New railway company to launch high-speed service on Friday
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New railway company to launch high-speed service on Friday

October 19, 2019

A new high-speed rail service begins here
in Korea. The Super Rapid Train or SRT will not only
reduce cross country travel time, but cost as well. Our Hwang Hojun takes us on a bullet train
ride. After 117 years, Korail’s monopoly over the
nation’s railways has come to an end. Passengers on Korea’s high-speed rail network
will have a new bullet train option — the SR, or Supreme Railway, whose service commences
this Friday. Celebrating the completion of 5 years and
7 months of construction, the opening ceremony took place on Thursday, with thousands joining
in, including Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn. “I urge both Korail and SR to further improve
customer service through competition in good faith. The government will continue to carry out
policies that are needed to guarantee fair competition.” The trains are called SRTs, and will depart
from Suseo Station in Seoul’s Gangnam district, instead of Seoul or Yongsan Station, where
the KTX trains depart. That’ll make it easier for many people to
start their journey. “The SRT will benefit residents of southern
Seoul and Gyeonggi-do province as they can now take the high-speed train nearer their
homes instead of traveling north across the river. This will satisfy their demand for convenience.” Guests at the opening also had the chance
to experience the train’s top speed of 300 kilometers per hour on a test run down to
Pyeongtaek. “We just left Suseo Station and are on our
way to Jije Station in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi-do Province. The distance is 61-point-1 kilometers, which
according to my GPS, would take roughly an hour by car. But hop on the SRT and it takes just 24 minutes,
just long enough to finish reading the morning paper.” The new Suseo High Speed Railway provides
the most direct route as 93 percent of the railway’s length is tunnels. After passing the southern city of Pyeongtaek
, the train will share the KTX rails, traveling
to Busan to the southeast, and Mokpo to the soutwest, shaving about 8 minutes and 7 minutes
off travel times, respectively. And the average fair is 10% cheaper. According to the Ministry of Transport, about
170,000 people take the KTX on a daily basis. The emergence of SRTs will likely ease the
congestion, with more than 45 thousand people expected to use Suseo Station daily by 2026. The official maiden voyage departs at ten
past five AM on Friday, bound for Mokpo. Hwang Hojun, Arirang News.

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