Friday, September 25, 2020


Most railways were operated by private companies  until 1946 when all the railroads except trams were nationalised under the rule of, in case of South Korea, the US Military Government . By the end of the 1960s, all the tram companies had gone bankrupt so there were no private rail companies left. 

After the 1997 Asian financial crisis   several government-driven railroad construction projects were reviewed, postponed, redesigned, revoked or turned into Build-Transfer- Lease-/ Build Transfer -Operate projects. Several private capitals investment groups, including Macquarie- Group  have participated in the projects. As of 2010, Airport Express Co. and Seoul Metro 9  are in operation. However, due to the continuing deficit, most shares of Airport Express Co. were taken over by Korail. Several private railroads, such as Shinbundang Line BGLRT  , and Everline  have begun service as well. 

There is no general rule to define private railway lines in South Korea, though generally all rail companies except Korail and rapid transit companies under full control of local governments can be considered private sector. 

Total track length is 5625 KM,(Double track 2304 Electrified 3025 High speed 625) 

Historically, the South Korean railway network was managed by the Railroad Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Transportation before 1963. On 1 September 1963, the bureau became an agency that was known as Korean National Railroad (KNR) in English. In the early 2000s, split and public corporatization of KNR was decided by the South Korean government, and in 2003, KNR adopted the current KORAIL logo in blue to prepare corporatization. On 1 January 2005, KNR was split into Korea Railroad Corporation (KORAIL), which succeeded railway operation with the KORAIL logo and name, and Korea Rail Network Authority (KR), which succeeded maintaining tracks. 

The plan to reconnect the two Koreas with a railway, and adjacent road, was agreed in 2000. A ceremony on 18 September 2002 marked the beginning of construction and another was held on 13 June 2003 to mark its completion. It was the day before the third anniversary of the inter-Korean summit meeting, the first time a South Korean president has ever visited the North. Although the prime use of the railway is intended to be freight, it is also envisaged that it could be used to re-unite families who were separated in the north and south after the 1953 truce. 

Reconnection of the Kyongi Line links Seoul (close to the DMZ) with Shinuiju on the Chinese border and the Donghae Line running north-south in the eastern coastal areas. It connects the 70 million people on the Korean peninsula to the Trans-China Railway and Trans-Siberian Railway, the latter creating a route for rail freight to Europe, crucial for South Korea’s export-driven economy. The Trans-Korea railway will reduce transport costs by about a third and cut transit times in half. 


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