Nhac Nguyen/AFP/Getty Images
It was identified by its distinctive coloring as a one-of-a kind vehicle that runs with only one passenger in mind: the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. The distinctive color of the train made it easy to identify as a unique vehicle, which was designed for one passenger: Kim Jong Un, leader of North Korea. When he does leave North Korea, Kim rarely flies. He prefers to take an armored rail, like his father and grand-father did before him. Kim is believed on his way to Russia to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This will be his first trip outside of North Korea for more than four year.
A bulletproof fortress that moves slowly
So, what do we know of Kim’s locomotive? It’s huge. In 2009, Chosun, a South Korean media outlet, published information about the train that Kim Jong Il used. It estimated the engine to have pulled 90 cars. Recent estimates suggest that the number of cars behind Kim Jong Un’s train may have decreased to 21. Several reports suggest that Kim’s train is accompanied by two other trains: one for checking the tracks in front, and another for his security entourage.
A green train with yellow trim, similar to the one Kim Jong Un used on his previous trips, was seen on Monday steaming along with a slogan that read “towards new victory” at the North Korean border with Russia.
Ng Han Guan/AP
Ng Han Guan/AP
The train has bedrooms and conference areas for state business. There are few images of the interior, but a video from 2018 shows Kim with Chinese officials in an expansive train car with pink couches. The bulletproof siding slows the train down compared to modern trains. The train is estimated to move at only 28 miles per hours on North Korean tracks, but can reach higher speeds when operating on China’s railway network. Kim Jong Il was a famously fearful of flying and preferred to travel via train. His former bodyguard said to South Korean media in 2010 that Kim Jong Il was afraid of his enemies shooting him down if he flew. Kim died from heart failure in the following year. North Korean state media reported that he had been on a train at the time of his death.
This photo, released by the press office of the Administration of Primorsky Krei Region, shows North Korea’s Security Officers waiting for North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un as he departs Russia, at the main railway station in Vladivostok on April 26, 2019.
This 2019 photo shows a train with Kim Jong Un arriving in Vladivostok for a meeting planned with President Vladimir Putin.