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S. Korea to expand bullet train network

 South Korea plans to expand its bullet train network across the country in an effort to accelerate cross-country transportation and promote balanced regional development, the transportation ministry said Sunday.

   Under the plans, major cities will be connected by the Korea Train Express (KTX) by 2020, making it possible for people to travel anywhere on the South Korean peninsula within one and a half hours by train, according to the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs.

   The government already completed the construction of a high-speed railway section linking the country's southern port city of Busan and Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, in November.

   The segments going through Daegu and Daejeon, 164 km south of Seoul, will be opened in 2014, according to the ministry.

Currently, high-speed trains run on conventional railway tracks in those sections.

   South Korea will also seek to complete the construction of the 182km-long, high-speed railway linking Osong, about 100 km south of Seoul, and Kwangju, 330 km south of the capital, by 2014.

   The construction of the high-speed railway linking Gwangju and Mokpo, 410 km southwest of Seoul, will be completed by 2017, which will allow people to travel from Seoul to Gwangju in around 70 minutes, according to the ministry.

   In addition, the government plans to upgrade the conventional railways under construction or in operation in a bid to raise the maximum speed of trains up to 230 km per hour.

   Other railway lines connecting Seoul with cities in Gangwon Province on the country's east coast will be pursued so trains can reach speeds averaging 230-250 kilometers per hour on those lines.

 

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