New President Oh Young-sik of Korail delivers his inaugural speech on ‘Feb. 20 at Korail headquarters in Daejeon.(Photos: Korail)
Korea Railroad Corp. (Korail) will be one of the busiest organizations during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics as it is in charge of the entire railroad transportation network that connectis the Olympic venues with the rest of the country.
Korail’s responsibility has been doubled with the opening of the Seoul-Gangneung KTX Line in December. The rail authority has also started a new high-speed rail service shortening the travel time to the nation’s East Coast to just over 2 hours.
Korail issued special cards and passes with benefits for tourism and transportation in consultation with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and other related organizations so tourists can enjoy the new KTX line to the PyeongChang Olympic venues in places such as Gangneung and Jeongson and also visit the tourist attractions in mountain areas deep in Korea’s East Coast.
The rail authority issued the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics Seoul-Gangneung Pass for domestic tourists, while the PyeongChang Rail Pass and the Korea Tour Card was given out to foreign tourists.
Korail launched the new KTX Seoul-Gangneung Line connecting the No. 2 Passenger Terminal at Incheon Int’l Airport on Dec. 13, preceding the opening of the new terminal at the international airport on Dec. 18.
Korail plans to introduce a special tourist package connecting seven cities exclusively for foreign tourists. Included are Noryangjin in Seoul and Incheon Rail Station and planes where foreign tourists can enjoy traditional Korean culture and history.
The Korea Rail Pass provides foreigners visiting Korea with unlimited access to the Standard Class seats of the KTX, KTX-Sancheon, Saemaeul, Mugunghwa, Nuriro, O, V-train, S-train, DMZ-train, A-train, G-train and ITX-Cheongchun for a fixed period of time. The pass is not valid for First Class seats or the subway system.
The Korail Pass (the same as the Korea Rail Pass) is sold and issued by Korail as an exchangeable voucher, which must be exchanged for the actual rail pass at any Korean Railway Station no more than 1 day before the start of use. The voucher must be exchanged within 180 days from the date it was issued.
Failure to do so will mean that the voucher is automatically cancelled by the system and therefore no longer valid. Once you have your Korea Rail Pass you can then make reservations for specific trains at the station. Non-South Korean residents and those who have Passport Residence or Permanent Residency are eligible for the Korail Pass. Visitors staying in South Korea more than six months are ineligible for Korail Pass and are eligible for the Happy Rail Pass instead.
A 10% discount for Incheon Airport Railroad Express ticket is available with the purchase of Korail Pass. One child under age 4 may travel for free with each fare-paying chaperone aged over 12.
It is very important to note that Korean citizens who are residents abroad can use the Korea Rail Pass only if they have a permanent residency status in a foreign country. It is up to the individual Korean citizen to present full proof of status when buying the rail pass and when exchanging the rail pass voucher once in Korea. The Korea Rail Pass is a registered pass that cannot be used by any other individual whose name does not match the information on the voucher. You may not purchase more than two passes for yourself per reservation.
All trains operated by Korail, the national railway of South Korea, are included. KTX, Saemaeul and Mugunghwa trains can be used in 2nd class travel, also known as general or standard seating.
Non-KTX trains are called the Saemaeul, Mugunghwa and Tonggeun corresponding roughly to express, semi-express and local services. Smoking is not permitted on any Korean trains or stations, including on open platforms.