I don't know if direct rail service means the end is nigh (after all, I took the subway through the ghost stations from West Berlin to East Berlin back in the old Cold War days) but surely these changes are a sign that things are really starting to move.

Is it impolite to note now that the only way South Korean industry is going to be able to handily exploit cheap northern labor is if this very transportation question is resolved successfully?

INSIDE JoongAng Daily

As agreed during the South-North Korean summit meeting in October, a train crossed the world’s most heavily fortified border yesterday, opening the first regular train service between the two Koreas in over half a century.
In a ceremony marking the crossing, the train’s lead engineer, Shin Jang-cheol, informed Korea Railroad President Lee Cheol that the historic moment was at hand.
“This may be a short trip but it will become the first step in realizing a railroad that will connect through the North with China and Siberia, linking the whole Korean Peninsula with the Eurasian continent,” said an emotional Lee.
The train left the South’s Dorasan Station at 8:20 a.m. and arrived at the Panmun Station two hours later. About 50 area residents waved flags depicting the Korean Peninsula as the train left Dorasan, letting out a long whistle. Shin also piloted the train at its test crossing in May.
The train was greeted at Panmun Station by Unification Minister Lee Jae-jung and his North Korean counterpart, Kwon Ho-ung. “The train whistle is like the beating heart of the Korean Peninsula. The inter-Korean railroad will aid the establishment of a logistics system on the Korean Peninsula,” Lee said.
On its way to the North, the train carried road signs and raw materials bound for a shoe factory. On its return trip, it carried a load of finished clothing, shoes and watchbands produced at the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
At inter-Korean defense ministerial talks last month, the North agreed to provide the crucial military security guarantees, a key requirement that made the inter-Korean train service possible. The train is scheduled to leave the South’s Dorasan Station at 9 a.m. for Panmun Station. It will begin the return trip at 2 p.m. everyday.
The North’s Bongdong Station, located in the vicinity of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, will be the final destination of the train once a terminal is constructed in two to three years’ time.
The last inter-Korean train service linking Seoul and Pyongyang ended in 1952 duringthe Korean War.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo is scheduled to visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex today, the prime minister’s office announced yesterday in a released statement.


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