2023.07.14 Hyundai Rotem

To A Bigger World: Hyundai Rotem Rail Solution

Hyundai Rotem
Not many people know that June 28th is Korea’s National Train Day. Trains are our precious transportation every day. And Hyundai Rotem has been working hard to develop the national transportation, the railroad. Here we introduce Hyundai Rotem’s rail solution products and latest achievements that make everyday movement more convenient.

Railroad Day is a national anniversary to commemorate the establishment of ‘Korean National Railroad’, the first railway administrative agency in Korea in 1894, and the significance of railways as a means of national transportation, and at the same time to think about the hard work of faculties. New transportation has always led to economic development and improved quality of life. Railroads transported freight and coal, leading Korea to become a major exporting country, making all parts of the country ‘one-day travel available’ by covering Seoul and Busan in less than 5 hours, and even less than 3 hours after that. Naturally, trains started to give us more options as we could get where we wanted to in a short amount of time.

Hyundai Rotem, which produced Korea’s first high-speed train, KTX (Korea Train eXpress) for the Gyeongbu Line in 2004, has been steadily producing electric trains and developing Korean-style high-speed trains. And the company has contributed to the development of the national transportation, the railroad, and the freedom of movement of the people. And going beyond seamlessly connecting all parts of the country, it has recently become a major company in the market by exporting various railroad vehicles to 38 countries around the world, including Asia, the Middle East, and South America, as well as advanced railroad markets such as the Americas, Europe, and Oceania. These achievements are based on the ‘Hyundai Rotem Rail Solution’ built on the technology and market competitiveness that Hyundai Rotem has mastered for a long time. Hyundai Rotem’s potential and efforts, which are achieving results all over the world, are revealed in its rail solution product line.

Urban Railway: The arteries of the city connecting major infrastructures

Hyundai Rotem possesses manufacturing technology for all railway vehicles and supplies various types of vehicles to the world - among them, the most familiar to us is probably the ‘urban railway’, which is referred to as a subway. This is again divided into ‘heavy rail transit’ and ‘light rail vehicles’ according to the class. Heavy rail transit has more cars and can transport more passengers per car, so it is the main means of public transportation in the metropolitan area. As of 2016, the number of heavy subway stations in the Seoul metropolitan area is 584. An average of 7,999,000 passengers a day use the heavy subway.

Seoul Subway Line 2 uses heavy rail transits
Light rail vehicles connecting Busan-Gimhae, Korea

Light rail vehicles, as the name suggests, are rather compact urban railways that are halfway between subways and buses. These ride smoothly even on steep hills and tight curves. In Korea, it is used between Busan and Gimhae, and on Incheon Subway Line 2.

Such urban railways have short intervals between trains, and safety and durability are more important than anything else because they are used by a large number of passengers. Hyundai Rotem produces a solid body with various materials ranging from stainless steel, aluminum, and mild steel, and uses excellent fireproof materials used in aircraft for the interior. In addition, the company is making safer and more comfortable urban railways through body and bogie strength analysis technology and various design verification procedures.

Last March, Hyundai Rotem delivered 49 unmanned trains to MRTC (Mass Rapid Transit Corporation), a public corporation under the Ministry of Finance of Malaysia. The company also signed a turnkey contract with The Kaohsiung City Mass Rapid Transit Bureau for the Kaohsiung MRT Red Line Southern Extension E&M (Electronic & Mechanic: signaling, train control system, and passenger guidance system required for railways) project worth about KRW 259 billion. This achievement represents the excellent quality of urban rail vehicles that Hyundai Rotem produces.

Railroad vehicles supplied to MRTC, a public railway company in Malaysia

High-speed trains: long-distance transport that connects remote areas

In September 2022, Hyundai Rotem held an initial release ceremony for the EMU-320. EMU-320 is a type of power dispersive high-speed train developed by Hyundai Rotem, and is known as ‘KTX’. High-speed trains like this run at speeds of over 300 km/h on improved tracks, enabling them to quickly travel to remote areas, and are more accessible than airplanes, and the check-in process is easy, so they are perfect for handling wide-area demand.


