KORAIL orders 30 new high-speed trains from Hyundai Rotem

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.

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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  • I’m pretty sure that the ITX-Saemaul trains are distributed traction units. EMU-150 means electric multiple unit-150km/h, i.e., distributed traction.

    I’m wondering if these new EMU-250 units will be used elsewhere, perhaps to help deal with increasing demand for KTX services on the Gyeongbu HSR.

    Luke 2 years ago Reply

  • Please correct me if I am wrong, but as I now Hyundai-(Rotem)’s and Daewoo’s heavy rail equipment were utilized only in Taiwan in higher amount (like the passenger cars of E1000, EMU400-600) by now. Remember, few years ago Ukraine’s UZ had to withdraw the entire fleet of HRCS2 made by Hyundai-Rotem, because of extreme winter environments and there were also plenty of suffering with the new KTX-Sancheon 110000 upon its introduction, so I think majority of the customers still prefer (unfortunately) China’s garbage or Japan. To tell the truth, it’s hard to compete with companies, who are backed by a government, who didn’t need financial cover to build a high-speed line in Indonesia.

    On the other hand, Turkey seems to be quite satisfied with the Siemens stuff however the KL – SG line is still an interesting match.

    George 2 years ago Reply

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