Our trip to Korea’s demilitarized zone took us to Imjingak Village and the Bridge of Freedom, the Third Tunnel and Dora Observatory, and finally, Dorasan Station. For me, Dorasan Station was the most poignant moment of the tour.
Should the two Korea’s ever reunite, Dorasan Station is the station that will connect them. As it is now, one train a day passes through the station—shuttling materials and products back and forth between the two Korea’s as part of a new economic experiment where products are made using South Korean materials and North Korean labor.
Because the train runs so infrequently, visitors are actually encouraged to “buy a ticket” (approximately 50 cents that gives you entry to the tracks), and play on the tracks. Signs at the station show “Pyongyang” (the capital of North Korea) as the destination for the train, but that too is simply symbolic—in reality, the current trains only barely enter North Korea, to the site of the economic experiment.
One of the most interesting and touching things about Dorasan Station is that once it is fully functional (and the trains can safely pass through North Korea), this line will connect with the Trans Eurasian Railway Network, meaning that someday, you could in theory take a train all the way from Busan (the southernmost city in South Korea), all the way to London (via North Korea, China, Russia and then through Europe). I found this fact extremely moving–once North Korea opens up to the world, the world will be more connected.
This was our final stop on our tour of the DMZ and is the final installment of our DMZ series. What are your thoughts on Dorasan Station? Do you think it’s a place to inspire hope, or a waste of money?