North Korean capital, Pyongyang, is home to the deepest subway system in the world. Its lowest point is said to reach 150m underground. A Japanese traveler to North Korea who was the source for our previous article Investigation of North Korea Reveals Their Fried Chicken Is Pretty Good has given RocketNews24 a glimpse into what it’s like to ride this subterranean wonder.
“A local guide brought me to the entrance of Puhŭng Station. To get to the train you have to take an escalator ride over 100m down” he said. While taking pictures of the station his guide warned that “taking too many pictures is very suspicious around here.”
He went on to explain it was morning rush hour when they arrived and there were many people passing through. In the station there were some automatic gates operating but most people opted for the old-fashioned gate, showing their tickets to a station employee.
After taking the long, long escalator deep down to the platform it’s a little surprising to find a cavernous yet elegant space lit by beautiful chandeliers. They even have an automatic information system. This is basically a map of the subway system with bulbs attached that light up the way to a station depending on what button you push. It looks like technology out of a 1950’s sci-fi movie but it’s easy to use and effective if you want to know how to get to a station quickly.
When RocketNews24 asked him about his impression of riding North Korea’s subway he replied, “Forgetting everything we may think about North Korea and talking only about the subway, it’s really deep. That part’s okay but I found myself getting creeped out by the darkness at times. I can understand why they put the trains all the way down there though. It’s a country at war and putting your transportation system down there keeps it safe.”
He was surprised by the appearance of two adorable little girls with backpacks who were taking the same train by themselves, possibly going to school. According to most photographs of North Korea these girls seem to be the only citizens not wearing grey, brown, or black clothing.
“I had a kind of grim image of North Korea in my mind. I even suspected the government of planting these girls here. It’s hard to tell how much of the real North Korea I’m seeing at times. I don’t think my guide would appreciate me saying that, but it’s how a lot of Japanese people feel about a country we know very little about.” he told us.
[ Read in Japanese ]