SEOUL: A South Korean train crossed into North Korea on Friday for the first time in a decade—packed with engineers on a mission to upgrade the North’s dilapidated rail tracks and create a linked, cross-border network, reports AFP.
Connecting up the railway systems was one of the agreements made earlier this year in a key meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in.It marked the first time in a decade that a train from the South entered North Korea.
TV footage on Friday showed a red, white and blue train—displaying a banner reading “Iron Horse is now running toward the era of peace and prosperity”—pull away from the South’s Dorasan station, the nearest terminal from the western part of the inter-Korean border.
“This signals the start of co-prosperity of the North and the South by reconnecting railways,” Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee said.
She added the railway reconnection would help expand the country’s “economic territory” to Eurasia by land, as the division of the Korean peninsula has left South Korea geopolitically cut off from the continent for many decades.
The six-carriage train is transporting 28 South Koreans including railway engineers and other personnel, and carrying 55 tonnes of fuel and an electricity generator.