Korea backs east coast route
CONSTRUCTION of a 504 km rail corridor up the eastern coast of South Korea is to be completed by 2014, connecting the port of Pusan with the Trans-Siberian landbridge. South Korea's Vice-Minister of Construction & Transportation announced the go-ahead for the project on April 30, ahead of the second meeting of the Inter-Korean Economic Co-operation Committee on May 7 - 11.
The project comprises two new or reopened links totalling 298 km, which will connect with existing KNR lines. The government is currently studying options for financing the project, and expects to start detailed design work by mid-year.
The first phase covers the 171 km Mid-Eastern line from Pohang, northeast of Pusan, to Samchok just south of Tonghae. This is costed at 2440m won, and is expected to take eight years to build. The 127 km northern link is to be completed six years later at a cost of 1850m won. This includes new construction between Kangnung and Yangyang, and reconstruction of the long-disused route from there to the border. North Korea will be asked to reinstate the old line between the border and Wonsan, where it will connect with the Trans-Korean line to Khasan which is being refurbished with Russian assistance (RG 11.00 p730).
Meanwhile, Unification Minister Jeong Se-Hyun says renovation of the 24 km gap in the Seoul - Sinuiju line should be completed by October. Over 10 km of the 12 km southern section has been finished, and South Korea has offered assistance with rebuilding the 12 km North Korean link from Changdan to Kaesong.