersea tunnel from
Bogil Island to Jeju Island (with a drilling station on Chuja Island),
for an estimated cost of US$10 billion. As the proposal was popular
with lawmakers from South Jeolla province, the government is
conducting a feasibility study, but the governor of Jeju expressed
skepticism. The route Seoul-Jeju has been mentioned as the world\'s
busiest air route with 9.9 million passengers in 2011.
EXPECTED START OF REVENUE SERVICES
Honam Line (KTX)
First stage (Osong ~
Gwangju ): 2015
Second stage (
Gwangju ~Mokpo ): 2017
Suseo Line (KTX)
KTX-I trainsets, also known as simply
KTX or as TGV-K,
are based on the
TGV Réseau, but with several differences. 46 trains
were built - the initial twelve in
France by Alstom, the remainder in
South Korea by Rotem . The 20-car electric multiple units consist of
two traction heads, that is powered end cars without passenger
compartment, and eighteen articulated passenger cars, of which the two
extreme ones have one motorised bogie each. A
KTX-I was built to
carry up to 935 passengers at a regular top speed of 300 km/h (186
mph), later increased to 305 km/h (190 mph).
The technology transfer agreement for the
KTX-I did not provide for a
complete control of manufacturing processes and some parts had to be
imported. To increase the domestic added value, in 1996, an alliance
of South Korean government research agencies, universities and private
companies started a project named G7 to develop domestic high-speed
rail technology. The main element of the G7 project was the 7-car
experimental high-speed train HSR-350x, originally intended as the
prototype of a train with 20-car and 11-car versions for 350 km/h (217
mph) commercial service. The train was also known under the names G7,
KHST and NG-KTX, and was later officially renamed HANVIT 350.
The train was developed on the basis of the transferred TGV
technology, but more advanced technology was used for the new motors,
power electronics and additional brake systems, while the passenger
cars were made of aluminum to save weight, and the nose was a new
design with reduced aerodynamic drag. Test runs were conducted
between 2002 and 2008, in the course of which
HSR-350x achieved the
South Korean rail speed record of 352.4 km/h (219.0 mph) on December
KTX-Sancheon The HSR-350x-derived KTX-II
For less frequented relations and for operational flexibility, a 2001
study proposed a train created by scaling down the planned commercial
version of the HSR-350x, by shortening the train, removing powered
bogies from intermediate cars, and lowering top speed. Hyundai Rotem
received orders for altogether 24 such trains, called KTX-II, in three
batches from July 2006 to December 2008.
Design speed is 330 km/h (205 mph), and revenue service speed is 305
km/h (190 mph). The power electronics uses newer technology than the
HSR-350x, and the front is a new design, too. The trainsets, of which
two can be coupled together, consist of two traction heads and eight
articulated passenger cars, and seat 363 passengers in two classes,
with enhanced comfort relative to the KTX-I. The domestic added value
of the trains was increased to 87%, compared to 58% for the KTX-I.
Imported parts include the pantographs, semiconductors in the power
electronics, front design, couplers and final drives.
The KTX-II was officially renamed as KTX-SANCHEON (
KTX-산천) after the Korean name of the indigenous fish cherry
salmon before the first units started commercial service on March 2,
However within weeks of its initial launch, mechanical and design
flaws began to appear, in some cases causing trains to stop running
and forcing passengers to leave the train and walk back to the
station, and in one particular case derailing from the tracks on
February 11, 2011. Although the trains were designed to be a
domestically-built replacement for the French built Alstrom trains,
due to over 30 malfunctions since March 2, 2010,
manufacturer Hyundai-Rotem to recall all 19 of the trains in operation
after finding cracks in two anchor bands in May 2011. Following the
KTX-Sancheon trains were put back in service.
