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Korean Bullet Train Service to Begin in 2008

Posted July. 29, 2005 03:04,   


High-speed trains made with domestic technologies are expected to begin service in 2008.

It is said that 92 percent of the design and the core components of the bullet trains will be locally made. Bullet trains can travel at a maximum speed of 300 kilometers per hour.

The government finalized a plan to commercialize Korean bullet trains at the ninth round of science and technology ministerial meetings presided over by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Technology Oh Myung on July 28.

The government will set aside 80 billion won to manufacture the two bullet trains, each having 10 passenger cars, from September 2005 to December 2007. High-speed trains will travel railways linking Seoul and Busan (Gyeongbu-Line) and Seoul and Yeosu (Jeolla-Line) in 2008.

The 46 high-speed trains currently in operation were directly imported from France or assembled locally. The Korean high-speed train will be made by applying high-speed train technology transferred from France and accumulated know-how in the assembly process.

According to the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, the commercialization of the bullet trains will contribute 26 trillion won to production output, create 160,000 jobs over the next 20 years, and help the country save some 840 billion won by replacing imports.

An official of the Ministry of Construction and Transportation said, “Until now, South Korea couldn’t participate in an international procurement bid since we conducted only pilot operations of seven trains with no commercialization. From 2008, we will be able to compete in the international market against advanced countries such as Japan, France, and Germany.”

Chang-Won Kim changkim@donga.com