As part of the plans to restore another rail link to North Korea, the Gyeongwon line branch which currently terminates at Shintanri Station (신탄리역) will be extended to Baekmagoji Station (백마고지역) in Cheorwon, Gangwondo on November 20. Prior to the Korean war, trains would travel between Yongsan and Wonsan using the line which was built in 1914.
The branch currently serves stations on the line north of Dongducheon Station with commuter trains, which leave the station every hour. Unfortunately the trains are not integrated into the metro system which means there are no discounts for transfers and passengers must purchase separate tickets. View a map of the line branching out from Seoul here.
The extension will mean that Baekmagoji will become South Korea’s most northern rail terminus in use and is located just several kilometres south of the DMZ. KORAIL said that the new station would contribute to revitalizing the economy and tourism in the area. The station was named after the Battle of White Horse, a battle between Chinese and UN forces during the Korean war in the area.
Unfortunately for the residents of Shintan-ri, local businesses could see a drop in customers. The extension means that residents living further north that had to previously transfer to buses will most likely not pass through the area anymore. The station will also lose tourists once it loses its current status of most northern station.
It must not be forgotten that one of the main reasons for this extension is to eventually reconnect the line to the North Korean end of the Gyeongwon Line and long term plans see the line extended across the border to Pyeonggang Station.
Check out this blog for some historic photos of the line before and during the war.