In addition to the 24 initial
KTX-Sancheon trains, which form the
KTX-Sancheon Class 11, new batches have been ordered and delivered
since, to provide service on the new Honam , Suseo and Gyeonggang
lines. For the opening of the Honam HSR line, 22 trainsets, named
Class 12, were delivered ahead of the 2015 opening. In addition, 10
trainsets have been delivered to provide service on the Suseo line,
scheduled to open in December 2016 (Class 13), and 15 trainsets (Class
14) have been ordered for the Gyeonggang Line, which will open in late
2017 ahead of the
2018 Winter Olympics
In 2007, an alliance of government research institutes, universities
and private companies launched the project to build a second
experimental high-speed train, named HEMU-400X (later renamed to
HEMU-430X). With a budget of 97.4 billion won and a timetable lasting
6 years, the aim was to develop an experimental train capable of
reaching 400 km/h (249 mph) in tests, as a basis for commercial trains
operating at 350 km/h (217 mph). Unlike all previous South Korean
high-speed trains, the 6-car HEMU-400X will be fitted with distributed
traction. Detailed plans were presented in October 2010, when the
train was expected to be completed in 2011 and to start line tests in
2012. It was later renamed HEMU-430X, which achieved 421.4 km/h on
the last day of March 2013, making
South Korea the world's fourth
China to develop a high-speed train
running on conventional rail above 420 km/h.
KTX-III, the commercial derivative of HEMU-430X, is expected to enter
service in 2015. KTX-III was intended to cut Seoul-
Busan travel times
to 1 hour 50 minutes with a maximum operating speed of 350 km/h (217
mph). The targeted top speed was later increased to 370 km/h (230
mph). In default configuration, the train is to seat 378 passengers
in 8 cars, of which only the two driving trailers will be unpowered.
EMU-250 is expected to enter the service for Gyeongjeon line with
newly built section Bujeon - Masan, in 2021. As the name of train
displays, the targeted top speed of EMU-250 is 250 km/h (155 mph),
with the designed maximum 275 km/h (171 mph). Although EMU-250 is a
high speed train, its base will be quite different from the KTX
series. 6 trainsets are newly ordered from KORAIL to Hyundai Rotem,
and will be tested in 2019-2020. Each trainset has 6 cars with more
than 381 passenger seats.
Gyeongbu HSR (Phase 1)
Siheung Interconnection - Sindong Interconnection
Gyeongbu Line (Northern Section)
Gyeongbu Line (Southern Section)
Dongdaegu - Busan
Seoul - Haengsin
Honam Line (Northern Section)
Daejeon Interconnection - Seodaejeon - Iksan
Honam Line (Southern Section)
Gwangju-Songjeong - Mokpo
Gyeongbu HSR (Phase 2)
Gyeongjeon Line (Eastern Section)
Mijeon Interconnection - Masan
Gyeongjeon Line (Western Section)
Susaek Interconnection - Incheon Int\'l Airport
Geoncheon Interconnection -
Honam HSR (Phase 1)
(Downtown Section) Downtown Daejeon:
Daejeon South Interconnection -
Downtown Daegu: Sindong Interconnection -
Daegu West Interconnection
Masan - Bujeon
Gyeongbu Line (Central Section)
Daejeon - Dongdaegu
2007-06-01 ~ 2010-11-01
Songjeong Interconnection -
2004-04-01 ~ 2015-04-01
Honam Line (Central Section)
Iksan - Gwangju-Songjeong
Cheongnyangni - Seowonju
Honam HSR (Phase 2)
Gwangju-Songjeong - Mokpo
Test ticket for
KTX trial run
Following a phase of test operation, regular
KTX service started on
April 1, 2004, with a maximum speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) achieved
along the finished sections of the Gyeongbu HSR. In response to
frequent passenger complaints regarding speeds on the video display
staying just below the advertised 300 mark, operating top speed was
raised to 305 km/h (190 mph) on November 26, 2007.
See also: Gyeongbu
KTX , Honam
KTX to Haengsin , Gyeongjeon KTX
AREX , and
(Nov. 2015) ROUTE
(Incheon Int'l Airport/Haengsin -)
Daejeon - Dongdaegu -
Busan via only Gyeongbu HSR
Daejeon - Dongdaegu via Gyeongbu HSR, and
Busan via original Gyeongbu line
Daejeon via original Gyeongbu line, and
Daejeon - Dongdaegu
Busan via Gyeongbu HSR
(Incheon Int'l Airport/Haengsin -)
Daejeon - Dongdaegu -
Changwon - Masan - Jinju
(Incheon Int'l Airport/Haengsin -) Yongsan - Iksan - Gwangju
Songjeong - Mokpo
(Haengsin -) Yongsan - Seodaejeon - Iksan
(Incheon Int'l Airport/Haengsin -) Yongsan - Iksan - Jeonju -
(Incheon Int'l Airport/Haengsin -)
Daejeon - Dongdaegu -
KTX services (trains/week)
KTX services are grouped according to their route, and within the
groups, the stopping pattern changes from train to train.
