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Don's Rail Photos

Korean National RR

Joseon Chongdokbu Cheoldoguk

Korean Narrow Gauge

Another Railfan Found Hokie

Photographs taken by Robert Gadfdie


21 January 1968

On the right narrow gauge locomotive HK11-13, 2-8-2, switches in the SuWon yard.  The gondola cars contain salt that was harvested along the coast between SuWon and Inchon.  The track immediately to the left of the photographer is narrow gauge and borders the transfer dock.  It was here that freight was transferred between narrow gauge and standard gauge equipment.  The locomotive at the far left is standard gauge working the transfer dock.

Narrow gauge locomotive HK11-14, 2-8-2, rests between duties at SuWon.  It the background can be seen motorcar 161 that is train #234.  It has just arrived from Nam Inchon, 52 Km away.

Narrow gauge locomotive HK8-28 rests at SuWon.  This is a 2-8-2T locomotive.

Narrow gauge locomotive HK11-13 switches at SuWon.  To the left can be seen narrow gauge gondolas filled with salt.  These cars are spotted next to the transfer dock.  The salt will be transferred to standard gauge cars,  The locomotives at the far left is standard gauge.

Narrow gauge motorcar 166 is being prepared for a trip.  To the right is the motorcar shed,  The employees seem a bit wary of an American wandering around their railroad.  All of the freight equipment in this gauge.  The white building in the center background with the chimney is the SuWon passenger depot.  The narrow gauge tracks stub ended at the depot.  The standard gauge tracks were on the left.  SuWon is on the Seoul--Pusan main line.

The line up into the mountains from SuWon to YeoJu passes through IChang.  There was no separation beteween the engineer and passengers on the tiny narrow gauge motorcars.  By sitting in the front seat next to the engineer I had a great view of the right of way.  The thatched roof house on the right was typical of rural homes at this time.  Bear in mind that late 1960's Korea was still very much a third world nation.  Trees were few and where they existed they were protected.  For centuries the Korean Peninsula has been the battlefield of northeast Asia.  Each time a war broke out the trees were cut down for fortifications.  The nation was trying to reforest any land not used for cultivation of crops.

A few kilometers beyond the other end of this tunnel is the village of YongIn.  The winter of 1967-68 was relatively dry.  What snowfalls that occurred were occurred were minor events.  Lack of snow did not prevent the weather from being bitterly cold, especially for this California boy.  The rice paddies on either side of the right of way will be frozen until spring.

We are arriving in YongIn.  This is as far I could go on the YeoJu line and still get back to my unit by the end of the day.

YongIn was a sizeable village 24.1 kilometers from SuWon.  As cand be seen my train consisted of a single motorcar and trailer.  On the far left can be seen some box cars spotted on a spur.  Roads in Korea were very primitive (in the entire Second Infantry Division area there was only one paved road).  Roal was an important way to ship products.  On the right can be some stacks of ties.  YongIn was, apparently, an important maintenance of way point.  In the foreground on the stones can be be seen my notebook and a paper bag containing food.  On trips like these I was not trusting of the local food so took my own.

The train for YeoJu leaves YongIn.  The white-gloved conductor has his hand out the rear door of the trailer.  The track appears to be in remarkable good condition and the ballas is well groomed.  I had about a half hour before the train to SuWon was due to arrived.  I spent the time walking around the village.  It became obvious to me that the villagers rarely saw an American.  Being six ft one each tall did not help.  I towere above most Koreans.

The building behind the trees in the center of the photograph is the YongIn depot.  The main track of the railroad runs across the center of the photograph.  The track in the foreground led to a rock pit.  It appeared to have seen little use recently.

Here is a very poor photograph of locomotive HK11-13 at SuWon during the winter of 1968.  To the right can be seen the motorcar shed with two motors standing by.


30 June 1968

Locomotive number 1 was a 2-6-2T.  I am 6 ft 1 inch tall.  That gives you an idea of the size of these little brutes.  To the right is the standard gauge Seoul - Pusan line.  Note that there is a grade crossing with gates.  The gates were manually lowered by a man in the small booth.

These littl boxcars are typical of the freight equipment in use on the narrow gauge line.

Leaving SuWon, the narrow gauge line to Nam Inchon traveled through a broad valley.  Rice paddies and vegetable fields lined the right of way.  The track appears to be well maintained with nicely groomed ballast.  Railroad rights of way made good walking paths for local residents.  The smooth area on either side of the ballast indicates that the right of way has been trod by many feet.

Workers take a break from shoveling salt into gondola cars at SongDo.  Salt was an important source of traffic for the narrow gauge line.

My train going to Nam Inchon pauses to meet a train bound for SuWon at the station of IlRi.  Most of the motorcar trains pulling a trailer.  The villages between SuWon and Nam Inchon were small.  The narrow gauge trains were well patronized but were not packed, as was usually the case with the standard gauge trains.  Patches of vegetables grow next to the right of way.  Soon they will be harvested and made into that ubiquitous Korean dish, kimchi.

Near SuWon, the tidal variations in the Inchon area of South Korea is one of the greatest in the world.  Obviously, the tide was out when this photograph was taken.  Boats are high and dry until the tide comes in.  The narrow gauge line crossed a number of estuaries along the coast south of Nam Inchon.

Near Kanja Yonjon, on the left can be seen evaporating ponds for salt while on the right are rice paddies.  Both 'crops' will provide business for the little railroad.

Near Kanja Yonjon, on the left can be seen more evaporating ponds for salt production.  I am sitting next to the engineer on a box.

Our train is crossing one of the many causeways along the coastal route.  On the right are more salt evaporating ponds.  The right of way makes an excellent path for people crossing from one side of the estuary to the other.

Our little train led by motor 163 has arrived in Nam Inchon.  The depot is out of the photograph to the left.  The trip 1 hour and 50 minutes to cover the 52 km from SuWon.  In the background can be seen the water tank that fed the locomotives.

Locomotive number HK11-13 rests at Nam Inchon.  To the left is the main track of SuWon - Nam Inchon line.  The waterspout can be seen left of the locomotive.  The depot is behind the locomotive.  To the right cn be seen an Armstrong turntable.

The rear end of HK-13.  The legs of the water tank can be seen on the right,  Servicing facilities were quite primitive here.  Any significant service or repar work would performed at SuWon.


2 September 1968

Mixed train 1224 arrives at SuWon.  It is powered by locomotive HK8-28, a 2-8-2T.  To the right can be seen the transfar platform.  The standard gauge tracks are at the far right out of the photograph.

A close view of mixed train 1224 arriving in SuWon.  In the right distance can be seen the motorcar shed.  One of the motorcars is visible.

A final view of mixed train 1224 arriving in SuWon.  The locomotive HK8-28 is 2-8-2T,  Working in the cramped quarters of the cab must have been stifling in the summer heat.  Barely visible at the bottom of the token hoop.  These hoops contained a leather pouch into which the token was inserted.  The token was inserted into a machine at a depot.  Once in the machine a signal was sent to the next token station on the line.  This alerted that agent that a train was entering the block.  The token was then handed up to the engineer.  The engineer would take the token to the next station wher he would give it to the agent.  The agent would then insert the token into a machine that would notify the station that issued the token thas the train had arrived and the block was now clear.


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