The KTX-Eum train departs daily from Seoul's Cheongnyangni Station and continues on to Andong, North Gyeongsang Province. (Korail)
Nearly five months into its operation, the KTX-Eum -- a high-speed train service launched by Korail in January -- is gaining popularity among travelers and commuters alike.
Departing from Seoul’s Cheongnyangni Station for Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province, before making its way down to Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, the train, also known as the KTX EMU-260, is the eco-friendliest in the KTX lineup.
An employee sanitizes a KTX-Eum train. (Korail)
The KTX-Eum (pronounced “ee-eum”) is equipped with LTE-R technology, which connects to traffic controls in real time, preventing 70,000 tons’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions annually. It also cuts travel time in half compared with Korail’s regular Mugunghwa trains. During an opening ceremony on Jan. 4, President Moon Jae-in announced plans to replace all diesel trains with KTX-Eum trains by 2029.
The word “Eum” in Korean means “to unite by connecting.” The name was chosen in August from 6,041 entries submitted by members of the public, and reflects the hope that the train will connect different regions, people and happiness.
The number of passengers using Cheongnyangni, Andong and Jecheon stations has increased, according to Korail’s Daejeon-Chungcheong headquarters. A total of 320,000 people have used the service, for a daily average of 2,800 people.
“I have ridden the KTX-Eum from Jecheon to Andong, where my family is,” Seo Jeong-hyeon, a civil servant in her 20s, told The Korea Herald. “The facilities were sleek and new, and I love the fact that they had wireless phone chargers. The seating was very spacious, and unlike other trains that I’ve been on, there is a window for each row.”
For people riding the KTX-Eum, each destination city is offering promotions and discount packages, including gift cards that can be used to buy local goods.
The sign post, which once hung at the old Andong Station, reads "Andong Station" in Chinese characters. (Korail)
The city of Andong offers five city tours that take visitors to Hahoe Folk Village, Dosanseowon Confucian Academy and other historical sites. Jecheon City is promoting outdoor leisure activities in the vastness of nature, such as zip lining and paragliding. Yeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, offers car rental at the train station as part of its “Come to me, Yeongju” promotion. Hidden tourist locations await, including a local makgeolli brewery. Groups of up to four passengers can ride in a taxi for half price -- Yeongju City covers the rest.
“Thanks to the proactive collaboration of local governments, the travelers’ package programs are now running smoothly. Customers can conveniently transfer from the KTX-Eum to another transportation of their preference, to arrive in different tourist destinations,” said Jung Eun-jung, who is in charge of public relations at Korail.
The KTX-Eum currently makes 14 trips on weekdays and 16 trips on weekends. More information is available at Korail’s site, www.letskorail.com.
By Kim Hae-yeon (firstname.lastname@example.org