|▲ After its construction in 1985, it was destroyed by Kim Jong Il’s order in five years. The former Hyesan No. 1 Station (captured on Google Earth)|
There were numerous cases of delays on railroads after the flood in Yangkang, North Korea. This is due to the high possibility that North Hamkyung or Pyongan is having difficulty with their train operation.
There have been several delays in Yangkang with their trains because of the visits paid by Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to their leisure vacation spots.
The two Kims have established exclusive locations in Samjiyeon, Yangkang and pay a visit to their holiday spots every July or August. The vacation spot located in Samjiyeon was bombed in 1999, 5 years after Kim Il Sung’s death. Kim Jong Il’s special place is still located in Samjiyeon but the specific place is not known.
Whenever there is a patrol by Kim Jong Il on the North Korean provinces, the North Korean government instills strict surveillance and control on the railroad a couple of days prior to it. The reason to this is because when Kim Jong Il is on the move, all of the trains are deactivated on the day before and on the day after, hence the trains that are on the move also have to wait for 20 or more hours.
The same thing is applied to the roads nearby. All of the roads are shut off 10 hours before. Movements of civilians in the applied regions are forbidden and the nearby markets are also partially banned.
Kim Jong Il felt dissatisfied with all of these restrictions so he established his own line of train and train station at Hyesan, Yangkang. No other trains are allowed to make a stop at this station. Kim Jong Il takes his personal train to arrive here, and he changes into his own car and leaves to his holiday spot in Samjiyeon.
Kim Jong Il Switches His Own station three times
Kim Jong Il’s personal train station is located in between Kumsang-dong in Hyesan and Uiwa-ri in Bocheon, Yangkang. This area is located in a very narrow gorge where planes cannot attack them even in time of emergencies. Although it is not located it in Wangdeok region, the Yangkang civilians still call this station “Wangdeok” Station.
Kim Jong Il’s personal train station was established in 1985, originally 2km away from Wangdeok. The facilities of this particular train station were much more glorious and sophisticated than the Hyesan Youth Station.
|▲ Kim Jong Il’s current personal train station (R), the former station on the on the two lanes It is currently being used as munitions factory (L) in Hyesan, Yangkang. (captured on Google Earth)|
However, many critical problems began to occur after its construction. Kim Jong Il began to complain that this station can be easily observed from China and it can easily be attacked by airplanes in times of emergencies. After Kim Jong Il’s order, north Korean government efficiently got rid of this station in 1989 and began to make a new one in 1989.
There was Kumsan Station near the destroyed No. 1 Station. This station’s facilities are quite poor which necessitated a change, but the government did not budge or consider this issue. The destroyed No. 1 Station only has smudge of remnants left.
North Korea began its second construction project of Hyesan No. 1 Station from 1989 to 1991.The location was 2 km north from the present (third) No. 1 Station. The second construction of the No. 1 Station was bigger and more splendid than the present (Third) station.
However, even this station did not win the approval of Kim Jong Il. It was because that from the completed station, you can see the ends of China’s mountains. This station was luckily not destroyed. The Samjiyeon Precision Machinery Factory (the No. 95 Munitions Factory) was moved to this area after its construction.
North Korean authorities began its third construction of Kim Jong Il’s station. They gathered all the possible personnel and finished an even bigger station by working from 1991 to 1992.
This construction required a filling of the gorge and constructing a bridge that was hundreds of meters long. All of the people from Hyesan, Bocheon, Woonheung were involved in the construction. The civilians from Hyesan were asked to carry out mud and pebbles in the weekend.
The civilians from Kumsan-ri in Hyesan and Uihwa-ri in Bocheon were asked even during their farming season to help out with the construction.
The Hyesan Kim Jong Il’s personal train station is only used once a year. He uses this to travel to his vacation spot from which he uses his car to travel his own personal road named Mt. Baekdu Tourism Road to go to his own vacation spot in Samjiyeon.
A total of 20 personnel are involved for maintenance. There are also 2 military squads to protect this area. They boast of their special statuses in which they were exempted from having difficulties in obtaining rationings in mid 1990s.
During Kim Jong Il’s visits, the entire civilian population is involved to clean up and clarify the transportation system and the environment. Kim Jong Il exploits the government resources to make his own personal station and thereby making the civilians suffer on his expense.
It would not be an exaggeration if we said that Kim Jong Il’s personal station was symbolic of the repercussions of dictatorial absolutism.