South Korea’s national train operator Korail has announced the signing of a contract with Hyundai Rotem for 30 EMU-250 trains by August 2020 valued at 101.4 billion won.
As reported last month, the trains will be used on the Gyeongjeon Line which connects the southern Jeolla and Gyeongsang provinces. The line has been undergoing double tracking and realignment work in phases, with a 51.5km section from Jinju to Gwangyang scheduled to open next month. Another section from Masan to Bujeon (Busan) will be completed in 2020.
Based on Korea’s next generation high speed train, the HEMU-430, the EMU-250 has a top speed of 250 km/h. Unlike the current ITX-Saemaul services (EMU-150), the new trains use a distributed traction system with an engine on each individual car, allowing for better acceleration and is also safer during emergency breaking.
Production on the HEMU-430 began in July 2007, and in March 2013 reached a speed of 421.4km/h during tests.
Korail hopes that the signing of the contract will make it a competitive player in the high-speed rail market dominated by China and Japan. The operator has shown interest in the planned high-speed railway connection between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, as well as the Ankara – Sivas and Ankara-Izmir high-speed railways under construction in Turkey.