not deviating from the Seoul–
Busan corridor are operated as the
KTX service. In 2004, the new service cut the route length
from 441.7 to 408.5 km (274.5 to 253.8 mi), and the fastest trains,
serving four stations only, cut the minimum Seoul–
Busan travel time
from the Saemaul 's 4 hours 10 minutes to 2 hours 40 minutes. With
the extension of the Gyeongbu HSR, from November 1, 2010, the minimum
Busan travel time reduced to 2 hours 18 minutes, over a
travel distance of 423.8 km (263.3 mi). From December 1, 2010, Korail
added a pair of non-stop trains with a travel time of 2 hours 8
minutes. Once the sections across
Daegu are completed,
cutting the Seoul–
Busan travel distance to 417.5 km (259.4 mi),
plans foresee a further improvement of the four-stop travel time to 2
hours and 10 minutes.
KTX services use parts of the conventional line
paralleling the high-speed line. From June 2007 until October 2010,
some trains left the Gyeongbu HSR between
Daejeon and Dongdaegu to
serve Gimcheon and Gumi before the opening of an extra station for the
two cities on the high-speed line. From November 1, 2010, when most
KTX services began to use the new Daegu–
section, some trains remained on the
Gyeongbu Line on that section,
and additional trains began to use the
Gyeongbu Line on the
Daejeon section to serve Suwon .
KTX trains using the Gyeongbu HSR only from
continuing all along the
Honam Line are operated as the Honam KTX
service. In 2004, the new service with a route length of 404.5 km
(251.3 mi) between Yongsan in
Seoul and Mokpo cut minimum travel time
from 4 hours 42 minutes to 2 hours 58 minutes. By 2017, this time is
to be cut further to 1 hours 46 minutes.
On December 15, 2010, the new Gyeongjeon
KTX service started with a
minimum travel time of 2 hours 54 minutes over the 401.4 km (249.4
mi) long route between
Seoul and Masan. The service is to be extended
Jinju by 2012. A fourth line, the Jeolla
KTX service will connect
Yeosu in 3 hours 7 minutes from September 2011. From 2014,
with the completion of the first phase of the Honam HSR, the travel
time is reduce further to 2 hours 25 minutes. From 2015,
are to reach
Seoul in 1 hour 50 minutes.
Korail also plans to run some through
KTX services to Incheon
International Airport on the
AREX line from 2012. The planned travel
time is 2 hours 41 minutes to
Busan and 3 hours to Gwangju.
TICKETS AND SEATS
Type Of Seats
KTX offers two classes: First Class and Standard Class. Tickets also
specify whether a seat is forward-facing or backward-facing according
to the direction of travel. There are special reserved Family seats,
which are grouped in four, including 2 forward-facing and 2
backward-facing seats. There are reserved seats and unassigned seats.
KTX trains have no restaurant cars or bars, only seat service. From
2006, one car of selected
KTX services functions as a moving cinema .
Differential fare reductions before and after the launch of KTX
KTX fares were designed to be about halfway between those for
conventional trains and airline tickets. The fare system implemented
at the start of service in April 2004 deviated from prices
proportional with distance, to favour long-distance trips. On April
25, 2005, fares were selectively reduced for relations
Busan Standard Class fares
one-way, reserved, for adults; November 1, 2010
KTX (VIA MIRYANG)
KTX (VIA SUWON)
From November 1, 2006, due to rising energy prices,
an 8-10% fare hike for various train services, including 9.5% for KTX.
The price of a Seoul-
Busan Standard Class ticket increased to 48,100
won. From July 1, 2007,
KTX fares were hiked another 6.5%, while
those for the slower Saemaeul and Mugunghwa services on the parallel
conventional route were raised by 3.5 percent and 2.5 percent,
respectively. However, new reduced weekday and unassigned seat fares
were also introduced.
