Riding The Train In The Secret State

Recently a bunch of videos of riding the trains in North Korea showed up in my Facebook feed. It started with this video of a narrow gauge steam locomotive burning tires.

I went looking for more, and found it.

First some videos of the trip into North Korea to Pyongyang.


Look at the backgrounds and the people in the videos.  Nobody seems to be doing anything very much or very hard except for some people fishing on the ice. There are guards and army people everywhere.  There also doesn’t seem to be any thing newly constructed and nothing under construction. The railroad equipment seems to be old for the most part and not maintained.

Now for some steam videos, speaking about old.

This locomotive needs to have it’s air compressor rebuilt. that’s the squeaking you hear.

That squeaking locomotive was apparently one puled from the deadline for a rail fan trip in 2003, so it’s not typical. That’s a good thing for the passengers and crews that might have been stuck with it.

Another video.


When you look at videos or pictures of North Korea the place seems surreal.  Compared to even China, the people don’t seem to be doing the things we expect.  All too frequently they don’t seem to be doing very much of anything.  The country seems to be totally lacking initiative, or drive.  This is what happens when you think that create a culture where everything can be managed.  If you look closely you can see “managers” and guards everywhere.  I mean seriously, guards  on covered hopper cars?  Yet there they are.  And at every grade crossing, and street corner.  One thing that always seems clear is that the total Socialism in the DPRK has not create the happy and prosperous utopia that “Dear Leader” promised.


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