Korean State Railway

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조선 민주주의 인민 공화국 철도성
Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk Ch'ŏldosŏng
Korean State Railways
North korea railways.png
Map of rail lines in North Korea
Locale North Korea
Dates of operation 1948–
Predecessor South Manchuria Railway (to 1925), Chosen National Railway (to 1945)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
762 mm (2 ft 6 in)
1,524 mm (5 ft) (dual-gauge track from Tumanggang to Rajin)
Electrification 3000 V DC (1435 mm)
1500 V DC (762 mm)
Length >6000 km (1435 mm)
>375 km (762 mm)
Headquarters Pyongyang

Korean State Railway (Chosŏn'gŭl: 조선 민주주의 인민 공화국 철도성; MR: Chosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwaguk Ch'ŏldosŏng) of North Korea has its headquarters at Pyongyang. In 1998, the Minister of Railways was Pak Yong Sok.[1]


  • Track gauge: almost entirely standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) but a small mileage of narrow gauge of 762 mm (2 ft 6 in).
  • Route length: over 6000 km of standard gauge; over 376 km of 762mm narrow gauge
  • Electrification: over 5425 km of the standard-gauge lines at 3 kV DC (over 80% electrified); 295.5 km of the narrow gauge at 1.5 kV DC


2004 saw the worst known railway disaster in North Korea when an explosion at the station in Ryongchŏn destroyed buildings in a large swathe around the station, killing over a hundred and injuring over a thousand people.[citation needed]

In 2007, rail transport between North and South Korea was restarted with the re-opening of the Kaesong-Dorasan segment of the former Gyeongui Line across the DMZ, which had been dormant since the partition of Korea. The line was in regular use for freight trains running to the Kaesong industrial district from 2007 until mid-2008, after which the service was suspended due to growing tensions between the two countries. At the same time, the north-south connection of the Tonghae Pukpu Line was reopened, carrying passenger trains to the Mount Kumgang Tourist Region; this has also since fallen out of use for the same reason.


North Korea has an extensive network of standard and narrow gauge rail lines.[2] This list shows only the main trunk lines; branchlines are described on each line's page. For secondary standard-gauge lines and narrow-gauge lines, see the main article.

Trunk Lines

Narrow-gauge Lines
Narrow-gauge lines in North Korea are built to 762 mm gauge. Some are electrified at 1500 V DC. While there are such lines all over the country, the most important ones are in the northern part of the country. The longest of the narrow-gauge lines in North Korea is the Paengmu Line, which runs 191.7 km from Paegam to Musan, connecting the standard-gauge Paektusan Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line with the standard-gauge Musan Line.


The list of stations is as follows:

Station name Province Line
Anbyon Station Kangwon Kangwon Line
Kumgangsan Chongnyon Line
Chongpyong Station Hamgyongnam Pyongra Line
Chonnae Station Kangwon Kangwon Line
Chunghwa Station Pyongyang Pyongbu Line
Hamhung Station Hamgyongnam Pyongra Line
Hamju Station Hamgyongnam Pyongra Line
Hongwon Station Hamgyongnam Pyongra Line
Hungnam Station Hamgyongnam Pyongra Line
Ichon Chongnyon Station Kangwon Chongnyon Ichon Line
Kalli Station Pyongyang Pyongui Line
Kangso Station Pyongannam Pyongnam Line
Kilju Chongnyon Station Hamgyongbuk Pyongra Line
Kimchaek Station Hamgyongbuk Pyongra Line
Kosan Station Kangwon Kangwon Line
Kosong Station Kangwon Kumgangsan Chongnyon Line
Kowon Station Hamgyongnam Kangwon Line
Pyongra Line
Kumya Station Hamgyongnam Pyongra Line
Kyongsong Station Hamgyongbuk Pyongra Line
Munchon Station Kangwon Kangwon Line
Mundok Station Pyongannam Pyongui Line
Myongchon Station Hamgyongbuk Pyongra Line
Nampo Station Pyongannam Pyongnam Line
Opa Station Pyongannam Pyongui Line
Orang Station Hamgyongbuk Pyongra Line
Pangyo Station Kangwon Chongnyon Ichon Line
Potonggang Station Pyongyang Pyongui Line
Pyonggang Station Kangwon Kangwon Line
Pyongsan Station Hwanghaebuk Chongnyon Ichon Line
Pyongbu Line
Pyongsong Station Pyongannam Pyongra Line
Pyongyang Station Pyongyang Pyongbu Line
Pyongui Line
Pyongnam Line
Pyongra Line
Rajin Station Rason Pyongra Line
Ranam Station Hamgyongbuk Pyongra Line
Riwon Station Hamgyongnam Pyongra Line
Ryokpo Station Pyongyang Pyongbu Line
Ryonggang Station Pyongannam Pyongnam Line
Sepo Chongnyon Station Kangwon Chongnyon Ichon Line
Kangwon Line
Singye Station Hwanghaebuk Chongnyon Ichon Line
Sinpo Station Hamgyongnam Pyongra Line
Sinyang Station Pyongannam Pyongra Line
Sunchon Station Pyongannam Pyongra Line
Taepyong Station Pyongyang Pyongnam Line
Tongchon Station Kangwon Kumgangsan Chongnyon Line
Ungok Station Pyongannam Pyongra Line
Unsan Station Pyongannam Pyongra Line
Wonsan Station Kangwon Kangwon Line
Yangdok Station Pyongannam Pyongra Line

