South Korea’s first bullet trains to begin service

SEOUL: South Korea's first bullet train goes into service this week promising to transform people's lives by easing the country's chronic traffic congestion. 

After 14 trillion won (RM46bil) of investment and years of delay caused by the 1997 Asian financial crisis and major engineering obstacles, the 300kph train will open for business on April 1 on two lines linking this city to Busan in the southeast and Mokpo in the southwest. 

The construction of the new rail system, dubbed Korea Train Express (KTX), is considered a seminal national event here, on a par with the completion of South Korea's first highway from Seoul to Busan in 1970. 

Kim Se-Ho, head of the state-run Korean National Railroad, said KTX would bring about “revolutionary changes to logistics and people's lives.” 

“By mixing KTX with other means of transportation, you can reach anywhere in the country within a half day,” he said of the French technology-based bullet train. 

Lifestyles would improve as people abandon congested cities for the countryside in search of cheaper rent and clean air and residents in provincial cities would be able to shop and see art performances in Seoul, he said. – AFP  

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