Pukpu Line

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Pukpu Line
Samsu Ch'ŏngnyŏn Station on the Pukpu Line
Samsu Ch'ŏngnyŏn Station on the Pukpu Line
Other name(s) Hyesan–Manp'o Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line
Native name 북부선(北部線)
Type heavy rail, Regional rail
Locale Chagang
Termini Manp'o Ch'ŏngnyŏn
Hyesan Ch'ŏngnyŏn
Hoeryŏng Ch'ŏngnyŏn - planned/unrealised
Stations 42
Opened Unbong Line (Manp'o–Unbong): 1959
Unbong–Hyesan: 1987-1988
Owner Korean State Railway
Operator(s) Korean State Railway
Depot(s) Manp'o, Hyesan, P'op'yŏng
Line length 249.2 km (154.8 mi)
Number of tracks Single track
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 3000 V DC Catenary
Route map

DPRK-Pukpu Line2.png

Unha Line Yalu River
China Railway Meiji Railway
DPRK← →China
0.0 Manp'o Ch'ŏngnyŏn
Manp'o Line
Ch'agap'yŏng Cement Factory
4.6 Ch'agap'yŏngmine loading
An'gol Line
8.3 Munak
17.7 Yŏnp'o
23.4 Rimt'o
25.8 Ch'anggolClosed
28.6 Simridong
41.0 Songsam
35.8 Chagang Samgang
yellow: former line on PRC side for
44.9 Sangp'unggangdam construction
Yalu River
Unbong Line
45.6 Unbong
53.4 Kujung
tunnel length: 2.7 km (1.7 mi)
63.5 Chasŏng
68.8 Sahyang
74.3 Kwi'in
80.8 Chŏnp'yŏng
83.2 Rip'yŏng
87.8 Hwap'yŏng
94.8 Hoejung
10.5 Ryongch'ul
tunnel length: 2.6 km (1.6 mi)
108.1 Wŏlt'an
113.7 Hoeyang
121.4 Rot'an
126.8 Ogubi
134.7 Tuji
138.2 P'op'yŏng Ch'ŏngnyŏn
145.9 Much'ang
151.5 Rajuk
155.8 Taeŭng
166.0 Huju Ch'ŏngnyŏn
178.7 Songjŏn
187.0 Kangha
194.6 Sinp'a Ch'ŏngnyŏn
Changjin River
200.0 Mint'ang
205.3 Ryanggang Sinsang
212.5 P'ungyang
tunnel length: 1.5 km (0.93 mi)
220.1 Sangdae
224.0 Insan
232.8 Samsu Ch'ŏngnyŏn
240.3 Nŭpp'yŏng
245.1 Kangu
Hoch'ŏn River
Hyesan Textile Factory
249.2 Hyesan Ch'ŏngnyŏn
Paektusan Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line
Hyesan–Wiyŏn section to have
Wiyŏn become part of Pukpu Line
Paektusan Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line
Samjiyŏn Line: Wiyŏn–Karim section
Karimto have become part of Pukpu Line
Samjiyŏn Line
Poch'ŏn Line: Karim–Poch'ŏn section
Poch'ŏnto have become part of Pukpu Line
Poch'ŏn Line
planned new line
Samjiyŏn Line
RimyongsuRimyŏngsu–Motka section
Samjiyŏnto have become part of Pukpu Line
Taehongdanplanned new line
Nongsaplanned new line
Samjangplanned new line
Paengmu Line
HŭngamHŭngam–Musan section to have
MusanMusan Line
Ch'ilsŏngriplanned new line
Saegŏlliplanned new line
Hoeryŏng Colliery Line to have become part
Hoeryŏng Ch'ŏngnyŏnof Pukpu Line
Hambuk Line
Pukpu Line
Chosŏn'gŭl 북부선
Revised Romanization Bukbu-seon
McCune–Reischauer Pukpu-sŏn

The Pukpu Line, also called the Hyesan–Manp'o Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line after the only completed stage of three planned stages, is an electrified standard-gauge secondary trunk line of the Korean State Railway in Chagang and Ryanggang Provinces, North Korea, connecting the Manp'o Line at Manp'o to the Paektusan Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line at Hyesan.[1] It also connects to the China Railway Meiji Railway via the Ji'an Yalu River Border Railway Bridge between Manp'o and Meihekou, China.

The Pukpu Line was to have been a northern east-west trunk line of 450 km (280 mi)[2] on the Manp'o–Hyesan–Musan–Hoeryŏng route,[3] but this plan has not been realised.

