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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Waiting for the KTX at East Daegu Station

From Busan to Seoul: Gyeongbu High Speed Railway. 
After staying two days in Gyeongju (경주시) and visiting Seokguram and Bulguksa Temple it's time to go back to Seoul. We came from Seoul by bus. It took almost four hours. But we'll return via KTX high speed train. KTX stands for Korean Train eXpress (한국고속철도). It's the Korean equivalent of French TGV's and Japanese Shinkansen bullet trains. In fact KTX-I design is derived from French TGV-R (Réseau) trains. 

We arrived to Dongdaegu Station (동대구역) and began waiting. Instead of staring at empty tracks I decide to look around and take some pictures.

East Daegu Station
Word "Dongdaegu" on the sign means "East Daegu". Dongdaegu is the chief station for Daegu (대구광역시), Korea's third largest city, and it serves express services & local services, as well as all KTX trains on the Gyeongbu High Speed Railway (경부고속철도) between Seoul and Busan.

Pigeon crossed the yellow line.
There are a few pigeons on the platform, strolling around like impatient passengers. Every now and then they go to the edge of the platform and gaze at the rails, as if they are also waiting for the train.

Korean soldiers.
Left - right. Left - right. Halt! There's a squad of ROK Army soldiers. Judging by the rucksacks on their backs they've been appointed to another Army base.

A KTX entering the station.
Here it comes! It's a KTX! This is not our train, though it's exciting to watch it as it enters the station. A few minutes later our train, KTX 124 will arrive.

A few clicks away from 300 km/h.
We're traveling at 294.4 km/h (aprox. 183 mph). A KTX train can speed up to 305 km/h (190 mph). The infrastructure is designed for 350 km/h (217 mph). A prototype of new KTX-II trains achieved the South Korean rail speed record of 352.4 km/h (219.0 mph) in tests. It is expected that in 2015 newly developed KTX-III trains will operate at 350 km/h (217 mph).  

Impressionist landscape.
At 295 km/h (183 mph) speed the landscape outside the window is blurry like an Impressionist painting. In spite of this break-neck speed you don't feel any discomfort. My fellow passengers are either reading magazines/newspapers or trying to take a glimpse of the view. I watch the interesting K-Pop music clips on the TV and keep my eye on the on-screen speedometer.

KTX booth at Seoul Station.
It's 12:21 and we arrived in Seoul. The trip between Daegu and Seoul took almost one hour forty five minutes. Just as the Korean "Pali Pali" (빨리 – 빨리) mentality of efficiency & speed suggests: "Hurry Hurry" or "Faster Faster"... 

Outside the Seoul Station.
We leave the Seoul Station and head to our hotel for a quick shower and change our clothes. No time to waste. So much to see in the city... Pali pali!

Image Credit: All photos & video by Sinan Yuzakli

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