Travellers in South Korea will soon have more choice when it comes to train travel. A new railway company is set to make waves in the country by introducing cheaper, faster high-speed rail services.
SR, which stands for Supreme Railways, will become the first company in more than a decade to compete with Korail, South Korea’s national railway company. Since 2005, Korail has operated competition-free on South Korea’s 3000-plus kilometres of track, but starting on 9 December, SR will offer alternative high-speed rail (HSR) services to a number of the country’s most popular destinations.
Initially, SR’s destinations will include major cities, such as Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon and Gwangju. Prices are expected to be around 10% cheaper than those offered by Korail, with economy fares from Seoul to Busan, for example, costing ₩52,200 (£35.50) compared with Korail’s ₩59,800 (£40.75) for the same journey.
Trains will have both first and economy class seats, all of which will feature power outlets, ergonomic chairs and aircraft-style, folding tables. First-class ticketholders will be offered a food-and-drink service. There will also be quiet areas and nursing rooms on board.
SR will have as its hub Suseo Station, a small railway station in the Gangnam district on the south side of Seoul. SR believes using Suseo as a hub will be an advantage, as travellers will not have to first reach the city’s main railway hub, Seoul Station, which is located on the north side of Seoul. Because of this, travel times will be nearly 30 minutes shorter in some cases.