North Korean rail network set for major investment?

IN LATE-November a special inspection train operated by South Korean national operator Korail entered North Korea and carried out infrastructure inspections in co-operation with North Korean Railways on two main north-south routes.

The train was run under special dispensation from the United Nations as importing diesel fuel to North Korea is currently prohibited by sanctions.

Necessity is the mother of invention for the current North Korean system. Because diesel fuel is very scarce, electric traction is widely used (generated using coal), and here, an electric (or electro-diesel?) loco, numbered 15, probably converted from a Soviet-built TGM3 type diesel loco, is seen from a passing train in North Korea in September 2018. BEN CRUACHAN

The train had its own 55,000-litre diesel tank wagon, and was required to take any unused fuel back to South Korea after the 2,600km trip on December 17.

The inspection trip started on the 400km northern section of the Gyeongui Line, running along the western side of the Korean Peninsula from Kaesŏng to Sinuiji.

The Gyeongui Line was originally built by Japanese occupation forces and opened in 1906 connecting Seoul with the Chinese border at Sinuiji.

Read more in the February 2019 issue of The RM – on sale now!


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