Kim chugs to Vladivostok...slowly

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An interesting look at the massively heavy armored train that North Korea's Kim Jong Un will take to pow-wow with Putin in Vladivostok. (A different kind of "Orient Express.") Like his father and grandfather, Kim is phobic about flying, which is kinda limiting in world-"leader" circles. Excerpt: "The cars are painted a distinctive green and yellow on the outside. Footage from inside shows glossy white interiors, with long tables for briefings and flat-screen monitors. Other images show rooms with red leather armchairs...'It was possible to order any dish of Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and French cuisine,' Pulikovsky [a Russian official who rode with Kim through Russia's Far East] wrote, adding that there were cases of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines and live lobsters. The travelers aboard the train were entertained by young female singers, who were introduced as 'lady conductors,' Pulikovsky recounted." Never mind that ordinary North Koreans continue to face famine. Y'know, I think I'll stick with the Cap Limited and the microwaved menu.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/09/11/kim-jong-un-armored-train-north-korea-putin/
(Washington Post has a paywall but everyone can read a few free articles a month.)
 
I wonder how they handle the gauge change since North Korea (and China which he might have to travel through, not sure of the track routing there) use standard (1435mm) gauge and Russia is 1520 mm (about 5 feet).
He probably went directly to Russia from North Korea via the Tumengang - Khasan crossing. There is a gauge change facility at Khasan using the usual technique of changing out trucks. There is dual gauge track upto Tumengang, so it is possible that the gauge change is done in Tumengang, but most available articles seem to suggest that the dual gauge in North Korea is mainly for Russian freight cars to get to the port of Rajin and has been constructed recently. Passenger car reguaging still happens at Khasan.

There is apparently a through Sleeping car to Moscow via Vladivostok that operates either weekly or fortnightly (depending on which document one believes) across this border crossing upto Tumengang in North Korea. No foreigners are allowed, except Russians to travel upto Rajin in North Korea. Apparently there is one official tour operator that can organize tour groups of foreigners on this service notwithstanding the other document that says no foreigners are allowed! I suppose a large enough wad of Dollars or Pounds will get you many special dispensations. 🥴

The main international service is between North Korea and Beijing. Additionally, there is a weekly train called the Trans-Manchurian Vostok that operates through Dadong on the North Korean border and then on to Beijing. One can change at Dadong to a service to North Korea.
 
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He's traveling faster than the Crescent does going through the Bermuda Triangle. LOL. I can vouch that their vintage East German metro cars are in a better state of repair then a lot of our Amfleets. Snarkiness aside, it's on my bucket list to go back.
 
He's traveling faster than the Crescent does going through the Bermuda Triangle. LOL. I can vouch that their vintage East German metro cars are in a better state of repair then a lot of our Amfleets. Snarkiness aside, it's on my bucket list to go back.
The problem in North Korea is currently the abysmal state of maintenance of tracks apparently. Most routes are limited to 100kph or less at present.
 
Easy target, but plenty of space to bring back goods after your shopping trip. Just a bit surprised Kim Jong Un does his own shopping.
He uses the doubles policy similar to Putin and Hitler. Three identical trains spaced minutes apart each likely packing a body double.
The problem in North Korea is currently the abysmal state of maintenance of tracks apparently. Most routes are limited to 100kph or less at present.
Even over perfect track I doubt it could kiss 100kph. It’s an armored train probably a blast resistant underbody with bullet resistant glass. The addition of carrying at least one armored limousine. It’s drawn by freight locomotives.
 
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