SEOUL (AFP) –The North Korean train that arrived in Beijing this week looked remarkably similar to one used by the North’s late leader Kim Jong Il, its olive-green exterior and yellow stripe, prompting intense speculation his son and successor Kim Jong Un was on board.
Due to a fear of flying, Kim Jong Il used high-security trains during his seven visits to China and three to Russia over his 1994-2011 term.
He died of heart attack while travelling on a train in 2011, according to the North’s official account.
The Kims reportedly have several almost identical special trains, made by a factory in Pyongyang.
The trains are typically composed of two engines and 17 to 21 cars, and travel at no more than 60 kilometers per hour.
Protected by armour plating, they are equipped with satellite phones and television screens, and include conference rooms, bedrooms and reception facilities. They reportedly carry armoured vehicles and small helicopters for emergencies.
For security reasons, three identical trains were deployed for every overseas trip by Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, the current leader’s grandfather.
The carriages used by both late leaders are now on display at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang, where their bodies lie in state.