Home Train Types and Seat Classes in South Korea

Train Types and Seat Classes in South Korea

According to the speed and facilities inside, South Korean trains can be classified as three levels. Korea Train Express (KTX), which is also known as high-speed train, is the fastest rail service in South Korea. The second fastest rail service is ITX-Saemaeul. Mugunghwa-ho trains are the regular trains with more stops than KTX and ITX services, but they are also well-maintained and comfortable.

South Korean Train Types

Korea Train Express (KTX)

Korea Train Express refers to South Korean high-speed rail system operated by Korail. The first KTX line between Seoul and Busan started to construct in 1992 and was completed in 2004. High-speed rail line was constructed in order to alleviate urban traffic pressure, especially to unload the burden of main roads to and from the capital.

There are two types of high-speed trains in South Korea, KTX and KTX-Sancheon. KTX trains run at a minimum speed of 200 kph (124 mph) and have top running speed of 305 kph (189 mph).

What are KTX Trains Like

  • Each KTX train consists of 20 carriages. Each KTX-Sancheon train consists of 10 carriages.
  • Each KTX train have 2 first class carriages, 14 standard class carriages and 1 unreserved carriage. First class cars have 1+2 configuration; Standard class cars have 2+2 configuration.
  • There are no dining cars on KTX trains.

High-Speed Rail Lines

Currently, KTX trains run on 5 high-speed rail lines:

  • Gyeongbu Line: Seoul - Busan
  • Honam Line: Seoul - Mokpo
  • Gyeongjeon Line: Samnangjin - Gwangju
  • Jeolla Line: Seoul - Yeosu
  • Gangneung Line: Siheung - Gangneung


ITX-Saemaeul is an express class of train travel between neighbouring cties. It is also operated by Korail. The ITX-Saemaul is one of the newest rail service in the country, though not a match to the KTX trains in terms of speed or comfort.

At present, ITX-Saemaeul trains run on 3 lines:

  • Gyeongbu Line: Seoul - Busan
  • Honam Line: Seoul - Mokpo
  • Jeolla Line: Seoul - Yeosu

Nuriro Train

Nuriro are semi-express trains operated by Korail. They began operation on Gyeongbu Line and Janghang Line in 2009. Nowadays, Nuriro trains are traveling on five lines: Gyeongbu Line, Jangbang Line, Chungbuk Line , Honam Line and Kwangju Line.


Mugunghwa-ho is the cheapest type of trains operated by Korail. They started operating in the South Korean rail network in 1983. Before the KTX trains put into service in 2004, Mugunghwa-ho trains are the most common train class.

Mugunghwa trains run mainly on suburban routes and stop at every stations along the way.

Seat Classes

Trains in South Korea can be classified as two classes: first class and standard class.

First Class

Seats in the first class are arranged as 1+2, three seats in each row, which are spacious and provide more leg room than an airplane. Each seatback is adjustable and attached to a foldable tray table. Power sockets are available at the bottom of the seat. All first class seats can be rotated and are facing forward.

Suitcases and bags can be put on the luggage racks above the seats. There are luggage closets at the connection of carriages for large suitcase.

Standard Class

Seats in standard class are arranged as 2+2, four seats in a row. The seatback is adjustable and attached a foldable tray table. But not all seats are facing forward.

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