KORAIL (Korean National Railroad) operates Korea’s fast, safe and reliable train service. Trains are rarely late and, unlike travel by car, will get you to your destination at the expected hour – no traffic jams, no delays. You can get to almost anywhere in the country by train and the prices are very affordable.
KORAIL operates three kinds of trains:
KTX (Korea Train Express) is South Korea’s high-speed rail system and runs at over 200 km/h. The KTX runs on two separate lines: the Gyeongbu Line trains depart from Seoul Station and goes from Seoul to Busan in 2 hours 40 minutes while the Honam Line leaves Yongsan Station to go as far as Mokpo in 3 hours (2 hours 58 minutes).
The Super-Express Saemaeul-ho is not quite a fast as the KTX and costs a little less. However it is still pretty fast and provides passengers with a variety of services including clean and spacious seats, pay-phone service, tables for notebook computers at your seat and a dining car. The train is divided into first and second class sections.
The Express Mugunghwa-ho is used by most people for travel from one city to the other. The service is more basic than the Super-Express but is quite clean and comfortable. It is even less expensive than the Super-Express, but is also divided into first and second class sections.
Seoul is the northern terminus of the KTX high-speed line to Daejon, Daeuju and Busan.
There are two KTX stations within Seoul’s city limits: Seoul Rail/Metro Station on Subway lines 1 and 4 (stops 426 and 135), and just a few stops south, Yongsan Rail/Metro Station on Line 1 (stop 136).
Both the Seoul and Yongstan Stations are each housed within an impressive shopping and entertainment complex with Seoul Station boasting a Train Museum that is open to the public.
Cheongnyangni Station: Nearly all ordinary (non-KTX) services also use one or both of the above terminals, but services east to Chuncheon and southeast to Gyeongju via Danyang require that you use Cheongnyangni Station, to the east of the city on line 1 (stop K117 – was K125 and still appears as such on some subway maps) – you will have to exit the subway station to get to the train station. Cheongnyangni Station is also a center of business in east Seoul and as such there are many large stores and old style markets around it.Train Fares are determined by the type of train you take, the class section plus the day of the week and time.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at railway stations, tour agencies or the KNTO Tourist Information Center. Tel: 02-729-9498.
Reservations can also be made online in English (note that special discounts may not be posted in English). Once you click on the Korail website, click on Language and then English.
For more information visit the Korail Customer Service website.
Wheelchair Access: The Mugunghwa trains are equipped with wheelchair ramps in some cars, which also have a wheelchair accessible toilet. There is room for two electric or manual wheelchairs in the car. The newer train stations also have elevators (best to check with KoreaRail to confirm the accessibility of the station where you will be getting on/off).
Note: While some stations have elevators or are on the ground floor (more or less) there are sometimes stairs to get into/out of the station.