South Korea Unveils New High-Speed Bullet Train in Black and White
Korea’s new high-speed train HEMU-430X showed its long, navy nose to the public for the first time in this southeastern city of Changwon on Wednesday.
The faster and bigger successor to the KTX-Sancheon is the nation’s second bullet train developed with local technologies and its production has been carried out in the city by Hyundai Rotem, the train maker.
The HEMU, short for High-speed Electric Multiple Unit, is also the nation’s first high-speed train driven not by end cars but engines uniformly distributed under the individual coaches. The number comes from its maximum speed, 430 km/h (267 mph). That makes it the fourth-fastest train in the world, behind bullet trains in France, China and Japan.
The advanced prototype increases space for passengers by 16 percent compared to existing KTX trains and enhances the train’s performance overall, according to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.
As a result, the HEMU can carry up to 456 passengers at a speed of 370 kilometers an hour, which is 70 kilometers per hour faster than its predecessor, the KTX, which carries 363 people.
For the Hemu project, the government spent five years since 2007 and 93.1 billion won, with the participation of 52 organizations such as Korea Railroad Research Institute and Hyundai Rotem, the heavy industry unit of Hyundai Motor.
With commercial operation set to begin as early as 2015, it will take only an hour and a half for the train to connect the 450 kilometer stretch from between Seoul and Busan.