The KTX-Sancheon is a South Korean high-speed train built by Hyundai Rotem in the second half of the 2000s and operated by Korail since March 2009. With a top speed of 305 km/h (190 mph), the KTX-Sancheon is the second commercial high-speed train operated in South Korea and the first domestic high-speed train that is designed and developed in South Korea.

KTX-Sancheon class 110000
ManufacturerHyundai Rotem
Family nameHanvit
Entered service2010-present
Number built71
  • Class 110000: 24 trains
  • SRT Class 120000: 22 trains
  • SRT Class 130000: 10 trains
  • Class 140000: 15 trains
Number in service71
  • Class 110000: 24 trains
  • SRT Class 120000: 22 trains
  • SRT Class 130000: 10 trains
  • Class 140000: 15 trains
  • PC: power car (traction head)
  • T: trailer (intermediate passenger car)

(Class 110000)

  • 30 First Class (2+1)
  • 328 Standard Class (2+2)
  • +5 seats for disabled persons

410 (SRT Class 120000)
      (SRT Class 130000)
      (Class 140000)

  • 33 First Class (2+1)
  • 372 Standard Class (2+2)
  • +5 seats for disabled persons
Operator(s)Korail, SR
Depot(s)Goyang, Osong
Line(s) servedGyeongbu High Speed Railway
Honam High Speed Railway
Suseo High Speed Railway
Gyeongbu Line
Honam Line
Gyeongjeon Line
Jeolla Line
Donghae Line
Gyeonggang Line
Jungang Line (from 2019)
Car body constructiontraction heads: steel[3]
intermediate cars: aluminum[3]
Train length201 m (659 ft)[3]
Car lengthtraction heads:
22,690 mm (74 ft 5.3 in)[4]
extreme intermediate cars:
21,845 mm (71 ft 8.0 in)
intermediate cars:
18,700 mm (61 ft 4.2 in)[5]
Widthtraction heads:
2,814 mm (110.8 in)[4]
intermediate cars:
2,970 mm (116.9 in)
Heighttraction heads:
4,062 mm (159.9 in)[4]
extreme intermediate cars:
4,100 mm (161.4 in)
intermediate cars:
3,480 mm (137.0 in)[5]
Floor height1,125 mm (44.3 in)
Maximum speedservice: 305 km/h (190 mph)
design: 330 km/h (205 mph)
Weightempty: 403 t (397 long tons; 444 short tons)[2]
loaded: 434 t (427 long tons; 478 short tons)[3]
Traction system8 three-phase asynchronous induction motors
4 IGBT-based VVVF inverters
Power output8 x 1,100 kW (1,500 hp) (8.8 MW or 11,800 hp)[3][5]
Acceleration0.45 m/s2 (1.5 ft/s2) up to 60 km/h (37 mph)[4]
0 to 300 km/h (0 to 186 mph) in 316 s and 16.4 km (10.2 mi)[4]
Deceleration1.06 m/s2 (3.5 ft/s2) (+5% -0% tolerance)[4]
from 300 to 0 km/h (186 to 0 mph) in 3.3 km (2.1 mi)[2]
Auxiliaries2 x 1.0 MW (1,300 hp), supplying 670 V DC
Power supplycatenary
Electric system(s)25 kV/60 Hz AC
Current collection methodpantograph
(type: single-arm, SSS400+)[7]
UIC classificationBo'Bo' + 2'(2)(2)(2)(2)(2)(2)(2)2' + Bo'Bo'
Braking system(s)eddy current, regenerative, rheostatic, disc
Safety system(s)TVM 430 (ATC), ATP, ATS
Coupling systemScharfenberg
Multiple workingYes
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge


When South Korea started its high-speed rail project, rolling stock and infrastructure was built in the framework of a technology transfer agreement between GEC-Alsthom (today Alstom), the main maker of French TGV high-speed trains, and South Korean companies. Thus Korea Train Express (KTX) began operating with KTX-I trains, which were derived from the TGV Réseau, and built both by Alstom and Rotem.[8] The technology transfer agreement did not provide for a complete control of manufacturing processes, and construction involved the import of parts. To increase the domestic added value, in 1996, an alliance of South Korean government research agencies, universities, and private companies started a project called G7 to develop domestic high-speed rail technology.[9]

The main element of the G7 project was the 7-car experimental high-speed train HSR-350x, originally intended as the prototype of a train with 20-car and 11-car versions for 350 km/h (217 mph) commercial service.[10][11] The experimental train was used for trials from 2002, and achieved the South Korean rail speed record of 352.4 km/h (219.0 mph) on December 16, 2004.[12]

