KTX services from Seoul to the city of Jinju began operating today following the opening of new electrified double tracking between the city and Masan. The extension also provides access to high speed trains, cutting what was previously a 6 hour 50 minute train journey to nearly half the time of 3 hours 28 minutes. It more than doubles the capacity for trains on the line from 40 to 140, and trains leave the station every 1 hour to 1 hour 25 minutes. Ten Seoul-bound KTX services a day leave Jinju Station (12 on Mondays) and six extra Mugunghwa and Saemaul trains have been added to the schedule.
The line was officially opened yesterday with a ceremony at the station where Mayor of Jinju, Lee Chang-hee said, “We thank the government for opening an age that connects Jinju to Seoul life in just a quarter of a day.’ The new connection is expected to increase transport convenience for those living in the Gyeongsangnam province and also reduce freight costs for businesses.
Construction on the 53.3km line began in 2003 and was extended from Masan Station, which also opened to KTX trains when it was connected to Samnangjin Station at the end of 2010. Five other stations on the line include Jungni, Haman, Gunbuk and Banseong, with KTX services to only stop at Haman and Masan stations. Haman is the first county to receive high speed rail services, with all other KTX stations located in cities. Despite a population of only 70,000, the decision for services to stop in the county was made due to the number of companies in the area.
The next extension from Jinju to the city of Gwangyang in Jeolla Province is expected to be completed in 2015. Eventually the line will connect to form a high-speed connection between the two major cities of Busan and Gwangju.