The International Steam Pages

Preserved Steam in South Korea

The following is an edited and cut down version of an article written by John Middleton which appeared in Continental Railway Journal 170. It is used with the express permission of the author. The original contained much further information on the country's railways today. Pictures are at the end of the text and I would welcome further pictures of the other preserved steam locomotives to complete the story and have now added pictures from Bill Pugsley of those at Imjingak (10th January 2014) and Jeju Sammu Park, Jeju (11th January 2014) and some from Eddie Barnes (19th October 2023).

Information from Eddie Barnes about the Hwarangdae Railway Park was added on 12th October 2023. 

Preserved Steam Locomotives

The following list of preserved locomotives has been compiled from web and other sources. There appear to be 20 steam locomotives preserved in South Korea, in addition locomotive CS-2 101 (former USATC) 2-8-0 (Alco 1918) is preserved at Green Bay, WI, USA. The former Erie 4-6-2 No.2524 long rumoured to be preserved in South Korea has almost certainly been scrapped as no reference can be found on any Korean website.

Korean steam locomotive classification followed the Southern Pacific Harriman system based on the wheel arrangement name (eg: Mikado = Mika). This was transliterated from English to Japanese and on to Chinese or Korean (or both). Harriman was involved in the South Manchurian and the same system was used in Korea, probably because it was established in Manchuria. It gets rather complicated as different transliterations exist and for simplicity in the list below these have been reduced to the English letters, as per current Chinese practice, transliterations known to have been used are:

PS – Pasi or Paci 
MK – Mika 
MT – Mate
TH – Teho or Tow
HK – Heoki or Hyouki

A good reference with photos for KNR steam classes is the website (Link dead by May 2023)

Builders details of locomotives listed are sketchy and some locations are vague from internet references, additional / corrected details welcomed.

Standard Gauge

PS-5 23 4-6-2 Kawasaki 2649/1942 Uiwang Korean Railroad Museum Picture
TH-5 700 4-6-0 Alco c/1914 Uiwang Korean Railway Research Institute (sectioned) Picture
MK-3 129 2-8-2 Japan c/1938 Daejeon Korail Workshops
MK-3 161 2-8-2 Nippon 830/1939 Uiwang Korean Railroad Museum Picture
MK-3 244 2-8-2 Japan c/1944 Imjingak War Memorial  Picture
MK-3 304 2-8-2 Japan c/1945 Jeju Sammu Park, Jeju Picture
MK-5 31 2-8-2 Japan  c1952 Incheon University
MK-5 34 2-8-2 Japan c1952 Hwarangdae Railway Park (updated 12th October 2023)
MK-5 37 2-8-2 Japan c1952 Daewoo Heavy Industries
MK-5 48 2-8-2 Japan c1952 Daegu: Children's Park
MK-5 56 2-8-2 Japan c1952 Seoul: Children's Grand Park Picture
MT-2  ? 4-8-2 Kawasaki c1942 Imjingak: DMZ Park Picture
SY 901 2-8-2 Changchun 1994 Jeongseon: Korail Station (SY 3016)


  • The locomotive at the new DMZ War Memorial Park at Imjingak carries no identification but is believed to be a Class MT-2, the locomotive was abandoned at Jangdan in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) for 56 years after being wrecked during the Korean War. The locomotive (without tender) has now been “conserved” in its wrecked state. Its location is a short distance away from MK-3 244. There are now pictures of these two locomotives at the end of this page.
  • The MK-5 Class are former USATC locomotives (9400 series).