Already before HSR-350x was finished, in 2001, a study focusing on the needs of the less frequented Honam Line proposed a modified, modular train that allows shorter configurations by removing traction equipment from the intermediate cars next to the traction heads, while reducing top speed to 300 km/h (186 mph).[10] Possible configurations would have been 12-car, 10-car, and 8-car versions with two traction heads and 8-car, 6-car versions with one traction head and a driving trailer.[10] The versions with two traction heads would have offered 500, 384 and 268 seats respectively.[10] The active passenger compartment pressure control system of the HSR-350x wasn't deemed necessary for the proposed Honam high-speed train, only pressure isolation as in the KTX-I.[10]

The view that shorter trains have to be added to the KTX rolling stock for operational flexibility was reinforced by the actual Honam KTX seat occupation trends after the launch of KTX services on April 1, 2004 with the 20-car KTX-I trains.[13] In July 2005, the Ministry of Construction and Transportation earmarked 80 billion for two 10-car commercial trains for 300 km/h (186 mph), destined for planned KTX services on the Jeolla Line from 2008.[14] In October 2005, however, Korail called competitive bids. Rotem, offering a commercial version of the HSR-350x, was chosen over Alstom as preferred bidder for the ₩300 billion order in December 2005.[15] The order for 10 trains for a price equal to $306 million was placed on June 6, 2006.[16] Six of the trainsets were intended for the Honam KTX service from June 2009, four for the Jeolla KTX service from June 2010.[16][17] A second batch of nine sets was ordered in December 2007, intended for Gyeongjeon KTX services between Seoul and Masan,[18] to be delivered by December 2010.[17] A third batch of five sets was ordered on December 9, 2008; for delivery by December 2011, intended to strengthen Gyeongbu KTX services.[19]

A mock-up showing the exterior and interior design of two passenger cars was shown at exhibitions in 2007, with one of the mock-up cars built as a driving trailer to also display the nose design of the traction heads of the actual train.[20] On November 25, 2008, the first KTX-II set was revealed to the public in a roll-out ceremony at the Hyundai Rotem factory in Changwon.[21]

Hyundai Rotem also offered the KTX-II in the competition to supply rolling stock for Brazil's Rio–São Paulo project.[22]

Technical details

Like the HSR-350x, the KTX-II consists of two traction heads, that is the power cars at both ends, and an articulated set of trailers for passengers in-between; but the number of intermediate cars is eight, and no intermediate car is powered.[23] Two sets can be coupled together[24] with automatic couplers of the Scharfenberg type.[25] The couplers and the surrounding structure form an integral unit, the so-called front ends, which were supplied by German industrial company Voith.[25] The vehicles received a new exterior front shape,[11] designed by French design studio MBD Design.[26] The aerodynamic shape was inspired by the cherry salmon, an indigenous fish.[27][28]

Like for the HSR-350x,[11] the carbody of intermediate cars is made of aluminum.[3] Unlike the HSR-350x, the vehicle lacks bogie shrouding. Compared to the KTX-I, window thickness was increased from 29 to 38 mm (1.1 to 1.5 in) by adding a fourth layer, to improve sound insulation and pressurization.[27] The total width of passenger cars was increased from 2,904 to 2,970 mm (114.3 to 116.9 in).[23]

The KTX-II's traction motors, converters, traction control and braking system are domestic developments resulting from the HSR-350x programme.[29] The traction motors are asynchronous induction motors like those of the HSR-350x, rather than synchronous motors as on the KTX-I.[24] Final drive gearboxes were supplied by Voith.[25] The power electronics in the converters use newly available IGBTs, supplied by American semiconductor manufacturer IXYS Corporation,[30] rather than the originally foreseen[9] but unreliable IGCTs of the HSR-350x.[31] Each traction converter consists of two parallel-switched four-quadrant converters, which function as rectifier modules by converting single-phase alternating current (AC) from one main transformer winding each to direct current (DC), a 2,800 V DC intermediate circuit, and one inverter module converting the DC supply to the three-phase AC supply for traction motors.[4] Each converter supplies the motors on two axles of a bogie, providing for individual bogie control.[4] All auxiliary power is supplied by separate 1 MW auxiliary units, one per traction head, consisting of two pairs of parallel-switched IGBT-based converter modules acting as rectifiers between one main transformer winding and the 670 V DC head end power.[4] The VVVF inverters for the motor and converter cooling fans and the air compressor, the constant voltage constant frequency (CVCF) inverters for the cab air-conditioning, the battery charge, the on-board AC supply[3] and the oil pumps are connected to the head end power within the auxiliary unit.[4] The pantograph, supplied by Austrian company Melecs MWW, is a standard type certified for 350 km/h (217 mph) and also used on Deutsche Bahn's ICE S experimental and test train, the Siemens Velaro high-speed train family, and the China Railways CRH2.[7]