Through the Korean high-speed vehicle development project that began in 1996, Hyundai Rotem has made steady efforts to commercialize Korean high-speed trains, such as developing the test vehicle HSR-350X. In 2008, KTX-Sancheon was completed with pure Korean technology, and in 2012, the 430km/h power dispersive high-speed train HEMU-430X was unveiled. After that, the company produced the 260 km/h electric multiple unit high-speed train KTX-Eum and the 320 km/h EMU-320 respectively; They have built a full lineup of high-speed trains.


In particular, as its name suggests, the power-dispersion high-speed train, which started with HEMU and was completed with EMU-320, distributes power sources to all vehicles, boasting superior acceleration and deceleration performance compared to the power-concentrated high-speed trains that houses power units only at the front and the rear. It does not require a separate power vehicle, so it has excellent passenger transport capacity. In addition, trains can be flexibly organized according to demand, which is even more efficient. Hyundai Rotem predicts that power-dispersion high-speed trains with high operational efficiency are trending worldwide, so power-dispersion high-speed trains such as the EMU-320 will gradually dominate in Korea as well.

HEMU-430X, which made Korea the fourth country in the world to possess power-dispersed high-speed train technology

Trams: An eco-friendly public transportation system for the future mobility ecosystem

As hydrogen mobility emerges as a future eco-friendly means of transportation that does not emit carbon, interest in hydrogen-based railroad vehicles is also increasing. Hence, Hyundai Rotem is developing hydrogen electric trams. Tram refers to a streetcar that runs on rails laid on regular roads instead of underground tunnels or dedicated routes. In Korea, the tram service between Seodaemun and Cheongnyangni in Seoul was discontinued in 1968, so it may be unfamiliar to young people, but it is actively used as a major means of public transportation in major cities around the world, such as Paris, France and Hong Kong.

A tram in Warsaw, Poland

Trams are all-round public transport. Since they do not require large-scale civil engineering works or structures, it takes less time and money to build, compared to urban railways or high-speed trains. In addition, low-floor cars are easy to get on and off for strollers or wheelchair users.

Above all, it uses electric energy as the main power source, so it emits less fine dust and carbon dioxide. Since Hyundai Rotem provided the Izmir Tram in Türkiye in 2014, the company has been doing tram business in several countries, including Poland and Canada. And recently, they are developing hydrogen electric trams that will realize the ultimate eco-friendly society by adding hydrogen technology to the current trams.

The hydrogen electric tram being developed by Hyundai Rotem uses hydrogen supplied from a hydrogen tank as a main power source, and surplus power is stored in an ESS (Energy Storage System). Driving for one hour can produce about 107.6 kg of clean air instead of carbon dioxide.

As described above, the hydrogen electric tram built at a reasonable cost can improve the convenience of movement and does not emit pollutants. So, this may be the public transportation of the future that can solve the chronic problems that the big city is experiencing. Hyundai Rotem continues research and development with the goal of developing a hydrogen-powered tram by 2023 through a hydrogen-powered tram demonstration project.

In particular, the hydrogen electric tram being developed by Hyundai Rotem won the main prize in the product category at the ‘2023 iF Design Award’ in Germany this year, and won the global design award for the first time in the Korean railway industry, showing outstanding design competitiveness.

In addition, Hyundai Rotem produces and exports various types of railway vehicles such as light rail and locomotives, and core electronic products such as traction motors, propulsion control devices, auxiliary power devices, and comprehensive train control and management devices. They are further expanding the scope of their rail solutions to rail systems such as signaling, telecommunications, and power, as well as rail services such as vehicle maintenance.

hydrogen electric tram

Hyundai Rotem, which produced Korea’s first high-speed train KTX vehicle and succeeded in developing power-dispersion type high-speed train technology for the fourth time in the world, continues to be a pioneer by introducing high-quality railroad vehicle products and services that maximize convenience and safety to the global market. there is. They are also striving to develop eco-friendly railway vehicles for future cities, and Hyundai Rotem’s major R&D investments are being poured into hydrogen-powered trams. Hyundai Rotem’s rail solution, which makes everyday movement more convenient and safe, leads the global mobility trend and connects the world.

HMG Journal Operation Team


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