2' 6" Gauge

HK 1 2-6-2T Mitsubishi c1952 Hwarangdae Railway Park (updated 12th October 2023)
HK 7 2-8-2 Nippon 1562/1950 Incheon: Park (previously at Yongdong Expressway rest stop)
HK 8 2-8-2 Mitsubishi c1952 Heuksan
HK-11 12 2-8-2 Japan c1944 Yongin: "Everland" theme park
HK-11 13 2-8-2 Nippon 1944 Uiwang: Korean Railroad Museum Picture
HK-11 14 2-8-2 Nippon 1944 Incheon (previously at Sangyong Mountain Resort)
HK-8 28 2-8-2T Japan 1934 Science museum, Seoul Picture

The Korean Railroad Museum

This is located about 20 km south of Seoul on the east side the Gyeongbu main line about 10 minutes walk south of Uiwang Station (frequent Metro Line 1 services). Confusingly the area is also known as Bugok and Korail’s Bugok diesel depot is in the yards opposite Uiwang Station. The museum is pleasantly laid out and is open 09.00-18.00 (it closes at 17.00 in winter Nov-Feb), and is closed on Mondays, certain public holidays (and the days after those holidays). Entrance fee is only 500 won (about UK 30 p). There is also a large collection of small exhibits and models inside the museum building including a very nice 15” gauge 1/3 scale PS-1 class 4-6-2 carrying number 4288, built in Seoul workshops in 1930. The PS-1 class seem to have been numbered 901-923 (later 1-23) and so it’s not clear the significance of 4288 on this model. There is no operating railway at the museum (contrary to previous reports) although a short section of standard gauge track has two odd battery powered 4-wheel “golf-cart” type vehicles which can be run up and down and seem to be aimed at school groups. Prior to this railcar 9601 (which no longer carries any number) ran up and down on about 200 yards of track. There are also various items of rolling stock including two heavy-weight 12 wheel coaches, No. 16 built in Japan in 1927 and used as the Presidents saloon and No. 17 built in Seoul in 1936 and used by the UN Commander in Chief, four other coaches, a heating car and a driving trailer (9904) from a Daewoo built EMU. a KTX prototype mock-up car, two ballast tampers and a 1927 built bogie steam-crane.

Immediately to the west of the railroad museum is the Korean Railway Research Institute (KRRI), this seems to consist of various research facilities including a standard gauge electrified test track running around the south and west sides of the site but not connected to Korail, working locomotives on this were two Sung Shin 4wDH (MC 0102 and MC0105). The steam locomotive is preserved under an awning near the main entrance, it is sectioned on its left side. The identity of the steam locomotive is uncertain, a plaque states it was built by Alco in 1914. Don Ross’ website shows the Teho-5 type as built from 1911-19 by Alco as well as Shahoukou with the first batches numbered 271-285/295-306, later 701-727, the last batch was 728-736 from new and all were eventually renumbered 1-36, so the origin of number 700 isn’t clear.

2023 Update (Eddie Barnes)

Essentially as described in John Middleton's report above, although canopies have been erected over many of the exhibits since 2012. There are three steam and one diesel locomotives exhibited here, but unfortunately one steamer was screened off for restoration at the time of my visit (12/08). In addition there are carriages, DMUs and departmental/maintenance vehicles.

2'6" gauge

HK-11 13 2-8-2 Ex-Chosen Railway 913. [1]

Standard gauge

Mikasa (MK-3) 161 2-8-2 Nippon Sharyo 830/1939

[Pashiko (PS-5) 23 4-6-2 Kawasaki 2649/1942 - screened off 12/08 2023]

3102 BoBoDE Alco RS8 3469.02/1966

[1] One of three locomotives, HK-11 12-14, all of which are preserved. Recorded as built by Hitachi in 1944, entries are absent from corresponding works lists.

Imjingak DMZ Park

The Visitor Centre at Imjingak is the most accessible gateway to the De-Militarised Zone (DMZ) and serves as a base for conducted tours nearer to the border with North Korea (passports required). The Seoul Subway Geonggui-Jungang line extends as far as Imjingang station, but only as a limited shuttle service from Munsan. There are only two return trips on weekdays (Munsan dep. 10:30 and 17:05, Imjingang dep. 10:50 and 17:25) and four at weekends (Munsan dep. 09:35, 10:35, 15:45 and 17:20, Imjingang dep. 10:00, 12:40, 16:10 and 17:40). At other times there is an irregular bus service from Munsan (details at station).

