Personally I think this is one of the most beautiful buildings in North Korea.
Pyongyang’s first railway station was built in 1920 but was destroyed in the Korean War. While the current three story (plus basement) building, built in 1958, is classified as socialist style architecture it is far from the boxy 1950s Soviet type buildings more commonly built in Pyongyang after the Korean War.
Especially noteworthy are the more classical type caps on the otherwise bland brick columns at the front of the buildings, the stunning clock tower and the two bronze statues, one on either side of the roof of the central part of the building. Alas, rather than being Roman goddesses or Greek nymphs the statues are of two Korean workers. I almost forgot to mention the omnipresent pictures of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il which adorn the façade of the station as they do every other public building in the country.
In addition to domestic services the only international services operating from Pyongyang at present are services to Beijing and Moscow though in both cases rolling stock is generally not North Korean, this being decoupled from the train at Sinuiju on the Chinese border. Trains on the line to Seoul currently terminate at Kaesong about 2kms north of the border with South Korea. With the exception of three very short branch lines all train lines in North Korea are electrified.
Being a great fan of trains I jumped at the opportunity to take to Pyongyang – Beijing train though did do a stopover in Sinuiju on the way out of North Korea. This trip from Pyongyang is the subject of a separate review on my North Korea – Introduction section – Getting out of the DPRK by Train.
I was hoping that when we got to the station for our trip out we would have had a good opportunity to have a look around. Sadly, that wasn’t to be as we were shepherded into what was obviously a VIP style lounge for international travellers on the right hand side of the building (looking at it face on).
While jaded, the lounge was well appointed with sofas (complete with crocheted back and arm covers) and a small shop. The walls were decorated with a small amount of revolutionary artwork and yet more pictures of the Leaders. It was unclear as to whether photography was permitted inside the station or not hence my single rather poor quality picture. Surprisingly, there was no problem whatsoever with taking pictures on the platform.
As our train pulled onto the extremely spacious Platform One we were invited to board. We had received our tickets when our passports were returned to us en route to the station.
Interestingly the main ticket and terms and conditions (which you cant see on my attached picture) are in Korean, Russian and German with no Chinese even though that is where all international trains go, at least in the first instance.
This is the last blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries on my trip to Pyongyang. I trust you have enjoyed reading about my trip to Pyongyang and invite you to partake of another of the loops on my “Travel Loop” page, by clicking HERE.