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Don's Rail Photos

Korean National RR

Joseon Chongdokbu Cheoldoguk

Another Railfan Chased Korean Trains

Photographs taken by Robert Gaddie


17 December 1967

The railroad did not have enough boiler equipped diesel locomotives for all of the passenger service provided.  Therefore heater cars were used.  This one appears to have been built from a steam locomotive tender.  It is being readied at SuSaeg.  The steam locomotive will take the car down to Seoul and couple it onto its train.  A fireman rode the heater car.  One night I looked into one.  It reminded me of Dante's Inferno.

Children everywhere like to have photograph taken.  These urchins were using the SuSaeg yard as a playground.  I suggested that they rethink that idea.  In the background two locomotives stand by the engine house awaiting their next assignment.

Locomotive PC5-23 takes water at SuSaeg prior to going on duty.  The background is the engine house.  The track the locomotive is standing on contains an inspection pit.  To the right in the background is a heater car.

A railroad employee holds a token pouch.  The token would be placed in the leather pouch he holds in his right hand.  The pouch would then be placed on a stand similar to a train order stand.  As the train arrived in the station a  trainman would snatch the ring and pouch.  He would then throw off the pouch that he had picked up at the previous station.  The signalman had no protection against the elements when throwing the Armstrong levers of the interlocking plant at SuSaeg.

A locomotive works the yard at SuSaeg.  This yard was on the north edge of Seoul.  It was once an important receiving yard for freight coming from the north.  After the division of the Koreas the yard lost most of its importance.  By the late 1960s it was largely used for the storage of unneeded equipment.  There was a small locomotive shop that serviced steam engines that the yards and industries in Seoul.  There was a round house at SuSaeg that had severely damaged in the war.  It was in ruins by the late 1960s.


27 December 1967

Train 197 powere by PC5-37, a 4-6-2, arrives at PaJu.  The train is en route to Munsan from Seoul.

Locomotive PC5-37, a 4-6-2, has just arrived in Munsan with train 197 from Seoul.  During the winter steam powered passenger trains were common.  This was due to the fact that the railroad did not have enough boiler equipped diesel locomotives or heat cars for al the passenger trains that were operated.  Steam locomotives could provide the steam necessare to hear the cars.  The heating systems in the coaches were not in good repair.  The rear cars usually had not heat at all.

Locomotive PC5-37, a 4-6-2, has cut off train 197 and is running around the train to return to Seoul as train 198.  There was no wye or turntable at Munsan.  At one time Munsan was a station ont "Paris--Pusan Railroad".  After the division of Korea was cut back to Munsan.  At this time the tracks extended about 1/2 mile north of the Munsan depot.  At that point were a series of spurs that went into the Second Supply & Transportation Battalion compound.  Supplies were brought up from Inchon by rail and delivered to the S&T compound.  Beyond the end of track was an abandoned railroad tunnel and beyond that the railroad right of way was, essentially, intact to the DMZ.

Locomotive PC5-37, a 4-6-2, has run around it train at Munsan and is preparing to return to Seoul as train 198.  The fireman is under the locomotive probably trying to repair a steam leak.

Locomotive PC5-37, a 4-6-2, has coupled onto its train and is preparing to leave Munsan for Seoul as train 198.  The large 3 painted next to the vestibule on the coach indicates that this is a third class coach.  All trains on the Seoul -- Munsan line were third class.  By the time the train left KumChon, the second stop from Munsan, passengers would be standing.  By the tame the train arrived in Seoul it would be packed.

Train 198 powered by PC5-37, a 4-6-2, leaves KumChon en route Seoul in a frosty December morning.  The locomotive is operating in reverse.  Steam leaking from the locomotive will encrust the lead coach in ice by the time the train reaches Seoul.

Train 198 powered by PC5-37, a 4-6-2, pauses at UnJoeng.  The multitude of steam leaks makes one wonder how the fireman was able to maintain enough boile pressure to keep the locomotive operating.  By steam steam was in full retreat on the KNR.

Train 198 powered by PC5-37, a 4-6-2, pauses at UnJoeng.  The proud old locomotive is living on borrowed time.

Departing UnJoeng in a storm of smoke and steam PC5-37, a 4-6-2, is enroute Seoul.  This is train 198 from Munsan.  This locomotive had brought a train up from Seoul earlier that morning.  There was no wye or turntable at Munsan.  Therefore the PC5-37 ran around its train and is operating in reverse.  The coaches are of American origin.

Locomotive PC5-37, a 4-6-2, pulls train 198 away from UnJoeng en route Seoul.  The rear coach is decidedly American.


16 February 1968

Train 197 operating between Seoul and Munsan crosses a stream at PaJu.  The train is a mix of American and Korean built coaches.


 22 February 1968

Looking like something out of Dr. Zhivago train 197 powered by locomotive PC5-24 arrives at PaJu en route Munsan.  Note the snow on the railheads.  PaJu was one of the most primitive of stations on the KNR system.  Beyond the small booth that housed the ticket agent was a shelter that provided only minimal protection from the elements.  The actual village of PaJu was about a mile away and reached by a path across the rice paddies.


21 April 1968

Locomotive MK3-272 switches near the passenger terminal in Seoul.  By this date most steam power was confined to yard switching.  The three silveer cars in the distance are refrigerator cars.  They were ice cooled.

Locomotive PC5-20 leads a passenger train at the Seoul terminal.  It was rare to see a steam powered passenger train during the spring or summer.  The structure seen over the train at the left is an elevated walkway over the tracks.  This walkway led from the waiting room to the platforms.  Stairs came down from the walkway to each platform.  At one time there were elevators that descended to the platforms.  As late at 1968 the shafts were still filled with debris from the war.

Locomotive PC5-20 powers a train north from Seoul station.  The tracks around the Seoul terminal were below street level.  This permitted a number of grade separations near the terminal.


30 June 1968

The young man leaning out the window seems more interested in the photographer than the steam locomotive shuffling gondola cars at YongDongPo.  He probably does not realize that steam on the KNR is in rapid decline.  In a few more years steam will be only a memory.

A steam locomotive switches passenger cars at YongDongPo station in the outskirts of Seoul.


27 July 1968

Locomotive MK3-144 works the area around CheongRyangRi in the eastern part of Seoul.  Passengers seek shelter from the summer sun under the canopy at the left.  Farther left and out of the photograph is the terminal of the CheongRyangRi streetcar line.

A locomotive switches passenger cars at CheongRangRi.  The large number 2 painted on each coach indicates that they are second-class coaches.  A second-class ticket provided the passenger with a reserved seat in one of the systems better coaches.  There were no standees in second class.  Note the concrete ties.  Weed was a precious commedity in Korea.  Long before they became common in the US, the Koreans were using concrete ties.

Locomotive MK3-185 was a 2-8-2 and powers a freight train at WangSipNi station in Seoul.


There were differing ways of pronouncing Korean words regarding the cities.  Some examples were SuWon for Bob and Suwon for me.  Susaek for me and SuSaeg for Bob.  CheongRyanRi for Bob and Chyongyangni for me.  I was night roundhouse honcho there for several months.  I also took a few pictures of the trolleys there.  Yongdongpo was our battalion headquarters and I started there in January 1953. 

Wangsipni was on the line between Chyongyangni and Yongsan around the southern part of Seoul.  There was a trolley shop which was the Kyongsong Tramway which ran from East Gate to Songsudong where the Han River passed.


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