The Gangneung KTX bullet train line links Seoul to the port city of Gangneung across the north of the country, having opened in time to connect Seoul to the 2018 Winter Olympic venues in Pyeongchang. The line officially started service in December 2017, and you can search trains & book tickets online here
Construction of the line formed a key part of the Pyeongchang 2018 bid, shortening the Seoul-Pyeonchang travel time from 2.5 hours on the highway to just an hour by train. The line was actually planned regardless of the Olympics, but the awarding of the Games to Korea provided the impetus to finally get it built; the Gangneung KTX is therefore arguably the main legacy of Pyeongchang 2018.
The high speed line runs from the city of Wonju across to Gangneung; trains run at lower speeds along the previously existing conventional tracks from Seoul to Wonju, and then along the dedicated high speed line from there.
The stations on the new line are:
Manjong (in northern Wonju)
The stops in Seoul are Seoul Station, Cheongnyangni, and Sangbong (Incheon Airport was only included for the Olympics). Cheongnyangni (in the northeast of the city) has the highest frequency of service, but Seoul Station will be more convenient for most visitors.
There’s an accurate map here (and that’s a cool site if you’re interested in Korea and a bit of an infrastructure geek), the maps on this page are approximate (I knocked them up on Google Maps):
This line is of course of great benefit to the population in the region, but also useful for us skiers and boarders wanting to get to Korea’s best ski resorts from Seoul – it can significantly reduce travel time to several Gangwon-do resorts depending on your starting point in Seoul, especially Welli Hilli and Phoenix Park.
Map of resorts (closest station for each in brackets):
1. Oak Valley (Manjong Station, but no shuttle so need to book taxi. Direct bus from Seoul is better)
2. Welli Hilli Park (Dunnae Station, free shuttle to resort)
3. Phoenix Park (Pyeongchang Station, free shuttle to resort)
4. Jeongseon Alpine Centre (Jinbu Station; Olympic venue only, not a resort)
5. Yongpyong & Alpensia (Jinbu Station, free shuttle for resort guests)
6. High1 (via Gangneung, but still requiring a 2-hour local train from there; direct buses from Seoul are more convenient)
Click on each resort name for its Snow Guide Korea review, with full access details including how the journey works using the Gangneung KTX.
The journey time from Seoul Station to Gangneung is just under 2 hours, for a fare of 27,600 won ($30 US); Cheongnyangni to Pyeongchang Station is just over an hour.
You can easily buy train tickets on the day from the ticket machines or manned ticket counters at railway stations, but trains do sell out (especially during peak hours & on holidays) so if you want to be sure of a seat on a specific train it’s better to book in advance. You can either do this in person by visiting a station, or book online on 12go Asia
If you’re trying to work out your Pyeongchang 2018 transportation & accommodation options, see here for more details.
Any questions about the Gangneung KTX? Leave a message below and I’ll get back to you.