25 Sep

In Seoul the train lines are mostly named by numbers number one being the oldest and number nine being the newest. This is a stop from the line one. Mostly the platforms are indoors. Sometimes you get lucky, or unlucky, and you wait outside.

Why I love travelling by train.

One of the great things about South Korea is that it is easy and relatively inexpensive to travel the country.   Also, since moving here I have discovered my love for trains.

There is just something special about being on a train. I grew up in a coal mining town.  While there were no passenger trains there was a coal train that would carry loads of coal from the mine to Sydney where it would be processed and shipped to wherever it was going.  I used to love watching the train pass by, lumps of coal falling out of the cars that had been overfilled.  I remember waiting to see the caboose, for some unknown reason, this would give me pleasure.

I saw my first passenger train when I was 19.  I remember being in a car with my friends, we were spending the weekend in Halifax, Nova Scotia with some friends. We were driving on the highway and  I saw the VIA Rail  train pass us.  I remember being surprised and, not thinking, I said, “That’s the first train I have seen that carries people.”  My friends rolled their eyes and laughed.  This didn’t bother me.

My first train ride was in Seoul.  I had just arrived and did not know how to use the subway system.  My friend who had lived there for six months already took me down to the subway to teach me how to do it.  I traveled one stop, it only took a minute.  It was so full, I didn’t think that we would fit. We did.  We traveled one minute and got out at the next step.  It was so easy!

The next week we traveled to Hongdae on the subway, a popular place for the nightlife in Seoul. This time we had to transfer to another line which was easy enough.  On the subway you are mostly underground so there is not much to look at.  Unexpectedly, we emerged from underground to pass over the Han River.  I looked out the window and saw the cityscape reflecting on the river.  It was so beautiful.

Seoul, Han River

Going over the Han River on the train is always a treat.

I don’t know if it was watching the coal trains travel through my town, carrying coal that was the town’s industry and history, or if it was being on a train and traveling over a river and seeing the city lights at night in a new place that did it.  I fell in love with trains at some point.  I am only new to trains, but a goal of mine will be to travel on as many as possible. A quantifiable goal is to travel across Canada on the VIA Rail, for starters.

In South Korea you can travel by the Seoul subway system which is convenient and easy.  Sometimes it is crowded, sometimes it’s pleasant.  The real train fun is in travel outside of the city on the KTX.  There is a high speed train that can travel up to 300km/h as well.  This is fun, convenient and comfortable way to travel as well.  This is how I traveled to Yeosu last time I went.

I have decided to begin a bucket list of travel things to do.  On it I am going to add:

-Travel across Canada on the VIA Rail

-Travel on a train in ten different countries

Wine Train Korea

This is the interior of a train I took to Yeongdong. There was unlimited wine and snacks served as you traveled through the country side. When you reached your destination, a winery in Yeongdong, there was an outdoor buffet with more wine and some cultural experience activities like learning to play a drum and a wine foot bath.

What are your favourite ways to travel? Does anyone have any interesting train stories, good or bad?




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