The International Steam Pages
Pyongyang's Transport of Delight
Click here to return to the main report.
North Korea has little or no oil of its own, consequently, public transport uses electricity, which is in short supply right now and directly related to the current crisis concerning the country's nuclear policy.
Opened in stages since the 1970s, this is a very efficient system, the station interiors are a wonder to behold. There are two lines as shown on the map below:
We had a ride from 'Reconstruction' Station which is the lower left hand terminus which seems to be something of a showpiece:
This is the mural in the distance above:
This is one of the standard sets in use on this line, Torsten
Frieboese tells me that this is a steel bodied set formerly of the Berlin metro
sold to the country in 1999. See
Set 001 seems to be special, it has curtains in the driving compartment, others sets of this design are at work.
The Dear Leader is also seen regularly in murals.
We visited (part of) a tram depot on the south-west side of town. The manager said he had 120 trams and that there were two more depots in the city. I am no expert but they seemed to be Eastern European at least in influence, some of them (including the articulated set) were marked CKD. They seem to run round a balloon loop at the terminals, so most are unidirectional. Trains usually consist of two cars, the second of which may be a trailer or a power car with its pantograph down. Our main tram trip was to the terminus at the bottom left.
Here is a selection of what we saw:
This articulated set is of a type which is bi-directional and alone among those I noted it has doors on both sides.
There are a huge number of these in all shapes, sizes and colours. The building in the first picture is a metro station.
Finally from another age is this paddle (ex-)steamer in use as a floating restaurant, although we were told it does excursions in the summer. It is apparently a 'Dresden Model', whether a gift from the former DDR or a local copy I do not know. The paddles seemed to have been removed temporarily to prevent damage when the river freezes. Steven Harrod comments (8th May 2004): "There are repeated references to this steamer in the Steamship Historical Society of America's journal. They have an annual compilation of preserved steam vessels. The vessel is a replica built for the Great Leader after he was impressed by a similar vessel on a state visit to Dresden, East Germany."