The train can accelerate from 0 to 300 km/h (0 to 186 mph) in 316 seconds, in contrast to 365 seconds for the KTX-I.[23] Design speed is 330 km/h (205 mph),[3] and revenue service speed is 305 km/h (190 mph),[32] similar to the KTX-I.[23] Braking distance from 300 km/h (186 mph) is 3,300 m (10,827 ft).[2]

The third intermediate car offers elevated comfort First Class seating, the others Standard Class.[1] Swivelling seats, which can be rotated around at terminal stations so that they always face in the direction of travel, are installed in both classes, rather than only in First Class as on the KTX-I.[24] Compared to the KTX-I, seat distance was increased from 930 to 980 mm (36.61 to 38.58 in) to provide more leg room.[24] The fourth passenger car houses a snack bar and family compartments with separated facing seats.[1] Other passenger comfort features include wireless internet access and digital multimedia broadcasts,[3] and business compartments with small tables.[33] Like on the KTX-I, all passenger compartments are equipped with ceiling-mounted video displays, but 19" LCD screens are used instead of 17" ones.[23] Unlike those of the KTX-I,[23] the KTX-II passenger compartments were fitted with fire detectors.[27] Toilet doors were automatised,[23] and the toilet in the first passenger car is suited for disabled persons.[1]

In addition to Automatic Train Control (ATC) for high-speed lines and traditional Automatic train stop (ATS) for conventional lines, the trains were among the first to be equipped with the new domestically developed ATP automatic train protection system.[34] The ERTMS-compatible system is meant as an improvement over ATS on conventional lines, and makes shorter braking distances possible by allowing braking from full speed to stop in one step.[34]

Domestic added value was increased from 58% for the KTX-I to 87%.[24] According to the Korea Railroad Research Institute, the purchase of KTX-II trains was calculated to save 840 billion won compared to a forecast spending of 7,500 billion won until 2020 if high-speed trains had been imported.[35]


Following testing, the KTX-II carried its first passengers in a preview run on February 11, 2010.[27][33] After a naming competition held in the next ten days, the KTX-II was officially renamed as KTX-Sancheon. (KTX 산천),[36] sancheon comes from sancheneo (산천어), which is a species of cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou masou) in Korean.

Commercial KTX-Sancheon service started on March 2, 2010.[37] In contrast to the original plans, the first trains are used both in Honam and Gyeongbu KTX service.[27][38] Korail started to operate its first pair of non-stop services on the Seoul–Busan relation on December 1, 2010,[39][40] using KTX-Sancheon trains.[41] Gyeongjeon KTX service to Masan started on December 15, 2010.[42][43]

Until December 2010, KTX-Sancheon trains broke down 15 times, with most incidents related to the signal device.[44] Domestic observers expressed fear that the news of the breakdowns will negatively impact Rotem's chances in the competition to supply the Rio–São Paulo project or the US state of California's CHSR project, while Korail argued that the publication of start-up glitches is a result of its policy to make all information public, contrasting it with Chinese makers.[45]

On February 11, 2011, a KTX-Sancheon train[46] bound for Seoul from Busan derailed on a switch in a tunnel 500 m (1,600 ft) before Gwangmyeong Station,[47] when travelling at around 90 km/h (56 mph).[48] Only one passenger suffered slight injury.[46] Preliminary investigation found no problems with the train,[49] but indicated that the accident was caused by human errors by maintenance workers.[47] At the time, three cars of the train were reserved for the President of South Korea, Lee Myung-bak's, entourage, but he was not on board at the time of the accident.[47]