I have some potential identifications for the two steam locomotives exhibited in the vicinity of the Visitor Centre at Imjingak. I was unable to make a detailed examination of either locomotive (which I assume would have been recorded previously if anything could be found) and it is doubtful whether the true identities can be ascertained. For that reason the following are "best endeavours" and shouldn't be regarded as definitive!

Mikasa (MK-3) 244 2-8-2 Restored. [2]
Mateni (MT-2) 10(?) 4-8-2 Displayed in "wrecked" state at/near the site of the former Jangdan station. [3]

[2] If the number carried is correct, the locomotive would be Nippon Sharyo 1181/1943.
[3] Wikipedia has a photo of wrecked "Mate-ni 10" at Jangdang from 1976, which is the same locomotive. Based on such identification, it would suggest Kawasaki 2822/1943.

National Science Museum, Seoul

Located adjacent to the Changgyeonggung Palace, about 10 minutes walk west from Hyehwa Station on Metro Line 4. The locomotive and a tram are nicely preserved under awnings in the car park behind the museum. The museum is open daily except Mondays but the car park is accessible even when the museum is closed.

Gyeongchun Forest Park (Hwarangdae Railway Park) - (Added 12th October 2023)

A section of former roadside railway trackbed has been turned into a recreational area, with a display of railway items located around 10-15 minutes' walk from Hwarangdae metro station. The two steam locomotives previously displayed at the Children's Grand Park in Seoul were moved here in 2017, where they have been joined by other equipment. Accessible at all times and is free. At night there is a light show.

2'6" gauge

HK 1 2-6-2T, displayed with two carriages. 

[Reportedly one of a pair built by Mitsubishi 1951/2, but no corresponding entries found in works lists.]

Standard gauge

MK-5 56 2-8-2

[Builder/works number n/k. These locomotives were built in Japan 1950-55 for the UN/US Army (Hitachi, Kawasaki, Kisha Seizo, Mitsubishi, Nippon Sharyo) during the Korean War and its aftermath (Japan was under US occupation 1945-52), first numbered in the 9400 series. Five are preserved, of which no. 56 is the highest.]

2116 Tatra T3SUCS tram 179382/1989 (donation from CZ).

906 Hiroshima Electric Co. (Hiroden) tram car (ex-Osaka City Transportation Bureau 2627, 1969). Osaka Sharyo, 1957.

Reconstructed 1899 tram (moved from National Folk Museum, 2017). Gauge n/k.

All these pictures were taken by John Middleton on 19th/20th January 2012:

TH-5 700 at Uiwang Korean Railway Research Institute 

HK-11 13 at the Railroad Museum (Sorry about the snow on the lens)

PS- 5 23 at the Railroad Museum

MK-3 161 at the Railroad Museum

MK-5 56 at Seoul: Children's Grand Park

Narrow gauge HK-8 28 at the Science Museum, Seoul

Not strictly preserved steam is this 15" model at Uiwang Museum:

Finally, pictures of other surviving steam, courtesy of Bill Pugsley. His Flickr site has more pictures.

The MT-2 at Imjingak, which is an amazing survivor, it sat abandoned where it was blown up in the DMZ for 56 years until moved to the "Peace Park" in the DMZ on the border where it is best described as "conserved" rather than "preserved". It hasn't been identified but appears to be an MT-2 class.

This is MK-3 244 at Imjingak War Memorial:

This is MK-3 304 at Jeju Sammu Park, Jeju

The following is a catalogue of preserved railway items and artifacts, most of the surviving steam locomotives are illustrated between pages 85 and 133: 

The following additional pictures were taken by Eddie Barnes in August 2023, the first three on the 12th and the two at Imjingak on the 13th:

This is HK-11 13 at Uiwang Railroad Museum

This is MK-3 161 at Uiwang Railroad Museum

This is MK-5 56 at Seoul: Children's Grand Park

This is MK-3 244 at Imjingak War Memorial:

This is the MT-2 at Imjingak

Rob Dickinson