Construction of the test section of the Gyeongbu High-Speed Railroad line between Cheonan and Daejon began in June of last year and the project is now in full swing.
A total of KRW 10.74 trillion will be invested into the high-speed railway project from 1992 until 2001. Given the size of the project, national interest was one of the government’s main priorities when selecting a railway car supplier. The government also made sure the selection process was carried out in an entirely transparent and fair manner.
The contract was ultimately given to a French company named Alstom. Alstom was superior to German rival Siemens in terms of its economic feasibility, its operational experience, the financing options it offered and its construction timeframe.
When the high-speed line is inaugurated in 2002, the trains will be able to make the 431-kilometer trip from Seoul to Busan in two hours.
Called TGV, the French high-speed train is capable of reaching a top speed of 300 km/h. It has transported over 200 million passengers since its inauguration in 1981 and no casualties have ever been recorded.
During the selection process, the government regularly asked the bidders to revise their offers in order to respect the rules of international competition. This was done to eliminate doubts and distrust once the result of the selection was announced.