Non-stop Seoul-Busan services to return mid-2017

Incheon International Aiport KTX

Today the Ministry for Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced that non-stop trains between Seoul and Busan would be making a comeback in June or July this year.

The new services would reduce travel time between the two cities to 1 hour 50 minutes, more than 25 minutes faster than current KTX services which stop at Daejeon and Daegu. As for ticket prices, the possibility of higher fares for fewer stops is also being considered.

You may remember that Korail previously operated direct services between the cities from 2010 to 2015, but were scrapped after they were deemed unprofitable. However, with the introduction of the SRT the number of high-speed trains increased by 40%. This has allowed more flexibility with timetables, and the number of services stopping at less than three stations has already risen from 11% to 23%.

MOLIT says it will need to run simulations to assess how many of the non-stop trains it can run per day, but that it would like to operate as many as possible – including SRT services. SRT operator Supreme Railways (SR) currently has the fastest service from Seoul(Suseo) to Busan at 2 hours 9 minutes.

Sources: Busan Ilbo | MOLIT

About This Author

Originally from New Zealand, Andy moved to Korea in 2007 and very quickly became interested in the many different public transport and urban development projects around Korea. He currently lives in Sejong city and is particularly interested in rail projects, transport hubs and technology.


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  • It seems like it must have been lack of service that’s been holding back greater high-speed rail ridership, if they’re restarting a service so soon after SRT started operation. Makes the quadruple-tracking of the Gyeongbu HSR down through Cheonan seem like a wise bit of planning, and I wonder how long domestic air service will last at this rate, particularly in consideration of the government’s plan for rail infrastructure build out over the next decade or so.

    Luke 1 year ago Reply

    • It seems they just weren’t getting the numbers for a viable direct service previously, and it meant passengers wanting to travel a shorter distance had one less service. It will interesting to see what the demand is for them once they start back up again. Curious as to which quadruple-tracking you mean, or is it just something you’re suggesting. As for other modes of transport since SRT services began flights and express buses have already seen a reduction in passengers, don’t have the numbers on me now but I’ll post them here later if I find them.

      Andy Tebay 1 year ago Reply


        Apparently, there’s been a bottleneck on the Gyeongbu HSR in between Pyeongtaek and Osong, which is only expected to get worse with the start of SRT services and the opening of new lines throughout the country. Speeds have been reduced throughout this section from a max of 300kph down to 170kph to allow all the trains to pass through safely. The quadrupling of tracks in that section will also allow direct service to Suwon and Incheon, in addition to letting the trains reach max speed, which would be particularly important for a 2-stop Seoul-Busan train.

        Korail expects the quadrupling to be done by 2023.

        Luke 1 year ago Reply

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