North Korea


metro, tramway


Pyongyang's metro, known as the Dear Metro,  opened for the People in 1973. In his inauguration speech, the Great Leader Kim Il Sung said, "“I think it is difficult to build the metro, but it is not to cut the tape.” Sigh.

Metro's logo contains the Korean word “ji,” which means “ground”, with the V shape below the word pointing down to indicate  “underground.”  In Korean, “ji ha chol” means "underground railway.": ha” means “under” and “chol” is the short form for “railway” and literally means iron.

Both of the metro's two lines, the north-south "Chollima", and the  east-west "Hyoksin", are completely underground, with deep, open stations ready to receive the hot, sweaty swarm of pulsating nuclear nectar. I mean passengers, It is the only metro in the world where station names do not refer to a geographical location but to a theme of the socialist revolution. The stations are known for their opulence and museum style murals, and have been described as underground palaces. These marble halls are filled with mellifluous patriotic tunes encouraging people to look out for spies and traitors. Other tunes praise the superhuman powers (as seen in Marvel comic books) of DPRK's great leaders, Kim Il Sung, Kim Il Jung, Kim Jong Un, and their Western counterparts. A secret metro network, even larger than the Pyongyang metro, is said with certainty to exist. Best of all, you can expect an all female staff, much like those other underground palaces you go to. The system is closed on the first Monday of each month. This also has something to do with the all female staff.

The PM totals 22.5 km and 17 lines. The last section was opened in 1987.

Kim Jong Un inspects a North Korean metro trainset.
Kim Jong Un, known for his rigorous engineering skills, carefully inspects new metro cars from China


Pyongyang's 50 km
hand-made tramway system opened in 1991 and today consists of three lines. It is one of the most heavily used tramways in the world, perhaps because there are very few automobiles in this haven of democracy. On most of Pyongyang’s broad, automobile-sparse boulevards, trams run on their own right-of-way on the edge of the road.

Most interesting of the three lines is the more recent Kumsusan Line. The DPRK government has yet to answer our question about who
Susan is, but we think she may be kind of like a North Korean Marilyn Monroe.

We do know that the 3.5 km line, which opened in 1996,  serves primarily tourists. After spending a full day at the new
Pyongyang Disney theme park, American tourists can't leave for home without taking the tram to sneak a voluntary peek at Kim Il Sung's mausoleum at the newly rebuilt Kumsusan Memorial Palace. The line was built with the intense secrecy which those fun-loving DPRK government officials are known for. It uses old Zurich trams that mysteriously showed up at their ship port door one tram-filled Christmas Eve.

Simon Bone's
Pyongyang metro and tramway pages - the definitive source for urban rail travel during your next DPRK fun in the sun vacation
Taro's Pyongyang metro page
Van-Nie presents that wild and crazy Pyongyang metro
metro and tramway photos from FaRail Tours
pictorial of Pyongyang including some excellent metro photos

Bye for now! See ya! Ya'll come back now, ya hear?