Traveling down memory lane

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Apr 19, 2013 - 21:12
  • Updated : Apr 19, 2013 - 21:12

To lure tourists to the hidden spots of the central inland regions, KORAIL launched exclusive sightseeing trains ― the “O-train,” which loops around major cities, and the “V-train” which cuts through the mountainous area of the Baekdu-daegan valleys.

The O-train, which runs from Seoul through Jecheon, Yeongju and Taebaeksan Mountain, has been designed to show Korea’s seasonal landscape. The “O” refers to the train’s circular route.
A cafeteria inside the O-train decorated with colorful crystal (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

It allows passengers to view the landscape through a camera mounted on the front of the train that sends real-time video to screens at the passenger’s seat.

The 205-seat train also provides passengers with a number of facilities, varying from private seats and family booths to a children’s play area and cafeteria.

“My intention was to integrate Korea’s unique cultural legacy with the train’s design,” said Felix Boukobza, the French designer who mapped out the O-train.

“Each section displays traditional colors or poems, offering visual entertainment to the passengers.”

In addition to the local color, Boukobza also incorporated features of Western culture, such as the snack bar inspired by British pubs.

In contrast to the high-speed and convenience-focused O-train, the V-train has been designed to maximize the charms of a leisurely trip into the Baekdu-daegan valleys and the surrounding villages.
The pink V-train stopped at Seungbu Station (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
Passengers and a staff member cook retro food on a brazier installed on the V-train. (KORAIL)

Its diesel locomotive painted in tiger-like black and white stripes and passenger cars in bright pink, the vehicle is reminiscent of sightseeing trains in amusement parks.

The interior is decorated with green and blue seats, as well as colorful red window frames, all of which are not usually observed in the natural environment.

“The choice of color was intended to display a clear contrast with the beautiful scenery outside the window,” said the designer.

“People would feel as if they were appreciating a landscape painting by looking at the surrounding features through the window frames.”

In an effort to reduce carbon emissions in the little-explored region, the V-train’s internal facilities are solar powered, through a panel located on the rooftop of each passenger car.

The eco-friendly concept, along with the “old-fashioned” retro theme, is also reflected in the accordion doors, charcoal heaters and incandescent light bulbs.

“The valley train trips not only offer the unique landscape of the mountains, but also a nostalgic sentiment to the senior citizens and a fresh experience to the younger generation,” said a KORAIL official.

By Choi In-jeong, Intern reporter