Korea Travel: KTX Trains
The Korea Train eXpress (KTX) is Korea's high-speed train operated by Korail.
KTX trains connect Seoul Station to Busan via Daejeon and Daegu on the Gyeongbu Line and Gwangju and Mokpo from Yongsan Station on the Honam Line. Both Seoul and Yongsan stations intersect with the Seoul subway system and other routes on the Korean rail system.
KTX trains came into service in 2004 and can reach speeds of 350kph, though speeds are limited to 300kph for safety reasons.
The second part of the high-speed rail link to the south-west is scheduled to start in 2013, cutting journey times from Seoul to Mokpo in the far corner of the peninsula to around two and a half hours.
With the completion of high-speed track from Daegu to Busan via Ulsan running time Seoul-Busan was cut to just under 2 hours.
At the time of writing (February 2012) a one-way ticket from Seoul to Busan on KTX costs 57,300 won, the most expensive standard-class ticket in the country. Saemaul will set you back 42,600 while taking the Mugunghwa costs 28,600.
Around 160,000 people on average use KTX trains on a daily basis.
The KTX design is based on the French TGV - due to frosty Korea-Japan relations at the time, the Korean government did not choose implement the shinkansen bullet train technology from neighbors Japan. The first 12 KTX trains were built in France with all other trains now made in Korea by Hyundai Rotem.
Jobs as KTX train drivers or as part of the train's female crew are very prestigious in Korea and highly sought after.