There are 42 stations on the line, of which Chasŏng, Hwap'yŏng, P'op'yŏng Ch'ŏngnyŏn, and Mint'ang are dedicated freight consolidation points; the stations of Chŏnp'yŏng, Tuji, Sinp'a Ch'ŏngnyŏn, Ryanggang Sinsang, and Insan are served only by passenger trains.[3] The line has 76 tunnels totalling over 26 km (16 mi) in length, and 116 bridges with a total length of over 6.3 km (3.9 mi) -[4] bridges make up 3.3% of the total length of the line, whilst tunnels account for 12.8% of the total route length.[3]

There are locomotive facilities at Manp'o, Hyesan, and P'op'yŏng; the latter two also have shops for maintenance of passenger and freight cars.[3]


Having been the only major east-west trunk line at the time, the P'yŏngra Line had become overly congested by the 1970s, as all east-west traffic - even that moving between the northwest and the northeast - had to travel via the P'yŏngra Line.[3] To alleviate the burden, President Kim Il-sung ordered the construction of a new, northern east-west transversal line in August 1980.[4] This line, which was to have made use of parts of existing lines where possible, in addition to newly built trackage, was to have connected Manp'o in the west with Hoeryŏng in the east.[3] This would have resulted in the creation of a direct connections between the Manp'o Line in the northwest and the Hambuk Line in the northeast of the country, allowing traffic between these two areas to avoid the P'yŏngra Line. This would also have significantly shortened the travelled distances.

The Pukpu Line, as the planned line was called (북부, pukpu, means "northern"), was to have been built in three stages: Manp'o to Hyesan, Hyesan to Musan, and Musan to Hoeryŏng.[3]

Stage 1: Hyesan–Manp'o[edit]

In 1959, the Korean State Railway opened the Unbong Line, a 45.6 km (28.3 mi) line from Manp'o to Unbong, to assist with the construction of the Chasŏng Dam on the Yalu River which had begun in October of that year. The first stage of the northern trunk line, from Manp'o to Hyesan, made use of the entirety of the Unbong Line. A new passenger-friendly station was built at Unbong, called Sinunbong Station (="New Unbong Station")[3] (the previous Unbong Station, which had been the terminus of the Unbong Line and, after the construction of the new line, became the terminus of the truncated Unbong Line, was later renamed Kuunbong Station - that is, "Old Unbong Station", and Sinunbong Station became simply Unbong Station). Work on the first stage was started at both ends in 1981;[2] construction went slowly, with the 17.9 km (11.1 mi) from Sinunbong to Chasŏng and the 83.2 km (51.7 mi) from Hyesan to Huju being completed only on 27 November 1987.[3] Kim Jong-il ordered the formation of youth work brigades who, moving over 10,000,000 m3 (350,000,000 cu ft) of earth and blasting millions of cubic metres of rock,[4] completed construction of the final 102.5 km (63.7 mi) section between Chasŏng and Huju in 1988.[5]

Stage 2: Hyesan–Musan[edit]

A second stage, a 74 km (46 mi) long line from Hyesan to Musan on the Musan Line via Poch'ŏn, Samjiyŏn, Taehongdan and Musan counties was planned and construction was started,[3] but was subsequently suspended. The line was to have shared the track of the Paektusan Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line from Hyesan to Wiyŏn; from there, the Wiyŏn–Karim section of the narrow-gauge Samjiyŏn Line and the Karim–Poch'ŏn section of the Poch'ŏn Line were to have been converted to standard gauge; from Poch'ŏn a new line would have been built to Rimyŏngsu, and from there, the Rimyŏngsu–Samjiyŏn–Motka section of narrow-gauge line was to have been regauged. From Samjiyŏn there was to be a new line built via Taehongdan town, Nongsa-rodongjagu, and Samjang-rodongjagu to Hŭngam on the Paengmu Line, from where the existing narrow-gauge line to Musan was to have been regauged.[3]

Stage 3: Musan–Hoeryŏng[edit]

The third stage of the Pukpu Line project was to have been the construction of a new 61 km (38 mi) line from Musan to Hoeryŏng on the Hambuk Line. From Musan, the line was to have run through Musan County along the Tumen River via Ch'ilsŏng-ri and Saegŏl-li, continuing from there along a newly built line to Yusŏn, the terminus of the Hoeryŏng Colliery Line; this line would have been absorbed into the Pukpu Line.[3]


The first stage had been completed at the end of 1988; by then, some works had begun on the second stage, but due to the DPRK's economic crisis of the 1990s, construction was eventually abandoned. Electrification of the existing portion of the line was begun in 1991 with the goal of completing it in time for Kim Il-sung's 80th birthday on 15 April 1992;[2] however, it wasn't until 1993 that the electrification of the entire Manp'o–Hyesan line was completed.[4]

By the end of the 2000s, the line was in such poor condition that the operation of trains was nearly impossible; citing this, in April 2011 Kim Jong-il once again mobilised work brigades of the Kim Il-sung Socialist Youth League to undertake the reconstruction of the line; the refurbishment work was completed in November 2013.[4]


A 500-series trainset as a commuter train at Manp'o.

