Trams in Pyongyang

Pyongyang Tram is a public tram system in Pyongyang, the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea). The first line of the current system opened in 1989. There are currently four lines in operation.

Pyongyang Tram
Tatra T6B5K 1162, Pyongyang, 2005.jpg
Older Tatra T6B5 vehicles on tram line 1
LocaleNorth Korea Pyongyang
Transit typeTram
Number of lines4
Line number1, 2, 3, Kumsusan
Began operation1989
Operator(s)Guidance Bureau of Passenger Service in Pyongyang[1]
Train length2 car multiple unit, 3 section articulated tram
System length53.5 km (33 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in)
ElectrificationOverhead DC 600 V, 20 A; up to 200 A during acceleration
Top speed60 kilometres per hour (37 mph)
Tram Lines in Pyongyang

Map of Pyongyang Trams.png

Pyongyang Tram
평양 궤도전차
平壤 軌道電車
Revised RomanizationPyeongyang gwedojeoncha
McCune–ReischauerP'yŏngyang kwedojŏnch'a
A Tatra T6B5 vehicle in Pyongyang.
A crowded Line 1 tram during afternoon rush hour in 2012.


Before the Korean War from 1950 to 1953, there were three tramway systems in the entire Korean Peninsula: one each in Seoul, Busan and Pyongyang. However, the system in Pyongyang was discontinued after the war, largely due to the significant destruction of the city by US/UN bombing attacks. The remaining two in Seoul and Busan survived the war but were eventually discontinued too when motorcars became more common and a larger means of transport in South Korea in 1968, thus leaving no tramway networks on the peninsula.[citation needed]

During the North Korean famine, the service of tram lines became sparse, and often trams would not run due to the lack of drivers and shortage of electricity.[2]

Unlike South Korea, personal ownership of automobiles in North Korea is very rare. North Koreans, especially those living in Pyongyang and other major cities, rely mainly on public transport. In Pyongyang, there are trolleybuses (the Pyongyang trolleybus system) and subways (the Pyongyang Metro), with these two serving as its main forms of public transport. However, as trolleybus lines became gradually overcrowded, the city decided to re-open tram-lines. The first line was built and opened in 1989.[3]

A number of Tatra T4 trams and its trailer B4 were bought from Dresden, Magdeburg and Leipzig in 1997–1998.[4]

In 2003, however, the section of Line 1 between P'yŏngyang-yŏk and Songyo was closed, as the bridge over Taedong River started to deteriorate,[5] splitting Line 1 into two parts divided by the Taedong River. The section from Songyo to Songsin was eventually replaced by a trolleybus in 2014. The part crossing the bridge was replaced by a bus service.

In 2008, the City Transportation Company of Prague sold 20 used T3s to Pyongyang Public Transportation Enterprise together with a shipment of tram-rails. These trams were built ranging from 1967 for the Tatra T3 in original modification, to 1987 for the T3SUCS modification.[6][7] According to Ondřej Pečený, a spokesman for the City Transportation Company of Prague, these trams are in very good condition, and can run for at least two years without the need of a service. The tram cars were made by Tatra, a Czechoslovak company, during that nation's socialist era. Various types are used, but there are currently no low-floor tram cars.[citation needed]

Foreign tourists were previously not permitted to ride the tram lines, but some recent tours have started to include tramway rides (though rides are not shared with locals and are instead chartered, unlike the Pyongyang Metro).[3][8]

Due to the need for transport, tram drivers cannot afford to relax, even on holidays.[9]


There are currently three lines in operation plus a meter gauge line operated by the military.[10]

Line Number  Route   Notes 
#1[5] Mangyongdae-guyok (만경대; 萬景臺) - Pyongyang station (평양역; 平壤驛) Formerly ran to Songsin until bridge was closed to tram traffic, line split into Mangyongdae- Pyongyang Station and Songsin-Songyo until 2014, when during reconstruction of tram lines elsewhere, this line was converted to trolleybus line #4

Replaced former trolleybus line 10 from Mangyongdae to Chollima Street and 8 to Hwanggumbol station.

