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Photos Korean National RR Joseon Chongdokbu Cheoldoguk Korean Narrow Gauge
Don's Rail Photos
Korean National RR
Joseon Chongdokbu Cheoldoguk
Korean Narrow Gauge
An Unlikely Time for a Fantrip
When we got back from our trip to Yoju, Charlie and I joked about having a fantrip like we did back home. I was still stationed at Battalion Headquarters in Yongdong Po, while Charlie was in Yongsan, which was across the river on the Seoul side. A couple of days later I ran into the Special Services Officer at the club and he was enjoying himself with adult beverages and was feeling no pain. I hit him up with the idea of a railfan trip, and he was ready to accept anything.
The first step was a trip back to Suwon to talk to the Koreans about getting equipment. We wanted 2 gons and 2 box cars and the 8 spot. We also wanted benches, which meant taking them out of the station. The Koreans were amazed, amused, and cooperative. While there, I caught a couple of photos. The first is the "automated" coaling station.
The train from Suin arrived before we left.
Everything was now ready. We put out a battalion wide notice, and about 30 guys signed up. Since we were still in a relatively stable combat zone, we were required to carry arms, Some of us were able to draw .45s, but most carried M16 carbines. We also drew C Rations for our dining service. With a steam locomotive, it's easy to heat up those little cans of beans and weanies.
The day arrived. The weather was cool and overcast. We used one of the "6 by" autorailers to get us from Yongdong Po to Suwon. I didn't shoot a picture of it at that time, but here is one a few months earlier on the line to the northeast out of Seoul.
At Suwon, we found another cold engine in the way. The easy way was to move the little engine by manpower.
And then our train was ready with the 2 gons, 2 box cars, and the 8 spot. The benches were in the gons. The rations were stowed in one of the box cars, and we were off.
At Omok was a small tunnel. This called for a photo stop. Since no one had a movie camera, and nobody heard of video cameras for the amateur, there were no run-bys. We got a picture of the train coming out of the tunnel, and then I shot another of the train and "railfans".
A little further down the line we spotted a good photo opportunity at Vamok. I thought a good title would be "Comin' 'Round the Mountain" but that wasn't really too original.
I got up on the hill and took other shots.
At Wondok, we met a train with the 1 Spot. While it was taking water, Charlie climbed on top for some now unremembered reason.
Another photo stop was made at Kunja. By this time, some of the guys couldn't figure out why we would stop to take pictures of the same train every so often. So they just stayed on board.
At Sorea we found an even narrower gauge line. Since the main line is 30 inch, the tramway had to be 24 or less. It was used to bring rice into town where it was loaded into gons like we see in the foreground. That's our train at the station.
This cut was into the cliffs coming down to the beach area.
It wasn't much further to Suin and its large station. This was on the south side of the port city of Inchon and there was quite a bit of traffic in and out.
It wasn't long before the passenger train from Suwon arrived behind us. As you can see from the picture, there was a lot of traffic. The locomotive is USA 2.
We got back into the autorailer, which had come by road from Suwon, and headed back on the mailine from Inchon to Yongdong Po. The trip was enjoyed by all, and some of the marginally interested railroaders became railfans as well. Since this all took place 45 years ago, I wonder how many are still with us. It was a real civilian sort of thing (except for the weapons) in an uncivilized period of time.
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Memorial of Saint Cyran of Brenne
Do not be anxious: go straight on, forgetful of self, letting the spirit of God act instread of you own.
--St. Julie Billiart