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Nat`l high-speed railway networks to be built by 2020

Posted April. 04, 2011 01:44,   


High-speed railway networks will be built by 2020 to make major cities nationwide accessible within 90 minutes, the Land, Transport, and Maritime Affairs Ministry said Sunday in announcing a “national railway network” plan.

After announcing its initiative to build a KTX high-speed railway network in September last year, the ministry commissioned research to think tanks and collected opinions from experts to devise a concrete implementation plan. The latest plan is the outcome of these efforts.

Railway networks will be built to link high-speed rail running through the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces and the Seoul metropolitan area in an "X" shape, and railroads running through coastal regions and Gangwon Province will be in a square shape. This will allow travel to major cities nationwide in about 90 minutes.

To achieve the plan, the length of the section on the Seoul-Busan express railway that allows trains to run at 230 kilometers per hour will be expanded 6.4-fold from 368.5 kilometers to 2,362.4 kilometers by 2020. The combined length of railroads nationwide, including those for high-speed trains, will be extended from 3,557 kilometers to 4,934 kilometers.

The proportion of double-track lines will increase from 49.6 percent to 79.1 percent and that of electric lines from 60.4 percent to 85 percent.

In addition, ordinary railroads will be improved to accommodate trains running at 230 kilometers per hour and be connected to the Seoul-Busan and Seoul-Mokpo high-speed routes.

Moreover, two-story trains like those in operation in Japan and France will be introduced to cut railway fares, the ministry said.

If the railway networks are completed, traveling times to most regions nationwide will be cut by an hour to three hours with travel from Seoul to Busan taking an hour and 43 minutes; from Seoul to Daegu an hour and 10 minutes; from Seoul to Gwangju an hour and 11 minutes; from Seoul to Gyeongju an hour and 22 minutes; from Seoul to Jinju an hour and 41 minutes; from Seoul to Gangneung 58 minutes; from Seoul to Gwangyang two hours; from Daejeon to Pahang 62 minutes; from Busan to Gwangju an hour and 40 minutes; from Busan and Gangneung two hours and 16 minutes; and from Seoul to Mokpo an hour and 21 minutes.

Experts said the latest plan will shift the current road-centered transit system to one centered on rail, adding the promotion of high-speed railways will further shrink demand for provincial airports.

For four months after the opening of the Daegu-Busan KTX section on Nov. 1 last year, passengers on the Gimpo-Ulsan air route declined 37.2 percent and those on the Gimpo-Pohang route fell 21.3 percent.

A Transportation Ministry official said, “The completion of the plan will reduce 7.74 million tons of carbon dioxide and increase provincial economic output by 91 trillion won (83 billion U.S. dollars) per year."