(North Hwanghae province)


(North Pyongan province)
Pyongui Line

Rolling stock[edit]

Pulg'ŭngi 5043 - "Red Flag 1"-class electric locomotive

Locomotives are a mixture of imported and locally built machines.[3] Since the early 1960s, locomotives have been built at the Kim Chŏng-tae Electric Locomotive Works at Pyongyang; rolling stock is constructed at several factories throughout the country.[2]

A passenger car in the Sinŭiju-P'yŏngyang train

The railway fleet consists of a mix of electric, diesel and steam locomotives. Railroad cars are mostly made in North Korea using Soviet and Chinese designs. There are some locomotives from the United States and Europe remaining in use. Particularly in recent years, a growing number of second-hand China National Railways locomotives have been spotted in active service on North Korean tracks.

Electric Locomotives and EMUs[edit]

  • Juche-class high speed train: A single 4-car high-speed EMU was built at Kim Chŏng-tae Electric Locomotive Works around 1976. It was idle for a number of years, but in 1998 it was reactivated as a special commuter train for scientists between P'yŏngyang and P'aesanjŏm.[2]
  • Red Flag-class locomotive-railbus: A unique combination electric locomotive with a section for carrying passengers. Numbered in the 900-xx series.[2]
  • Red Flag 1-class electric locomotive: Built in North Korea from 1962 at Kim Chŏng-tae Electric Locomotive Works as a licenced development of the Czechoslovakian ČSD Class E 499.1 electric locomotive by Škoda. This type accounts for over half of the DPRK's 290 electric locomotives.[2] These are numbered in the 5000, 5100, 5200 and 5300 series.
  • Red Flag 2-class electric locomotives. Further development of the Red Flag 1 class.[2] These have differently shaped cab ends, with squarer windshields than the Red Flag 1 type. These are numbered in the 5000, 5100, 5200 and 5300 series.
  • Mangyongdae-class electric locomotives: Further development of the Red Flag 1 class.[2] These have differently shaped cab ends, with squarer windshields than the Red Flag 1 type. These are numbered in the 5000, 5100, 5200 and 5300 series.
  • Red Flag 6-class electric locomotives: Permanently coupled two-section version of the Red Flag 2 class.[2]
  • Red Flag 7-class electric locomotives: Permanently coupled two-section locomotives with body design based on the GIE Francorail-MTE CSE26-21 type. Also known as Red Flag 2.16-class, the prototype is on display at the Museum of the Three Revolutions in P'yǒngyang.[2]
  • 150 series electric locomotives: medium-heavy electric switchers converted from Hungarian-made Ganz DVM4.
  • 170 series electric locomotives: medium-heavy electric switchers made in DPRK.[2]
  • 1000 series electric locomotives: light electric switchers made in DPRK.[2]
  • 2000 series electric locomotives: boxy mainline electric locomotives used mostly for passenger trains, made in DPRK.[2]
  • 4000 series electric locomotives: North Korean-built electric locomotives based on the Francorail-MTE diesel body. One, numbered 4054, is on display at the Museum of the Three Revolutions.
  • 90000 series electric locomotives: Due to oil shortages, the GIE Francorail-MTE CSE26-21 diesel locomotives were converted to electric locomotives; some were re-gauged to operate on electrified 762mm-gauge lines.[2]
Diagram of the JNR EF12/DeRoI type - in DPRK service known as Chŏngiha class
  • Chŏngiha class electric locomotives: DeRoI type, numbered 전기하1 through 전기하9. At least one is still in service.[2] Very similar to the Japan National Railway class EF12 locomotives, though with 2250 kW output as compared to the 1600 kW of the EF12.[4]
  • Grand Chŏllima March-class electric locomotives: a 1999 report from the Korean Central News Agency mentioned the construction of a new class of electric locomotives with this name by the Kim Chŏng-t'ae Locomotive Works. The article stated that the locomotives were to be deployed to the locomotive depots at Kilchu, Hŭichon and Kowŏn. However, no other reference to these locomotives has been located.[5]
  • Forced March-class (강행군 Kanghaenggun) electric locomotives: At least fifteen M62 diesel locomotives were converted to electric locomotives in 1998 and designated "Forced March" class, numbered 1.5-01 through 1.5-11.[2]
  • Songun Red Flag-class electric locomotives: A prototype for a new electric locomotive with asynchronous motors made by Kim Chŏng-tae Electric Locomotive Works was unveiled in 2011; the primary design goal was to create a locomotive that produces higher power output with lower power usage.[6]

