*The First Run of the Double-Track Gyeongchun Railway
With construction begun in 1999 and a budget of $2.36 billion, the double-track Gyeongchun Railway has finally been completed. The express train from Sangbong Station arrives at Chuncheon Station in 63 minutes, the all-stop train in 79. Travel time is half of what it was on the Mugunghwa Train, and trains run four times as often. Gangwon Province has now entered the rail era.
*The Last Run of the Gyeongchun Line
On December 20, 2010, the Gyeongchun Line faced its last run, after 71 years of transporting the youth and romance of young Koreans. Before the last trip of the Mugunghwa Train from Seoul to Chuncheon, people are busy making memories everywhere - in the waiting rooms, in front of the trains. All of the visitors lament the last of the Gyeongchun Line. An old couple returns to Chuncheon remembering a college trip with friends, and a group of college kids say they are honored to take their last college trip on the last train of the Gyeongchun Line. We capture the last run of the Gyeongchun Line.
*History of the Gyeongchun Line
The Gyeongchun Line was created as a freight train for carrying war supplies in 1939 under Japanese colonial rule. With the end of the Korean War, the steam locomotives became the Bidulgi Train, the Tongil Train and the Mugunghwa Train. In 1967, the Gyeongchun Line took soldiers to Busan before they were deployed to the Vietnam War. From the late 1980s to today, the Gyeongchun Line has been the symbol of youth and memories.
*Disappearing Way Stations and the Old Line
With the opening of the double-track railway on December 21, a new route has been formed. The way stations that had been a part of the old route have faded into memory, and only 9 of the 17 original Gyeongchun Line stations remain open.
Kwon Jae-hui, the station director of Seoul's Hwarangdae Station, wants to stay with Hwarangdae Station as long as he can. Gapyeong Station is famous as the travel destination of Korea's youth in the 1970s and 1980s, and of today's youth, who seek a slightly different experience there. Gyeonggang Station is famous for its beautiful scenery and for being the set of the movie "Love Letter." We take a look at the breathtaking landscape through the eyes of the Gyeongchun Line engineer.
* The Story of People Along the Gyeongchun Line
Kim In-sun has spent her entire life listening to the sounds of the train, ever since she was married at 19. She owns a buckwheat noodle store right next to the railroad. There used to be an actual station here, but when the station disappeared, her store became quiet. Two men who grew up listening to the sounds of the Gyeongchun Train grew up to work with the railroad themselves. For these people, the Gyeongchun Line was life.
*The Memory of the Gyeongchun Line in Photos
Photographer Shim Chang-seop, with the Chuncheon Cultural Foundation, was born and raised in Chuncheon and grew up with the Gyeongchun Line. Baekyangri Station, contained in his photos, was opened on July 25, 1939 and became an unmanned way station in December 2004.
* The Last Train Bids Goodbye
Namchuncheon Station. At 8 p.m. on December 20, people fill the station and press their shutters, as if lining a red carpet. The star of the hour is the last Gyeongchun Line Train, leaving for Seoul. The supporting role is played by the train engineer, who smiles as he signs autographs. So many people spanning all walks of life and several generations gather to pay their respects to the last train. The Gyeongchun Line had for so long transported the romance of youth, the pain of the Korean people, and the lives of ordinary citizens. The journey is over. The night sky darkens, exhaling with bittersweet calm at the end of a 71-year run.