South Korea’s public railway operator Korea Railroad Corporation (Korail) said on Thursday that it has successfully test-run what would be the country’s longest freight train - 1.2 kilometers long with 80 cars - on a short distance from Busan New Port to Jillye station in southern coast railway.
According to Korail, two locomotives or power-providing engines are required to move a freight train with 40 or more cars. It had been a technical challenge for the operator to connect two locomotives with 80 container cars as it would take a long time to put on the brake of a long train. As part of efforts to overcome the challenge, Korail connected each of the two locomotives at the very front and rear of the container cars by applying cutting-edge technology that allows the front locomotive with an engine driver to wirelessly control the rear engine car.
This system has been applied to long cargo trains in other countries including the United States, China, and Australia based on technology developed by General Electric Co. and Wabtec Corporation. Korail, however, decided to develop its own technology to save cost and time and secure original technology that would make it easier to respond swiftly to changes in transportation environment.
To develop independent technology, Korail signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Korea Railroad Research Institute and Hyundai Rotem Co.
The state-owned railway operator said that the latest technology development has allowed Korea to significantly improve rail transportation efficiency in a short period of time. In general, a freight train is run by connecting 33 container cars. The latest train that successfully completed its trial operation has 80 container cars, which allow 2.4 times more cargo to be loaded.
Hong Soon-man, chief executive and president of Korail, said that the company will secure competitiveness in the logistics sector and improve transportation efficiency by introducing advanced technology to railway logistics. It will also put out efforts to contribute to reducing the country’s distribution cost by taking advantage of bulk transportation, he added.
By Ko Jae-man
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