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  • Hey folks, welcome back to the channel!

  • Today, we're looking at yet another Asian transit powerhouse for our fourth episode

  • of High Speed Rail Explained - South Korea. Although not as large or impressive on first

  • glance as its East Asian neighbours in terms of scale, South Korea's high speed rail

  • is quite extensive in terms of its population spread, and with its relatively low construction

  • costs, it's a great case study, especially for North Americans. Let's go and take a look!

  • [Music]

  • South Korea's High Speed Rail history started in the 80's with the intention to relieve

  • the country's primary corridor between Seoul and Busan, as congestion on the existing Gyeongbu

  • expressway and Korail conventional rail line were starting to get out of hand. Construction

  • officially started on the Gyeongbu HSR line in 1992, with France's Alstom, selected

  • as the main technology partner for the system. This first section that started construction

  • is a 57 kilometre section between Cheonan and Daejeon, which also served as a test

  • track for the system.

  • With the closing of the 20th century also came the 1997 Asian financial Crisis, which

  • hit South Korea especially hard, and sacrifices had to be made in many areas, including with

  • the Gyeongbu HSR line.

  • The line was now split into two different phases for opening, with the first phase now

  • only extending aboutof the way to Daegu, with trains then traveling along the old conventional

  • passenger rail corridor, which would be upgraded, to reach Busan. In total, 223.6 kilometres

  • of high speed tracks, and 132.8 kilometres of conventional rail line upgrades and electrification

  • was done for phase 1, and on April 1st, 2004, the first line of South Korea's High Speed

  • Rail finally went into service.

  • Expansion of the system soon followed, with the 128.1 kilometre Phase 2 Daegu to Busan

  • high speed rail project starting construction in 2002 and entering service in 2010, with

  • a few slower sections through the city centres.

  • The next high speed line was the Honam High speed line, which connects Seoul with Mokpo

  • and splits from the Gyeongbu line at Osong. Construction of the 230.99 kilometre line

  • started in 2009, and the line officially opened in 2015.

  • Besides these, higher speed lines that have operating speeds of above 200 km per hour

  • also include the Jungang Line, which is another upgraded north south line. Currently the higher

  • speed section only extends to Andong, but the rest of the line will be upgraded in the

  • next few years as well.

  • Another line is the Jeolla Line, which is yet another upgraded 200 kilometer per hour

  • line travelling to the south of the country, and terminating at Yeosu.

  • Next up, we have the Gyeonggang Line, which comprises two distinct sections, one of which

  • serves the Seoul subway system, and the other serves the High Speed Rail KTX system, between

  • Gangneung and Wonju. The line was opened in 2017 in anticipation

  • of the 2018 Winter Olympics, and riders can enjoy a one seat ride from Seoul.

  • There is also a small line named the Donghae Line which is also an upgraded higher speed

  • line coming off of the Gyeongbu corridor. Most of the services on these auxiliary lines

  • start from Seoul, and split off the main corridor.

  • Now, all of the above lines we've looked at all belong to the KTX, or the Korea Train

  • Express system, operated by national railway operator Korail. There is currently one more

  • line that is not part of the KTX system, and that is the Suseo HSR line. This line is the

  • first line in a separate system named SRT, short for Super Rapid Train, which is operated

  • by SR Corporation. The service starts at Suseo Station in southeast Seoul in Gangnam, with

  • trains operating to both Busan and Mokpo.

  • As Seoul is a massive metropolitan area with KTX already servicing 3 stations, the underserved

  • southeastern part of the city desired a High speed connection as well, and so the SRT was

  • born to fill that gap, utilizing a separate corridor to travel south, until it joins in

  • with the KTX services near Pyeongtaek - Jije.

  • The systems are mostly segregated, using a different booking system and app, and the

  • SRT trains do not stop at all the stops the KTX trains stop at, but it is cheaper and

  • more convenient if one wanted to travel to the southeast of Seoul.

  • In the future, the existing Gyeongjeon conventional KTX line will be upgraded from Masan to Bujeon

  • station in Busan; it will have an operating speed of 200 km/h, opening sometime this year.

  • The rest of the Jungang line to Singyeongju will also see upgrades to an electrified double-tracked

  • line, which is scheduled to open later this year as well.

  • There is also a section between Gomagwon and Imseong-ri on the Honam HSR opening in 2023

  • and a section between Songdo and Maesong on the Suin/Incheon KTX Line opening in 2024 to act as

  • yet another termini station to the west of Seoul that will run onto other KTX services

  • and share tracks with the current Suin-Bundang metro line.

