South Korea opens new high-speed rail line

South Korea on Wednesday opened a new high-speed railway linking its capital to major cities in the southwestern part of the country, reducing the travel time by up to one hour, the transportation ministry said.

The much-awaited start of KTX service to Gwangju and the southwestern port city of Mokpo was marked in a ceremony at Gwangju-Songjeong KTX station in Gwangju, 330 kilometers from Seoul, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
The ceremony was attended by some 1,200 people, including government officials and lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties.

The opening of the new Seoul-Mokpo KTX line comes 11 years after the country launched the express train service on the Seoul-Busan line.

KTX service to Gwangju and Mokpo has been available, but the travel time between the cities was about the same as conventional train service as the lack of a specially designed railway for express trains between Daejeon and Mokpo had prevented express trains from traveling at full speed.

The new KTX-only railway to Mokpo will allow traveling at full speed all the way from Seoul, reducing the minimum time of travel from the capital to Gwangju by nearly an hour from the current 2 hours and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 33 minutes, the ministry said.


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