After the November 1, 2010, start of service on the Daegu–Busan
section of the Gyeongbu HSR, the fare for
KTX trains using the new
section was set about 8% higher than for the old route via Miryang,
while that for the new services via Suwon was set lower.
Korail's standard discounts for children, disabled, seniors and
groups apply on
KTX trains, too. For frequent travellers, Korail's
standard discount cards, which are categorised according to age group,
apply with the double of the standard discount rates; while discount
cards for business and government agency workers apply with the normal
rate; both types of discounts are up to 30%. Season period tickets
with discounts of up to 60% can also apply to
Discounts for family seats (37.5%) and backward facing seats (5%) are
specific to the KTX. In addition to Korail's small general discounts
for tickets purchased in a vending machine, via cell phone or the
internet, discounts of 5–20% apply to a limited number of seats on
KTX trains when purchased in advance. For travellers who transfer to
other long-distance trains towards destinations beyond
transfer tickets with 30% discount apply.
Korail pays a refund for
KTX trains, which reaches 100% for trains with a delay above one
Korea Rail Pass , a period ticket
Korail offers to foreigners, also
applies to KTX. For passengers using the Korea-
Japan Joint Rail
Pass, a joint offer of Korail, Japanese railways and ferry services,
the discount on
KTX trains is 30%.
PASSENGER NUMBERS AND USAGE
KTX opening year ridership
forecast in passengers/day
Nov 1999 141,497
When the project was launched,
KTX was expected to become one of the
world's busiest high-speed lines. The first study in 1991 forecast
around 200,000 passengers a day in the first year of operation,
growing to 330,000 passengers a day twelve years later. In forecasts
prepared after the decision to split the project into two phases, the
expected first year ridership of Gyeongbu
KTX services was reduced by
about 40%. With the estimate for the Honam
KTX services added to the
plan, opening year forecasts ranged between 150,000 and 175,000
passengers a day. Actual initial ridership after the opening of the
first phase in 2004 was well short of initial expectations at around
half of the final forecast.
In October 2010, before the opening of the second phase, Korail
expected ridership to rise from the then current 106,000 to 135,000
passengers a day.
Average daily ridership, 2004 to 2013
KTX was introduced on 1 April 2004. In the first 100 days, daily
passenger numbers averaged 70,250, generating an operational revenue
of about 2.11 billion won per day, 54% of what was expected. On
January 14, 2005, Prime Minister
Lee Hae Chan stated that "the launch
KTX was a classic policy failure" due to construction costs
significantly above and passenger numbers well below forecasts.
However, ridership increased by over a third on the Gyeongbu
over a half on the Honam
KTX in two years. Daily operating profit
rose to 2.8 billion won by December 2005, when financial break-even
was forecast at a ridership level of around 100,000 passengers a day,
which was expected by the end of 2006.
The 100 millionth rider was carried after 1116 days of operation on
April 22, 2007, when cumulative income stood at 2.78 trillion won.
KTX finances moved into the black in 2007. The next year, with
revenues equal to US$898 million and costs equal to US$654 million,
KTX was Korail's most profitable branch.
By the sixth anniversary in April 2010,
KTX trains travelled a total
122.15 million kilometres, carrying 211.01 million passengers.
Punctuality gradually improved from 86.7% of trains arriving within 5
minutes of schedule in 2004 to 98.3% in 2009. In 2009, the average
daily ridership was 102,700. As of April 2010, the single-day
ridership record stood at 178,584 passengers, achieved on January 26,
Korean New Year .
By the tenth anniversary
KTX had travelled a total 240 million
kilometres, carrying 414 million passengers.
Market Share And Effect
Gyeongbu corridor Honam corridor Evolution of modal
shares on selected relations with
The introduction of high-speed services had the strongest effect on
long-distance relations with a significant portion of the journey on
the high-speed line, like Seoul–Busan:
KTX took both the majority of
the market and the bulk of rail passengers in the first year already,
increasing the total share of rail from around two-fifths to a market
dominating two-thirds by 2008. On long-distance relations with
significant distances along conventional lines and resulting more
modest travel time gains, that is along the Honam Line, the
overall rail market share gain decreases with distance. On
medium-distance relations like Seoul–Daejeon,
KTX gained market
share mostly at the expense of normal rail express services and air
traffic, and helped to increase the total share of rail. On short
distance intercity relations line Seoul–Cheonan, due to the modest
gains in time and the location of
KTX stops outside city cores, KTX
gains were at the expense of conventional rail, while intercity rail's
modal share was little changed.
