The newly-built Gangneung KTX bullet train line links Incheon Airport to the port of Gangneung, crossing the north of the country from coast to coast and connecting Seoul to the Winter Olympic venues in Pyeongchang.
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, along with the purpose-built Jeongseon Alpine Centre.
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 set to be Incheon Airport, Seoul Station, Cheongnyangni, and Sangbong. The majority of trains (35 per day) will start from Cheongnyangni or Sangbong, both located in the northeast of the city; 16 trains per day will originate from Incheon Airport and stop at Seoul Station then Cheongnyangni Station. Cheongnyangni will therefore have by far the greatest frequency of service.
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 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 to Gangneung is expected to be around an hour, with an estimated fare of around 30,000 won ($30 US)
Construction of the Gangneung KTX is already complete, and the line is scheduled to enter full regular service in December 2017.
Tickets can be booked up to 30 days in advance; you can do this on the Korail website, but note that it hasn’t yet been updated with the new stations. If you’re planning on staying in Seoul for the Olympics and taking the train to the venues, there are three key bits of advice – take advantage of the Pyeongchang Pass if you’re making repeated round-trips, reserve your train seats ASAP (i.e. 30 days before) as they’re likely to be at capacity, and try to stay as close as possible to Seoul’s Cheongnyangni Station (in the northeast of the city) if you’re concerned about journey times. If you’re more concerned about being close to good nightlife, sightseeing etc (and don’t mind having to take taxis if you end up back at Cheongnyangni after the Metro finishes), it’s better to stay near Seoul Station.
If you’re trying to work out your Pyeongchang 2018 transportation & accommodation options, see here for more details
For more on Pyeongchang 2018 generally, click here
Any questions about the Gangneung KTX? Leave a message below!