Trams housed at Songsan Depot, Mangyongdae-guyok,[11] operated by Songsan Tram Service Company.[12]

#2[13] Munsu (문수; 紋繡) -

T'osŏng (토성; 土城)

Runs on east side of Taedong River, replaced former trolleybus line 7.

Trams housed at Munsu Tram Office[14]

#3[15] West P'yŏngyang Station (서평양; 西平壤) -

Rangrang (락랑; 樂浪)

Only line to currently cross the Taedong River

Trams housed at depot at Rangnang, operated by Rangnang Tram Station.[1]

Kumsusan Samhung station


Kumsusan Palace of the Sun (금수산태양궁전)

Operated when mausoleum opened to replace Kwangmyong station.

Operated by the military using meter gauge SWS/MFO/BBC Be 4/4 trams and SIG B4 trailers.[16]

As of 2006, the fare is ₩5 for any section. There are also coupon tickets (시내 차표; 市內車票; sinae ch'ap'yo) issued in the form of tickets inserted into the fare box.[17]

Rolling stockEdit

Prior to 2018, the rolling stock used were the Czechoslovakian ČKD Praha Tatra T6B5K, Tatra T3/SUCS, Tatra T4D and B4D and KT8D5K in either red/white livery or blue/white.[3] The Kŭmsusan line uses VBZ Be 4/4 Type Ib rolling stock on a different gauge of 1,000 mm, rather than 1,435 mm for lines 1–3. The Shenyang ST4 had been retired in 1999 due to their failing articulation joint and subsequently converted into Chollima-961/971 trolleybuses while it is possible others were sent to the Chongjin tram system where they received a new body at the Chongjin Bus Factory.[18]

For the full list, see Trams and trolleybuses in North Korea

In August 2018, following the introduction of new trolleybuses and metro cars, new partially domestically-produced tram cars were introduced in Pyongyang for the first time in about twenty years.[19] The bodies were manufactured by Pyongyang's Bus Repair Factory and named Tongil, on the chassis of the Tatra KT8D5K.[3]

A VBZ tram on the Kŭmsusan line in 2005.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Naenara Democratic People's Republic of Korea". Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  2. ^ "Naenara Democratic People's Republic of Korea". Archived from the original on 2021. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  3. ^ a b c d "New tram cars appear on Pyongyang's Liberation Street line | NK News - North Korea News". NK News - North Korea News. 2018-07-31. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  4. ^ "Pyongyang, tramway — Roster". Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  5. ^ a b "平壌市軌道電車(路面電車)1号線". Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  6. ^ "Pyongyang, Tatra T3SUCS — Roster". Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  7. ^ "North Korea, Tatra T3 — Roster". Retrieved 2021-07-30.
  8. ^ "Public transport tours".
  9. ^ "Rodong Sinmun". Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  10. ^ "Pyongyang". Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  11. ^ "로동신문". Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  12. ^ "Naenara Democratic People's Republic of Korea". Archived from the original on 2021. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  13. ^ "平壌市軌道電車(路面電車)2号線". Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  14. ^ "로동신문". Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  15. ^ "平壌市軌道電車(路面電車)3号線". Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  16. ^ "Pyongyang, Kumsong Depot (1000 mm) — Roster". Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  17. ^ "平壌市軌道電車(路面電車)". Retrieved 2021-01-26.
  18. ^ "Shenyang ST4 — Roster". Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  19. ^ "개발창조형의 궤도전차 생산" [Domestic creation of tramcar production]. Sogwang (in Korean). 2018-08-14. Retrieved 2018-09-14.

Further readingEdit

  • Hayato Kokubu, Shōgun-sama no Tetsudō: Kitachōsen Tetsudō Jijō (将軍様の鉄道 北朝鮮鉄道事情; "Railway of the Dear Leader: The Railway Situation in North Korea"), 2007. (ISBN 4103037318)

External linksEdit