  • Two other lines under construction, named Jungbu naeryuk and Nambu naeryuk lines respectively,

  • will give the inner cities of the country a much better connection all the way down

  • to the southern city of Geoje. The first half of the line to roughly the halfway point is

  • already under construction and will partly open this year, and most of the line will

  • have a speed of 250 km/h aside from a small section between the two lines. There is also

  • a planned connection of the line to Suseo station so SRT trains can run on the line

  • as well.

  • Service on the Gyeonggang Line will be extended too, with KTX planning a connection between

  • the two previously segregated parts of the line so trains can run through the whole corridor,

  • as well as extending the line westward to Incheon.

  • And finally, there is a new planned line named the Seohae Line along the country's west

  • coast that will have speeds up to 250 km/h and connect with the Honam corridor.

  • A line to Jeju Island from Mokpo has been proposed, with air travel from Seoul to the

  • prime tourist destination being one of the world's busiest air routes, although the

  • Jeju government didn't love the idea as it wished to remain less dependent on the

  • mainland.

  • As for the SRT, there has been quite a lot of demand to extend the service to the destinations

  • currently served by KTX. Besides the aforementioned Jungbunaeryuk connection that won't materialize

  • for a while, SRT has also just been allowed to operate on the Jeolla line, so we'll

  • soon see service on that line - maybe in a couple of years.

  • Now, both the KTX and the SRT systems have enjoyed quite a lot of success in terms of

  • ridership and popularity in the country, as getting to Seoul's high speed rail station

  • is easier than going to the airport with all the extra security measures, and especially

  • when you consider the fact that ticket prices are often cheaper than a comparable air ticket.

  • A standard class weekday ticket from Seoul to Busan is around 50 dollars, and if you

  • do like the premium experience in First Class or Business Class on a flight, there are also

  • equivalent upgrades on the High Speed Rail Trains.

  • Cumulative ridership on KTX has already exceeded 700 million since its opening in 2004, which

  • is quite impressive especially when you consider the country's total population of just over

  • 51 million, with the market share on these corridors, especially Seoul to Busan, already

  • at 60% in 2008 and growing.

  • In terms of rolling stock, the first generation of trains used were based on Alstom's TGV

  • Reseau trains, with top operating speeds of up to 305 kilometres per hour, manufactured

  • both aboard in France and locally by Hyundai Rotem. The newer generation of high speed

  • trains are branded KTX-Sancheon, and are developed and manufactured in country for more control

  • of the technology. These were delivered by Hyundai Rotem between 2006 and 2008, with

  • a top design speed of 330 kilometres per hour.

  • Another fleet of trains named KTX-Eum is the newest fleet of trains developed by Hyundai

  • Rotem, although these currently have a lower max speed of 286 kilometres per hour, and

  • only serve the lower speed lines.

  • These were actually based on an experimental high speed train coded HEMU-430X developed

  • earlier in the 2010's that actually reached top speeds of 421.4 km/h with a design speed

  • of 430 km/h, making South Korea the 4th country in the world to develop high speed trains

  • that can run above 420 km/h on conventional rails (nice).

  • And finally, one of the most important aspects of a high speed rail system is its costs,

  • Even though South Korea's High Speed Rail system might not be the largest or most extensive

  • in the world, there is one stand out feature of the system, and that is the fact that the

  • country is able to build new lines incredibly cheaply.

  • Take the SRT line for example, with a new tunnel that needed to be constructed, the

  • budgeted cost was just over 3 trillion Won - which comes to around 3.7 billion Canadian dollars.

  • In comparison, the Eglinton Crosstown in Toronto costs about 5.3 billion dollars in terms of

  • capital costs, although do bear in mind that the SRT line did share a lot of infrastructure,

  • and the cost number did not include the rolling stock.

  • Despite launching less than 2 decades ago, South Korea's high speed rail has already

  • grown massively, covering the nation's most important corridors and still growing rapidly.

  • We look forward to seeing the evolution of the system, especially in terms of technology

  • export. If you'd like us to look into any of these services or projects in detail, make

  • sure to leave a comment down below, and subscribe and hit the bell icon so you don't miss

  • those videos. Thanks for watching, and we'll see you in the next time!

Hey folks, welcome back to the channel!

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South Korea's High Speed Rail System Explained

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    Alan に公開 2021 年 07 月 12 日
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