Just after Korea’s liberation from the military rule of Japanese imperialists (August 15, 1945), the railway transport sector of the country was in poor condition like other sectors. The overall transport of those days had relied on old steam locomotives, and owing to the fuel shortage, locomotives could not move on some lines.
After the enforcement of democratic reforms, however, industrial and agricultural output and goods distribution grew so rapidly that the volume of railway freight haulage increased by 41.5% in 1948 over the previous year and expected a 1.4-fold increase the following year.
The development of the national economy posed it as an urgent task to electrify the railways.
With a keen insight into the situation, President Kim Il Sung called the senior officials of the Cabinet and the ministry to his office in mid-September Juche 37 (1948) to discuss about the issue.
Until then no one in the country even dreamt of the railway electrification as they had neither experience nor technology with the lack of materials, facilities and labour force.
Reading the minds of the officials, Kim Il Sung said that the railway would play an important role in building the country and developing the economy, and that the railway electrification was the first gigantic project planned after the DPRK was founded.
Saying that it was impossible to electrify all the main lines of the country’s railway at one time, he expressed his intention of concentrating the force on the electrification of the railway on the line with heavy traffic so as to ease the strain on transport and further accumulate experience and lay the material and technological foundations for overall railway electrification. Then he continued to say that he believed the working class in the railway sector would carry out this task with credit by turning out in the building of a democratic and independent state with the pride of being the master of the country and the railway.
Afterwards, he had the decision of the DPRK Cabinet “On the electrification of some railways of Pyongyang-Wonsan and Manpho lines” adopted and sent a huge amount of money for the projects.
The first railway electrification project started in October that year.
The news excited all the people across the country. In a few days, over 1 600 people came to the construction sites, and a growing number of people volunteered for the projects as the days passed, amounting to over 1 870 technicians and skilled workers and 83 050 blue- and white-collar workers.
Over 183 890 farmers from all parts of the country came to the construction site with many aid materials.
The working people in the railway sector repaired the severely damaged 15 electric cars and locomotives.
Thanks to the high enthusiasm of the working masses for the nation-building, the huge project finished in a little more than 70 days, and the first inaugural ceremony of the electric railway took place in January Juche 38 (1949).