Korea’s High Speed Rail Authority (KHRC) has opened the first segment of its new high-speed rail line, called KTX, that eventually will run from Seoul, the capital, to Pusan, the nation’s second largest city. This first section of the network was officially inaugurated with South Korean President Kim Dae Jung presiding.
The first section, which will serve as a test track, consists of 34.4 km, and will soon be extended to 52 km. During the next 52 months, the 46 KTX trainsets will be tested on the test track incrementally, as they are delivered, according to officials of ALSTOM, which is building the trainsets. Twelve trainsets out of the total order of 46 are being built in France; however, as part of the deal, ALSTOM is also supervising the manufacture of the remaining 34 trainsets in South Korea.
According to the contract timetable, 61% of the work will be completed by the year 2000, 80% by 2001 and 91% by the end of 2002. Commercial service between Seoul and Taejon will commence as planned in December 2003. As of April 2004, KTX trains will be operating between Seoul and Pusan, and for the Taegu-Pusan section operating on the existing electrified line.