Korea unveils next-generation bullet train
By Lee Hyo-sik
Korea has developed a next-generation bullet train that can travel as fast as 430 kilometers per hour, making it possible to travel between the country’s two largest cities of Seoul and Busan in one and a half hours. Currently, it takes almost three hours by KTX-Sancheon.
The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said Thursday that it held a launch ceremony for the nation’s futuristic train, called HEMU-430X, in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province.
It said Korea has become the world’s fourth country to develop a high-speed train that can run at over 400 kilometers per hour, after France, China and Japan.
The Korea Railroad Research Institute and Hyundai Rotem spearheaded the creation of the high-speed train with a maximum speed of 430 kilometers per hour.
``They spent a total of 93.1 billion won over the past five years to develop the next-generation bullet train. It only takes 233 seconds for HEMU-430X to reach full speed, 120 seconds fewer than KTX-Sancheon,’’ a ministry official said. ``The new train was built using only domestic technology. Compared to KTX-Sancheon, it can carry 16 percent more passengers.’’
The official also said HEMU-430X is 5 percent lighter and more spacious for passengers. ``The train will go through sufficient test runs of longer than 100,000 kilometers. Should the results be good, it will be able to debut commercially in 2015 at the earliest.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy introduced the KTX bullet train in early 2004 between Seoul and Busan. The early version of KTX imported from France and KTX-Sancheon, developed through domestic technology, operate at around 300 kilometers per hour in regular service.
Accordingly, it takes between two and a half and three hours from Seoul to Busan, depending on the number of stations the train stops at.
KTX-Sancheon has also been suffering various mishaps including derailment and delays since its debut.