First rail service in 50 years begins across Korean borders

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Map showing North and South Korea.

For the first time in over a half a century, regular train service hosting cargo crossed between North and South Korea.

The train is 12 cars long and is carrying building materials to Kaesong, a key industrial junction for the two countries. The train will head back immediately after unloading. The service will continue at least once every week day.

South Korean leaders say that cargo trains are just a start, although North Korea will not allow anything beyond cargo as of yet. "Though we start with a cargo train, it will lead to a passenger train service and will soon be linked to the continental trains," said Korean Railroad President, Lee Chul to the press.

Buses, cars, and trucks are allowed across the border, but trains have not been until now. The roads which allowed those types of vehicles to enter North Korea were rebuilt after the first summit held between the two nations in 2000. The rail lines were destroyed in the 1950s during the Korean War.

The agreement to allow a cargo service was reached in October when the two nations met for a historical second summit.