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KTX Overview

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Into the era of high-speed rail service

With the KTX-Sancheon built with Korean technologies began operation on March 2, 2010, KORAIL is currently running two types of high-speed trains: the KTX and the KTX-Sancheon.

High-speed rail service has not only reduced the travel time to anywhere in South Korea to less than 3 hours, causing a dramatic change in people’s lifestyle, but also had a significant social, economic and cultural impact. High-speed rail is emerging as a new transport means for the future equipped with state-of-the-art technologies that ensure a fast, safe, comfortable and environment-friendly ride.

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Definition of a high-speed train

  • The definition of the high-speed train differs depending on the time and nation. However, it generally refers to the train that runs at a minimum speed of 200km/hr.
  • In 1964, Tokaido Shinkansen running between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka reached the speed of 210km/hr for the first time in the world. Since then, many countries have performed research and development of technologies to accelerate their train speeds. As a result, current high-speed trains run faster than 300km/hr. As all the high-speed trains currently operating are powered by electricity, high-speed trains are often called high-speed electric trains.
  • There are two types of high-speed trains: “wheel-on-rail” and “magnetic levitation” trains. Wheel-on-rail trains run on the rail, using wheels just like the conventional trains. “Magnetic levitation” trains run based on the lifting force provided by magnetic levitation.
  • It had been believed that the top speed for wheel-on-rail trains is 330km due to adhesion to the rail. However, since France successfully completed a test driving at 513.3km/hr in the Vendome section of its Southern Local Line in 1990, an effort to increase the speed has been continuing.
  • Germany and Japan, among others, are conducting research on magnetic levitation high-speed trains. Japan achieved 550km/hr in 1997 and is continuing its research with the aim of reaching 580km/hr. In China, a 32km section to the Shanghai International Airport was open in December 2002 with a speed of 430km/hr.

Power of high-speed trains running at 300km/hr

  • Korean high-speed trains are designed to run at 330km/hr with the top operational speed being 305km/hr.
  • They are powered by a 25,000-volt current. The KTX receives the current and runs with 13,560kW, 300KN of electric braking power.
  • High-speed trains are aerodynamically designed with a contour line shape. They have a pantagraph that can collect a 25,000-volt current.
  • Train cars are connected by using articulate bogies which move freely just like human joints and which are light, quiet, and comfortable.

    • *Bogie is the equipment that carries the wheels axles of a train and transmits the weight of cars to the axles. It has driving and brake functions.

  • High-speed rail tracks have been built as a single piece by connecting the entire lines with welding, so as to safely support the weight of high-speed trains running at up to 305km/hr.
  • The minimum radius curvature is 7,000m, which means that the entire line is almost as straight as a linear line.
  • The rail weighs 60kg/m and the ballast bed (the gravels used to fix the sleepers) is layed with a thickness of 35cm from the bottom of the sleepers.

    Conventional rail: the minimum radius curvature of 400m, rail length of 25m, rail weight of 50~60kg, and ballast bed of 30cm

  • To reach 300km/hr, it takes 6 minutes and 5 seconds for the KTX and 5 minutes and 16 seconds for the KTX-Sancheon. High-speed trains stops within 3,300m in the event of emergency brake at 300km/hr.

Composition of high-speed trains

KTX

  • A KTX train set consists of 20 cars in total: 2 motive power units, 2 motorized cars, and 16 passenger cars. The total length of a train set is 388m, and total weight is 692t (before passenger boarding).
  • Its First class cars have 127 seats (3 seats for each row) and the Standard class cars have 808 seats (4 seats for each row). The total number of seats for 1 train set is 935.
  • A KTX train set has 30 jump seats.

KTX-Sancheon

  • A KTX-Sancheon train set has a total of 10 cars: 2 motive power units and 8 passenger cars. Its total length is 201m and total weight is 403t (before passenger boarding).
  • Its Fist class cars have 30 seats with 3 seats for each row, and the Standard class cars have 333 seats with 4 seats for each row. Total seats in a KTX-Sancheon train set are 363.
  • Each train set is equipped with 13 jump seats.

    In the KTX, First class cars offer rotating seats and Standard class seats are fixed. In the KTX-Sancheon, all seats are rotating seats.

Equipment of high-speed trains

  • High-speed trains incorporate a state-of-the-art system designed to handle a variety of issues stemming from their speed.
  • The signaling equipment incorporated in a high-speed train includes the Automatic Train Control (ATC) and Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) equipment.
  • There also are a variety of equipment for safety and ride comfort: the on-board computer system that enables automatic control of an entire train, a self-diagnosis device that detects fire and breakdown, and the HVAC system that keeps an optimal environment in train cars.
  • For the safety of passengers, trains are equipped with an intrusion detector that automatically controls train speed when any object falls on the rail tracks, and a track temperature detector that automatically detects the temperatures of rail tracks.
  • A variety of other high-tech safety equipment is also installed: the tunnel alarm equipment for the safety of workers in tunnels and the dragging equipment detector that protects facilities in the event that there is a dragging object on rail tracks.
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