As amazing as many high-speed rail projects have been, they can’t beat the sheer logistics of building a high-speed rail connection from Seoul to Beijing that runs straight through North Korea. The groundbreaking proposal turned up today in the South Korean newspaper Daily Economic Report, and consists of two stages.
The first would use the existing railway infrastructure from Busan to Seoul to create a high-speed rail connection starting from the capital of South Korea and running to the North Korean cities of Pyongyang and Sinuiju, located across from China. The second stage will then connect the Korean railway with China’s existing high-speed network to Beijing.
The line is already dubbed the “Beijing-Seoul Daily Life Cycle” and is apparently being bankrolled by South Korean companies. The report says work on the project is already underway and will supposedly be finished by 2020. Once done, a trip from Beijing to Seoul would take just six hours.
China is already building a high-speed railway line from Shenyang to Dandong, and is planning by 2019 to connect Shenyang with Beijing. A Sohu report said the Seoul line – an ambitious project to be sure – could only be finished by 2030 if work began today.
A South Korean expert in railway technology research said both China and Russia are interested in seeing the project become reality because North Korea is the only place on the continent still not yet connected by rail.
The Seoul to Sinuiju railway connection is estimated to cost 8 trillion korean Won ($7.18 billion). The total cost of the entire project is estimated to be 20 trillion Korean Won ($17.8 billion).