Trolleybuses in Pyongyang

Last updated
Pyongyang trolleybus system
Pyongyang bus.jpg
Pyongyang Trolleybus Factory Chollima 90 trolleybus.
Locale Pyongyang, North Korea
Open1962 (1962)
Lines 10
Operator(s)Capital City Passenger Transport Company
Electrification 600V DC
  • Railway Station
  • Ryonmot Trolley Bus Office
  • Phyongchon Trolley Bus Office
  • Munsu Trolley Bus Office
  • Sadong
  • Sopo
  • Songsin
  • Ryongsong
  • Kwangmyong-dong
StockAt least 370 trolleybuses [1]
Track length (total) 56.6 km (35.2 mi)

The Pyongyang trolleybus system forms part of the public transport network of Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea, and extends to some of its suburbs.



The first plans for a trolleybus network were proposed in 1957, though construction only began in 1960, after Kim Il-sung ordered it. The network begun operation on 30 April 1962, with an opening ceremony at Pyongyang Railway station to commemorate the opening of the line from the Three Revolutions Exhibition at Ryonmot-dong to the railway station. The network began without a depot; trolleybuses were parked in the open. In September 1963, the Pyongyang station to Arch of Triumph. In the second half of 1964, a line from Moranbong to Palgol opened. By the end of 1964, the fleet consisted 130 Chollima-9.11 and 24 Chollima 9.25 articulated trolleybuses. Two lines opened in 1965: from Pyongyang station to West Pyongyang on 6 April and from Department Store No. 1 to Taedonggang station on 25 August. [2] During that time, there were also alleged plans for the construction of an intercity line to Pyongsong. [3] Since then, a number of routes have been abolished, replaced by the tram system, though with the closure of tram line 1 from Songsin to Songyo, this section was rebuilt as a trolleybus line. [4] The system is continuously developed, with a new depot serving line 1 and 10 vehicles built in 2016. [5]

The first closures occurred in the 1970s, due to the opening of the Pyongyang Metro. This was followed by a resurgence in the 1980s, where four new routes opened. Closures occurred again in the 1990s due to the opening of the tram network in Pyongyang. [6] page:77

Between 1996 and 2005, part of the trolleybus line in Pyongsong was cut off from the rest of the line, with the area where the line belonged to being transferred to Unjong-guyok of Pyongyang. [7]

In 2020, the total route length was about 62.6 km (38.9 mi) and comprised 10 routes. [4]


There are a total of 10 lines in operation. Some former lines were replaced by the tram system that opened in 1989. The numbers indicated on the dashboard are not route numbers – they are the stopping pattern of that service. [8] This was implemented in July 1972, when Kim Il-sung sought to reduce traffic jams of trolleybuses, after trolleybus headways were decreased in 1 minute in April 1972. [6] page:75

[9] [4]

Route NumberOriginDestinationNotes


Pyongyang Railway station


2 West Pyongyang


Pyongyang Railway station


Trolleybuses do not actually reach the railway station; instead it turns around at West Pyongyang depot.
3Pyongyang thermal power plant


West Pyongyang


Trolleybuses do not actually reach the railway station; instead it turns around at West Pyongyang depot.
4 Songsin




Replaced tram line 1 in its route on the right bank when its section from Songsin to Pyongyang railway station closed.
4 (old) Hwanggumbol station (황금벌)Songsin station


Former line 4 ran from Songsin railway station to Hwanggumbol metro station, replaced by tram line 1 until section over Taedong River closed.
5Munsu (문수)Department Store No.2


Currently runs on Sangwon street
5 (old) East Pyongyang Grand Theatre (동평양 대극장) Department Store No. 1


Formerly ran from Department Store No.1 to East Pyongyang Theatre


Department Store No.1


7 Rakrang (락랑)Munsu (문수)Closed, replaced by tram line 2
8 Hwanggumbol metro station


Arch of Triumph


Connects Hwanggumbol metro station to Kaesong station.
8 (old) Kwangbok station




Closed section replaced by tram line 1




Line to outskirts of Pyongyang
10 Pyongyang Railway station


Sci-Tech Complex


Newest route.
10 (old)Palgol (팔골) Rangrang (락랑)Closed, replaced by tram line 1 and 3
11West Pyongyang




Kwangmyong-dong (광명동)Paesan-dong


Completely separate line, formerly part of Pyongsong. [7]


Most of the vehicles used on the system are North Korean made; some of them based on the Czech Karosa buses. The fleet also includes Hungarian Ikarus trolleybuses, imported as diesel buses and later reconstructed into trolleybuses.

For the full list including vehicles in use in other cities, see Trolleybuses in North Korea. Except for a Jipsan-85 articulated trolleybus, all trolleybuses in Pyongyang are Chollima branded trolleybuses manufactured by the Pyongyang Trolleybus Factory. [10]

New rolling stock

A veteran Chollima 72 trolleybus in Pyongyang. Each red distance star painted on the side represents 50,000 kilometres travelled without incident, so this trolleybus has travelled about 3 million kilometres (1.9 million miles). Veteran trolleybus in Pyongyang.jpg
A veteran Chollima 72 trolleybus in Pyongyang. Each red distance star painted on the side represents 50,000 kilometres travelled without incident, so this trolleybus has travelled about 3 million kilometres (1.9 million miles).

New trolleybuses are also produced in other provinces and cities, such as in Chongjin. [11] [12]

Despite the new technology incorporated with the new trolleybuses such as a dual power supply using a battery as a backup and LED displays, [13] they do not have air conditioning.

The new trolleybuses were subject to news coverage in the Rodong Sinmun, receiving multiple front page headlines subjecting the tests. [14] Kim Jong-un also made visits to the Pyongyang Trolley Bus Factory, with the intention to turn the factory 'into a world-class trolley bus producer'. [15] The first visit in February featured the Chollima-316 trolleybus, while the August visit featured the Chollima-321 trolleybus. [16]

In total, about 200 Chollima-091 were manufactured, about twenty Chollima-316 and at least 40 Chollima-321 were produced. [17] [18]

See also

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  2. Association., National Trolleybus. Trolleybus magazine. Vol. 245. Trolleybus Museum Company. pp. 98–108. OCLC   1063569172.
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  7. 1 2 "Beitrag – trolley:motion" (in German). Retrieved 2021-07-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  10. "Pyongyang, Trolleybus — Vehicle Statistics". Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  11. "New Model of Trolley Buses Manufactured". 4 February 2018.
  12. "Rodong Sinmun". Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  13. "平壌市無軌道電車(トロリーバス)車両紹介-万里馬-312型". Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  14. "平壌市無軌道電車(トロリーバス)車両紹介-千里馬-316型". Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  15. Political News Team. "Kim Jong Un Inspects Pyongyang Trolley Bus Factory". Retrieved 2020-10-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. Political News Team. "Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un Watches New-type Trolley Bus and Tram". Retrieved 2020-10-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. "Beitrag – trolley:motion" (in German). Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  18. "Chollima 321". Retrieved 2021-03-17.

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