It is one of the lightest-travelled of all trunk lines in the DPRK. There are a number of passenger trains on the line, including commuter trains serving Rimt'o.[3] Most of the freight traffic on the line is military, but logs are also transported along the line from the Kamae Plateau.[6] Ore from the March 5 Youth Mine is delivered to Chasŏng Station for loading onto trains by means of a ropeway conveyor.[3]


A yellow background in the "Distance" box indicates that section of the line is not electrified.

(Total; km)
(S2S; km)
Station Name
Station Name
(Chosŏn'gŭl (Hanja))
Former Name
Former Name
(Chosŏn'gŭl (Hanja))
0.0 0.0 Manp'o Ch'ŏngnyŏn 만포청년 (満浦青年) Manp'o 만포 (満浦) Manp'o Line, Unha Line,
China Railway Meiji Railway
4.6 4.6 Ch'agap'yŏng 차가평 (車家坪)
8.3 3.7 Mun'ak 문악 (文岳) An'gol Line
17.7 9.4 Yŏnp'o 연포 (煙浦)
23.4 5.7 Rimt'o 림토 (林土)
25.8 2.4 Ch'anggol 창골 (倉골)
28.6 2.8 Simridong 십리동 (十里洞) Oktong 옥동 (-)
35.8 7.2 Chagang Samgang 자강삼강 (慈江三江)
41.0 5.2 Songsam 송삼 (-)
44.9 3.9 Sangp'unggang 상풍강 (-) Unbong Line
45.6 0.7 Unbong 운봉 (雲峰) Sinunbong 신운봉 (新雲峰)
53.4 7.8 Kujung 구중 (旧中)
63.5 10.1 Chasŏng 자성 (慈城)
68.8 5.3 Sahyang 사향 (-) Chagang Sangp'yŏng 자강상평 (慈江常坪)
74.3 5.5 Kwi'in 귀인 (貴仁)
80.8 6.5 Chŏnp'yŏng 전평 (銭坪) passenger only
83.2 Rip'yŏng 리평 (梨坪)
87.8 4.6 Hwap'yŏng 화평 (和坪) Chinsong 진송 (-)
Songdŏk 송덕 (松德)
94.8 7.0
(from Hwap'yŏng)
Hoejung 회중 (桧中)
100.5 5.7 Ryongch'ul 룡출 (龍出) Chagang Unjung 자강운중 (慈江雲中)
108.1 7.6 Wŏlt'an 월탄 (月灘) Unjung Huch'ang 운중후창 (雲中厚昌)
113.7 5.6 Hoeyang 회양 (桧陽)
121.4 7.7 Rot'an 로탄 (蘆灘)
126.8 Ogubi 오구비 (五구비)
134.7 7.9 Tuji 두지 (杜芝) passenger only
138.2 3.5 P'op'yŏng Ch'ŏngnyŏn 포평청년 (葡坪青年) Huch'ang 후창 (厚昌)
145.9 7.7 Much'ang 무창 (茂昌)
151.5 5.6 Rajuk 라죽 (羅竹)
155.8 4.3 Taeŭng 대응 (大鷹)
166.0 10.2 Huju Ch'ŏngnyŏn 후주청년 (厚州青年) Huju 후주 (厚州)
178.7 12.7 Songjŏn 송전 (松田)
187.0 8.3 Kangha 강하 (江下)
194.6 7.6 Sinp'a Ch'ŏngnyŏn 신파청년 (新坡青年) Sinp'a 신파 (新坡) passenger only
200.0 5.4 Mint'ang 민탕 (珉湯)
205.3 5.3 Ryanggang Sinsang 량강신상 (両江新上) passenger only
212.5 7.2 P'ungyang 풍양 (豊陽)
220.1 7.6 Sangdae 상대 (上台)
224.0 3.9 Insan 인산 (仁山) passenger only
232.8 8.8 Samsu Ch'ŏngnyŏn 삼수청년 (三水青年) Samsu 삼수 (三水)
240.3 7.5 Nŭpp'yŏng 늪평 (늪坪)
245.1 4.8 Kanggu 강구 (江口)
249.2 4.1 Hyesan Ch'ŏngnyŏn 혜산청년 (恵山青年) Hyesan 혜산 (恵山) Paektusan Ch'ŏngnyŏn Line


  1. ^ Kokubu, Hayato, 将軍様の鉄道 (Shōgun-sama no Tetsudō), ISBN 978-4-10-303731-6
  2. ^ a b c 북부철길 전철화, 동아일보, 1992 January 30
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n 북부 철길 건설
  4. ^ a b c d e 북한 북부철길 개건사업 마감단계.. ‘제2의 마식령속도’ 창조
  5. ^ 북부철길 1단계공사완료, Kyunghyang Shinmun, 10 August 1988
  6. ^ 북한 철도 유라시아 철도의 ‘끊어진 고리’ 北, 12개 주요 노선 어떤 상태인가