DMZ Train (aka Peace Train) Korean평화열차) is a South Korean excursion train operated by Korail. The train began operations in 2014 and transports tourists from Seoul to train terminals closest to the Korean Demilitarized Zone.[1][2]

DMZ Train
(Peace Train)
DMZ Train Logo.png
Korea DMZ Train 01 (14061927467).jpg
The DMZ Train, or Peace Train, waiting at a platform.
Overview
Service typeTourist train
Excursion train
StatusSuspended
LocaleSouth Korea
First serviceMay 4, 2014 (west)
August 1, 2014 (east)
Last serviceOctober 2, 2019
Current operator(s)Korail
Route
StartSeoul Station
StopsWestern route: 5
Eastern route: 8
EndDorasan station
Baengmagoji station
Line(s) usedGyeongui Line
Gyeongwon Line
Technical
Rolling stockKorail CDC
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge

OverviewEdit

The first train opened on May 4, 2014, and travels on the Gyeongui Line, in South Korea's northwest, running from Seoul Station to Dorasan station.[3][4] The train crosses the Imjingang Railroad Bridge on the Imjin River and arrives in Paju, Gyeonggi close to the DMZ.[5] The North Korean city of Kaesong, where the defunct Kaesong industrial park is located, is 15 km (9.3 mi) away.[6] At the Imjingang station passengers must debark for an identification check and head count because Dorasan is the only train station located within the civilian-restricted area.[1]

The DMZ train ended a four-year break of passenger service to Dorasan station, started in April 2002 under the Sunshine Policy, and suspended by the Ministry of National Defense in 2010 after a person attempted crossing the DMZ into North Korea.[7][8] The station is 205 km (127 mi) from Pyongyang and 56 km (35 mi) from Seoul and a sign there reads, "This is not the last station from the South, but the first station toward the North".[6] Some tourist activities at the final stop are bus and walking tours to the Dorasan Peace Park, the Third Tunnel, and the Dora Observatory.[1][2][9]

The second route opened on August 1, 2014,[10] and travels 100 km (62 mi) on the Gyeongwon Line northeast from Seoul Station to Baengmagoji station, in Cheorwon County, Gangwon-do.[11] It is the last station currently open on that line, followed by the now closed Woljeong-ri station in the DMZ, where visitors may tour, and Wonsan station, now located in North Korea, where trains used to arrive from Seoul in the early 20th century, but stopped after Korea's division.[11][12] Some other off-train tour visits are White Horse Hill and Cheorwon Peace Observatory.[13][14]

 
DMZ Train interior
 
Imjingang Railroad Bridge

The train has three themed cars: "Peace Car" with a rusty steam train motif symbolizing the separation of the Korean peninsula, "Harmony Car", with paintings of red and blue figurines holding hands, and "Love Car" with paintings of adults and children from across the globe, also, holding hands. Inside the cars, ceilings are covered with pinwheels, and walls display photographs of the DMZ, with themes of war, trains, and ecology.[2][9]

ReceptionEdit

Soon after the opening of the first route to Dorasan station, on June 11, 2014, Song In-geol of The Hankyoreh reported ridership of around 10,000 for the first month, and the trip's significance, "...for South Koreans who moved here from the North, it is the road home, as well as memory lane; for young people and families, it is a way to experience the separation of the peninsula; for visitors from overseas, it is a journey motivated by curiosity".[3]

In July 2017, BBC News journalist Steve Evans called it "one of the most bizarre train journeys in the world", and said, "It is a political journey, it is designed to make the point that the train goes and can go no further".[8]

OperationsEdit

Western - Gyeongui Line

Eastern - Gyeongwon Line

SuspensionEdit

On April 1, 2019, the eastern service was suspended due to construction of the new double tracked & electrified alignment of the Gyeongwon Line between Dongducheon station and Yeoncheon station.[15] The eastern service is expected to resume when construction on the line is completed.

On October 2, 2019, the western service was suspended due to concerns about an outbreak of African swine fever, as requested by Paju City.[16] It is unknown when the western service will resume.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Yun, Suh-young (September 17, 2014). "Train ride to the DMZ". The Korea Times. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c “통일위해 달린다” 평화열차 DMZ트레인 타보니… (in Korean). NK Chosun. May 13, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Song, In-geol (June 11, 2014). "Peace Train goes to DMZ, but can't take Koreans home". The Hankyoreh. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  4. ^ 경의선 평화열차 DMZ-트레인 연계관광 확대 (in Korean). Yonhap/Reuters. October 20, 2014. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  5. ^ Crawford, Matthew C. (August 8, 2014). "Craving peace on the DMZ train". The Korea Herald. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Lee, Chi-dong (February 24, 2017). "(Yonhap Feature) DMZ Train takes tourists to inter-Korean border". Yonhap. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  7. ^ Jeon Ick-jin and Jo Soo-min (May 13, 2014). "Train to Dorasan station in DMZ resumes". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Evans, Steve (July 17, 2017). "The Seoul train that goes to the border and back". BBC News Online. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Lee, Seung-ah (May 26, 2014). "DMZ Train takes you to the border". Korea.net. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  10. ^ Lee, Sun-ho (October 22, 2014). "Battles of White Horse Hill". The Korea Times. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "S. Korea puts 'peace train' to Cherwon in service". Yonhap. July 31, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  12. ^ Yang, Bo-ra (September 2, 2017). "Train to Cheorwon takes visitors back to the past : Visit the northernmost station in South Korea for only 1,000 won". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  13. ^ "DMZ Unification Train, dreaming of running freely from Seoul to Cherwon and far beyond". Ministry of the Interior and Safety (South Korea). October 4, 2016. Archived from the original on December 19, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  14. ^ Yoon, Sojung (July 28, 2014). "New train line to North Korea". Korea.net. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  15. ^ "동두천~백마고지 경원선 열차 다음달부터 2년간 올 스톱". March 30, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  16. ^ ""[공지] DMZ-train(용산↔도라산) 운행조정 알림"". October 2, 2019.

External linksEdit