See also


  1. "High Speed Trains". Rotem. October 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-11-23.
  2. "KTX의 길이, 중량, 편의시설은 어떻게 되나요?". Korail. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  3. "KTX-II" (PDF). Rotem. 2009-01-20. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  4. "KTX-Ⅱ 전기장치 일반" (in Korean). myktx.kr, Korail. Archived from the original (PPT) on 2011-02-20. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  5. "최고시험속도 400km/h 동력분산식 차세대 고속열차 개발(HEMU-400X)". Korean Rail Technology (in Korean). January–February 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  6. "KTX-II" (PDF) (in Korean). Rotem. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  7. "Pantograph SSS 400+" (PDF). Melecs MWW. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2010-11-22.
  8. "KTX opens for commercial service". Alstom. 2004-04-01. Archived from the original on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  9. Lee, Kyung Chul (May 2005), "Launch of Korean High-Speed Railway and Efforts to Innovate Future Korean Railway", Japan Railway & Transport Review (48): 30–35, archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-03-13, retrieved 2011-03-13
  10. 호남고속철도 차량 시스템 설계에 관한 연구 (PDF) (in Korean). KRRI. 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  11. Kim, Kihwan (May 2008). "Korea Develops High-Speed Ambitions". International Railway Journal. pp. 35–36. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  12. "Trans-Korean Railway" Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Korean Rail Technology. 1: 4–5. May–June 2005. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  13. D. Suh, Sunduck; Yang, Keun-Yul; Lee, Jae-Hoon; Ahn, Byung-Min; Kim, Jeong Hyun (2005). "Effects of Korean Train Express (KTX) Operation on the National Transport System" (PDF). Proceedings of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies. 5: 175–189. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  14. "Korea to Build Own Bullet Trains". The Chosun Ilbo. 2005-07-28. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
  15. 한국형고속철 국토달린다 (in Korean). Korail. 2005-12-03. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  16. "HSR-350x to Launch Service in 2009" (PDF). Korean Rail Technology. 5: 04–05. September 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  17. Chris Jackson (2008-09-05). "We are making steady efforts to become a global leader". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  18. "Additional Contract for 90 Cars of High Speed Train KTX-II". Newsletter. Hyundai Rotem. March 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  19. "Hyundai Rotem wins orders from KORAIL for commuter EMUs and further KTX-II". Newsletter. Hyundai Rotem. January 2009. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  20. "Exhibited at Yongsan Station & Seodaejeon Station: KTX-II, A Pride of Korea!". Newsletter. Rotem. July 2007. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  21. 코레일, 25일 현대로템 창원공장서 출고행사…각계 인사 500여명 참석 (in Korean). Korail. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
  22. "Korea consortium in bid for Brazil high-speed train". The Korea Herald. 2010-03-30. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  23. "KTX 개통 5주년 보도자료" (in Korean). Rail Safety Information System. 2009-04-01. Archived from the original on 2010-11-11. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  24. "Hyundai Rotem Rolls-out World's 4th High Speed Train". Hyundai Rotem. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2009-01-19.
  25. "The first front ends of the new Korean High-speed train KTX II have already arrived in Korea". Voith Turbo. 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
  26. "Star of the Observeur 08". agence pour la promotion de la création industrielle. 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
  27. "RAIL 로 이 어 지 는" (PDF). Korail Webzine (in Korean). Korail. March 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
  28. "Korea's 1st Homemade Bullet Train on Track in March". The Chosun Ilbo. 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  29. "First KTX-II unveiled in Korea". Railway Gazette International. 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  30. "IXYS' High Power IGBTs Achieves Milestone for Performance in Fast Passenger Train..." AllBusiness.com, Business Wire. 2007-08-21. Retrieved 2008-12-31.
  31. 최신 반도체소자를 이용한 고속철도 차량용 추진제어 기술개발 (in Korean). Korea Institute of Construction & Transportation Technology Evaluation and Planning (KICTEP). November 2008. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  32. "(경제안테나) '3월 운행' 차세대 KTX-II 타보니" (in Korean). Seoul Broadcasting System. 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
  33. "KTX-II ready to enter service". Railway Gazette International. 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  34. 고속철도차량 안전장치의 운영 실태 조사. Korean Rail Technology (in Korean). January–February 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  35. "Roll-Out Ceremony for KTX-II Held". KRRI. 2008-12-22. Retrieved 2010-11-21.
  36. "'KTX-산천'으로 불러주세요" (in Korean). Korail. 2010-02-26. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
  37. "'KTX-산천' 오늘(2일) 첫 운행" (in Korean). Korail. 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
  38. "KTX Time Table 2010.11.01" (in Korean). Korail. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  39. "Non-stop Seoul-Busan Bullet Train Service Starts". The Chosun Ilbo. 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  40. "KTX 운행 조정 알림" (in Korean). Korail. 2010-11-10. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  41. "KTX Time Table 2010.12.01" (in Korean). Korail. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  42. "경전선 서울~마산간 KTX 예약ㆍ예매 알림" (in Korean). Korail. 2010-12-06. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  43. "KTX Time Table 2010.12.15" (in Korean). Korail. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
  44. "KTX-산천 운행 1년간 최소 15건 차량장애 발생". The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). 2010-10-28. Archived from the original on 2011-02-16. Retrieved 2011-02-20.
  45. "Korail under fire for frequent KTX breakdowns". The Korea Times. 2010-10-28. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  46. "KTX causes safety concern". The Korea Times. 2011-02-14. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
  47. "One loose nut derailed KTX train". Joongang Ilbo. 2011-02-15. Retrieved 2011-02-17.
  48. "고속이었다면 KTX 참사 날 뻔". The Dong-a Ilbo. 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
  49. "KTX Derailment Caused by Loose Nut". The Chosun Ilbo. 2011-02-14. Retrieved 2011-02-18.

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