Traveling in Style: High Speed Rail in Korea

It’s raining here in Changwon today, so I’m taking advantage of the down time to fill in other parts of the trip.

Changwon is located all the way in the southern tip of Korea, approximately 300 kilometers from the country’s economic, political, and cultural capital, Seoul. For our 3 day trip there, we opted for the KTX high speed train. Traveling at up to 300 km/h and costing about $100 for a round trip ticket, it’s a fantastic way to get around and represents the best of Korean infrastructure. No traffic, no security checks, just buy a ticket and hop on.

As an added bonus, it’s a great way to see the beautiful Korean countryside. Between the crowded urban centers that define modern Korean life lie pastoral farmland and mountains.

20110422-040657.jpg

20110422-040719.jpg

20110422-040735.jpg

As the countryside rolled by, I couldn’t help but think of the various obstacles to high speed rail in the US. NIMBY(Not In My Backyard)ism, conflicting jurisdictions, conservative politicians fearing a crypto-socialist conspiracy…the list goes on and on.

Meanwhile, as Congress debates over nickels and dimes and Americans choke on congested roads and airports, the KTX roars on.