Diesel Locomotives[edit]

  • 100 series - Chinese-built DF5, second-hand.
  • 200 series - Chinese-built DF4D, second-hand.[2]
  • 300 series - Chinese-built BJ, second-hand.[2]
  • 400 series - Czech-built ČKD T466.2, second-hand from Slovakia.
  • 500 series - Russian-built TEM1 (variant of ALCO RSD-1), second-hand from Russia.[2]
  • 600 series - Soviet-built M62, 65 units built new for DPRK; called 신성 (sinsŏng "Nova"-class).[2]
  • 700 series - Soviet-built M62 second-hand from Germany.[2]
  • 800 series - Soviet-built M62 second-hand from Poland, Slovakia and Russia.[2]
  • 900 series - Chinese-built DFH3, second-hand.[2]
  • 8000 series - DPRK-built copies of M62 design, built using both locally made and spare Russian parts. Two known built, 8001 is in active service, 8002 has been at the Museum of the Three Revolutions since new. Called 금성 (kŭmsŏng "Venus"-class).[2]
  • DF1 type - Chinese-built DF1 type, second-hand.[2]
  • GIE Francorail-MTE CSE26-21-type - Seven of these French-built locomotives were bought new in 1981 with a further five in 1985; these had American-designed engines, but were later converted to electric locomotives.[2]
  • Red Flag class - centre-cab switchers similar to the Japanese DD13 type.[2]
  • New Star class - medium-heavy switchers, 새별 (saebyŏl)[2]
  • DVM4-type - 14 Ganz-MAVAG DVM-type diesel locomotives were delivered new from Hungary in 1964. These were identical to the Soviet Railways' VME1 class;[7] at least four were converted to electric operation and given numbers in the 150 series.

Steam Locomotives[edit]

  • 100 series - Chinese-built;
  • 150 series - Romanian 150.1-class 2-10-0 supplied as war aid.
  • 400 series - Czechoslovak-built 762mm 0-6-0T;
  • 424 class - Hungarian 424 4-8-0 supplied as war aid; kept MAV running numbers (424.006 through 424.020) in DPRK service;[2]
  • 475 class - Czechoslovak 475.1 type 4-8-2 supplied as war aid; kept CSD running numbers (475.1148 through 475.1172) in DPRK service;[2]
  • 500 series - DPRK-made 762mm 2-8-0;[2]
  • 6000 series - Chinese JF class 2-8-2;[2]
  • 8100 series - American-built, ex-Soviet Ye-class "Russian Decapod" 2-10-0;[2]
  • FD20-class - Soviet-built FD20 class 2-10-2 supplied by China;[2]
  • Ol49-class - Polish Ol49 class 2-6-2 supplied as war aid; kept PKP running numbers in DPRK service.[2]
  • TKt48-class - Polish TKt48 class 2-8-2T supplied as war aid.
  • 24 0-6-0T switch engines were supplied new by the Resita works in Romania in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Railway links with adjacent countries[edit]

See also[edit]