Construction Begins on High-Speed Railway, Critical for PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games
Construction has begun on a new high-speed railway running past PyeongChang, host city of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, that will be a key facility for the Games and boost regional tourism. A ground-breaking ceromony was held Friday to mark the construction of this crucial infrastructure that was a central component for PyeongChang's Olympic bid.
The new 120-km tracks are designed for a maximum speed of 250 kilometres per hour and is expected to cut travel time between Seoul and the eastern coastal city of Gangneung from five-and-a-half hours to about one hour. From Wonju, it will take only 37 minutes to reach Gangneung where the ice sports events will be held.
Construction is scheduled for completion by 2017, one year ahead of the 2018 Games.
Officials say foreign athletes and visitors to the Games can travel conveniently aboard KTX high-speed trains from Incheon International Airport to the Olympic venues without having to transfer trains.
President Lee Myung-bak said during the groundbreaking ceremony, "the Wonju-Gangneung railway is a core transportation route of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and a core infrastructure that will determine the success of the Olympics".
"Athletes and tourists arriving from around the world can get from Incheon International Airport to the Olympic Stadium in just one and a half hours on special trains".
He added, "by the time of 2018 we are expected to fully join the ranks of advanced nations with our per capita national income exceeding $30,000. The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics will be a sports festival declaring the Republic of Korea is not only an economic power, but also a truly advanced nation with sports and cultural capabilities".
PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee President Jin Sun Kim said, "we have taken the first significant step to fulfilling our bid commitment of efficient and effortless travel to PyeongChang. We sincerely thank the government and the Korean people for their unwavering support".
A PyeongChang 2018 press release said the rail service project is one of the main components of staging the most athlete-oriented and compact Olympic and Paralympic Games ever. Fifteen transportation projects are expected to be initiated in 2013. The projects include developments to the transportation networks in Gangwon Province and the shuttle bus services to the competition venues.
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