News / Asia

S. Korea's Newest Trains Take Tracks Less Traveled

S. Korea's Newest Trains Take the Tracks Less Traveledi
X
May 13, 2013 2:30 PM
South Korea's national railroad operator has initiated two new lines. They are intended to give passengers a chance to re-explore a scenic rural region whose glory faded amid the decline of the timber and coal industries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman went along for a ride.
South Korea's national railroad operator has initiated two new lines. They are intended to give passengers a chance to re-explore a scenic rural region whose glory faded amid the decline of the timber and coal industries.
    
If you are in a hurry, do not take South Korea's newest trains.   

The electric four-coach O-Train, running four times daily, circles a five-hour 257-kilometer course with stops at 13 stations.

The three-coach V-Train operates three times daily on a 70-minute shuttle between two rural stations 28 kilometers apart.  

On the O-Train, KORAIL attendant Baeck Da-eun explains that those accustomed to high-speed rail travel will experience a significant change of pace and style during a ride on what is known as the spine of the Korean peninsula, until now mostly accessible only by unpaved winding roads.   

“When passengers board for the first time, at first they are awed by the trains' exterior design and the internal décor. But what they seem to like most is the ability to take in such beautiful scenery,” Da-eun said.

  • The O-train at Seoul Station, South Korea, May 9, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
  • A colorful snack bar in the O-train, May 9, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
  • A children's play area in a car of the O-train, May 9, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
  • The V-train rolls shuttle between two countryside stations and has large windows to allow better views of the scenery, May 9, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
  • A view of rural South Korea from the V-train, May 9, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)
  • A farmer steps out of his field to exchange eggs for beer from V-train passengers during a brief stop at a rural station, May 9, 2013. (R. Kalden/VOA)

To give passengers time to enjoy viewing the numerous valleys, the V-Train crawls along at an average speed of just 30 kilometers per hour, occasionally stopping at the most scenic spots.
 
Some passengers disembark to stretch their legs and watch a group of farmers.

Others remain on board waving to those working in the field and strike up a brief conversation.

While the V-train's leisurely pace, French-designed interior, large windows and whistle stops harken back to a different era, it also features 21st century technology.

Each of its three coaches is topped with solar panels, generating five kilowatts a day to power the lights, fans and doors.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

Al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs