The newly-built Gangneung KTX bullet train line (officially called the Gyeonggang Line) links Incheon Airport to the port city of Gangneung, crossing the north of the country from coast to coast and connecting Seoul to the Winter Olympic venues in Pyeongchang. The line started service in December 2017; you can see the full schedule here (scroll down to see the schedule during the Olympics & Paralympics), and you can search & book online here
Construction of the line formed a key part of the Pyeongchang 2018 bid, shortening the Seoul – Pyeonchang travel time from 2.5 hours on the highway to just an hour by train. The line was actually planned regardless of the Olympics, but the awarding of the Games to Korea provided the impetus to finally get it built; the Gangneung KTX is therefore arguably the main legacy of Pyeongchang 2018.
The new line runs from the city of Wonju across to Gangneung; trains will run along existing tracks from Incheon & Seoul to Wonju, and then onto the new tracks from there.
The stations on the new line are:
Manjong (in Wonju)
The stops in Seoul – Incheon are Incheon Airport, Geomam, Seoul Station, Cheongnyangni, and Sangbong (Incheon Airport & Geomam are only included during the Olympic period). During the Olympics 35 trains per day will originate from Seoul Station, Cheongnyangni, or Sangbong; Cheongnyangni (in the northeast of the city) has the highest frequency of service. Furthermore, 16 trains per day will originate from Incheon Airport and stop at Geomam plus Seoul Station and/or Cheongnyangni on the way through to Jinbu and Gangneung.
There’s an accurate map here (and that’s a cool site if you’re interested in Korea and a bit of an infrastructure geek!). The other maps on this page are approximate (I knocked them up on Google Maps):
This line will of course be of great benefit to the population in the region, but also game-changing for us skiers and boarders wanting to get to Korea’s best ski resorts from Seoul – travel times will be significantly reduced for a number of Gangwon-do resorts, including but not limited to the Olympic host resorts, as follows (with closest station in brackets):
1. Oak Valley (Manjong Station)
2. Welli Hilli Park (Dunnae Station)
3. Phoenix Park (Pyeongchang Station)
4. Jeongseon Alpine Centre (Jinbu Station)
5. Yongpyong & Alpensia (Jinbu Station)
6. High1 (via Gangneung, but still requiring a 2-hour local train or highway bus from there)
Click on each resort name for its Snow Guide Korea review, with full access details including how the journey is expected to work using the Gangneung KTX.
The journey time from Seoul Station to Gangneung is just under 2 hours, for a fare of 27,600 won ($30 US); Cheongnyangni to Pyeongchang is just over an hour.
You can easily buy train tickets on the day from the ticket machines or manned ticket counters at railway stations, but trains do sell out (especially during peak hours & on holidays) so if you want to be sure of a seat on a specific train it’s better to book in advance. Again you can do this in person by visiting a station, or you can try booking online on the official Korail site; depending on your browser or your credit/bank card it may not work for you, in which case try Trip.com for a more international-friendly (and generally more user-friendly) experience (usually for a few percent markup, but sometimes Trip is actually cheaper). Tickets can be reserved up to 30 days in advance.
For more on Pyeongchang 2018 generally, click here
Any questions about the Gangneung KTX? Leave a message below!