By 2007, provincial airports suffered from deficits after a drop in
the number of passengers attributed to the KTX. With lower ticket
prices, by 2008,
KTX has swallowed up around half of the airlines'
previous demand between
Busan (falling from 5.3 million
passengers in 2003 to 2.4 million). Though some low-cost carriers
failed and withdrew from the route, others still planned to enter
competition even at the end of 2008. Budget airlines achieved a 5.6%
growth in August 2009 over the same month a year earlier while KTX
ridership decreased by 1.3%, a trend change credited to the opening of
Seoul Subway Line 9 , which improved
Gimpo International Airport
Gimpo International Airport 's
connection to southern Seoul.
In the first two months after the launch of the second phase of the
Gyeongbu HSR, passenger numbers on flights between Gimpo and Ulsan
Airports dropped 35.4% compared to the same period a year earlier,
those between Gimpo and
Pohang Airports 13.2%. Between Gimpo Airport
Gimhae International Airport , airline passenger numbers
remained stable (+0.2%), as a consequence of a budget airline
competing with large discounts and aggressive marketing. In the first
month of Gyeongjeon
KTX service, express bus services between Seoul
and Masan or Changwon experienced 30–40% drops in ridership.
TECHNICAL AND OPERATIONAL ISSUES
State Of Infrastructure
Lawmakers criticised the safety of Korail's tunnels after the
Ministry of Construction and Transportation submitted data to the
National Assembly on June 13, 2005. The ministry added fire prevention
standards to high-speed line design standards only in November 2003,
thus they weren't applied to the by then finished tunnels of the first
phase of KTX. Consequently, few tunnels had emergency exits, and in
high-speed railway tunnels, the average walking distance in case of an
emergency was 973 m (3,192 ft), with a maximum of 3,086 m (10,125 ft),
against a norm of emergency exits every 500 m (1,640 ft) in other
countries. A contingency plan for fires in
KTX tunnels was
incorporated into a national disaster manual in November 2005.
On October 5, 2008, it was revealed by lawmakers that inside Hwanghak
Tunnel, from December 2004, inspectors have monitored the progression
of several cracks and minor track displacements, which continued after
maintenance work in March–April 2007 and again in March 2008. The
operator claimed that a February 2007 on-site inspection found the
problems not safety-relevant, but pledged further maintenance, and an
investigation into the causes was launched. Tunnel reinforcement was
under way in 2010.
Incidents And Accidents
Annual number of breakdowns and failure rate
Operation irregularities mostly concerned the rolling stock, but also
signalling, power glitches and track problems. The number of
incidents decreased from 28 in the first month to 8 in the fifth. The
failure rate decreased sharply by the fifth year of operation. Later,
in the first eight months of regular service until October 2010,
KTX-II trains broke down 12 times. Causes for breakdowns in the first
years of operation involved inexperienced staff and insufficient
inspection during maintenance.
Lawmakers from the
Grand National Party published an investigation in
October 2006 and expressed concern about the practice to use parts
from other trains for spare parts, but
Korail stated that that is
standard practice in case of urgency with no safety effect, and the
supply of spare parts is secured.
Korail is also conducting a
localisation program to develop replacements for two dozen imported
On June 13, 2007, near
Cheongdo on the upgraded Daegu–Busan
section, a damper acting between two cars of a
KTX train got free at
one end due to a loose screw and hit the trackbed, throwing up ballast
that hit cars and caused bruises to two people on the parallel road,
until the train was stopped when passengers noticed smoke.
On November 3, 2007, an arriving
KTX-I train collided with a parked
KTX-I train inside
Busan Station, resulting in material damage of 10
billion won and light injuries to two persons. The accident happened
because the driver had fallen asleep and disabled the train protection
system, and led to the trial and conviction of the driver. The
railway union criticised single driver operation in conjunction with
the two and a half hours rest time the driver had between shifts.
