ON MARCH 8 the government of South Korea announced the formation of a working party to draw up plans for restructuring and privatisation of the country’s railways. The 11-strong team includes representatives from the Ministry of Construction & Transport, Korean National Railroad and the Korea High Speed Rail Authority. The Railway Reform Planning Task Force will work with the government’s Railway Reform Deliberation Committee to review changes to the legislative framework and ways of restructuring the two railways’ debts.

A draft law authorising restructuring of the rail industry was drawn up by the transport ministry in February, and has been approved by the cabinet before presentation to the National Assembly. The first stage is likely to see the KNR and KHSRA construction departments merged into a new Korea Railroad Construction Corp for flotation by the end of 2002. The railway operating businesses would be privatised during 2003.