On February 11, 2011, a
KTX-Sancheon train bound for
Busan derailed on a switch in a tunnel 500 m (1,600 ft) before
Gwangmyeong Station , when travelling at around 90 km/h (56 mph). No
casualties were reported, only one passenger suffered slight injury,
KTX traffic was blocked for 29 hours while repairs were completed.
Preliminary investigation indicated that the accident resulted from a
series of human errors. Because workers improperly repaired a point
along the tracks. Investigators found that the derailment was caused
by a switch malfunction triggered by a loose nut from track, and
suspected that a repairman failed to tighten it during maintenance the
previous night. The switch's detectors signalled a problem earlier,
however, a second maintenance crew failed to find the loose nut and
didn't properly communicate the fact to the control center, which then
allowed the train on the track. The rail union criticised Korail's
use of hired repairmen. there were no problems with the train
according to investigation.
On July 15, 2011, 150 passengers were evacuated from a train when
smoke started coming out of the train when it arrived at Miryang
Station at 11:30 AM. On July 17, 2011 at around 11 AM, a train
stopped abruptly and stranded some 400 passengers in the 9.975 km
(6.198 mi) Hwanghak Tunnel for over an hour. The train resumed
service after emergency repairs to a malfunctioning motor. A Korail
spokesperson stated that the reason for the stop was due to "faults in
the motor block that supplies power to the wheels". The same day, the
air conditioning broke down on another train leaving
Busan at 1:45 PM.
Over 800 passengers were transferred to another train at
the problem could not be fixed.
Passenger Comfort And Convenience
Passenger surveys in the first months found that the limited capacity
of bus connections and the lack of subway connections for
intermediate stations, especially the newly built stations Gwangmyeong
and Cheonan-Asan, was the problem mentioned most often. A better
connection to Cheonan-Asan Station was provided by an extension of
Seoul Subway Line 1 along the
Janghang Line , opened on December 14,
Gwangmyeong Station was linked to the same subway line by a
shuttle service on December 15, 2006, but it made little impact due
to the longtime differences between
KTX and subway train schedules.
The noise level in the trains during tunnel passages was also subject
to passenger complaints. A reduction by 3–4 dB was achieved by
retrofitting all trains with longer mud flaps at car ends until May
2006 to smooth the airflow at the articulated car joints. However,
measurements in 2009 found significantly higher interior noise levels
at some locations in two tunnels. Window thickness and sound
insulation was improved in the KTX-II.
The isolation of
KTX-I trains against pressure variations during
tunnel passages was insufficient for some passengers, leading to
efforts to reinforce pressurization in newer generations of trains.
KTX passengers found high-speed travel in backwards facing seats
dizzying. Swivel seats, which can be turned into the direction of
travel, installed only on First Class in
KTX-I trains, were made
standard on both classes on newer generations of trains.
South Korea portal
* Trains portal
* Transport portal
Tilting Train Express
* Transport in
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to KOREA TRAIN EXPRESS .
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for HIGH SPEED RAIL IN SOUTH KOREA .
* Kim, Chun-Hwan (May 2005). "Transportation Revolution: The Korean
High-speed Railway" (PDF).
Japan Railway & Transport Review (40):
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KTX : Visitseoul - Official
Seoul City Tourism
KTX / SRT
* Gyeongbu HSR
* Honam HSR
* Suseo HSR
* Seohae (u/c)
Gyeonggang Line (u/c)
* ● Bundang
* ● Gyeongchun
* ● Gyeonggang
* ● Gyeongui–Jungang
Seoul Line 1
Seoul Line 3
Seoul Line 4
* ● Suin
* ● Donghae
* Bujeon–Masan (u/c)
* Byeollae (u/c)
* Daegok–Sosa (u/c)
* Hanam (u/c)
* Indeogwon–Suwon (u/c)
* Jinjeop (u/c)
* Sinansan (u/c)
* Sosa–Wonsi (u/c)
KTX lines and services
* Gyeongbu HSR Line
* Honam HSR Line
* Suseo HSR Line
* Arex Line