Friday, April 19, 2019

Street Rails in Pusan

Early 1950s, Pusan, Korea.  When PVT Philip Hughes arrived in Korea with a boatload of nearly 2,000 Amreican troops in July 1950, he disembarked at the port of Pusan.  From there, the first order of business for him and his colleagues was to march to a rail station where they would catch a series of trains that took them to the front lines of the Korean War. Pusan (or today, "Busan") was then a dirty, crowded  city that had yet to recover from a generation of Japanese occupation and exploitation. 

Prior to the outbreak of the Korean War, during the late 1940s, a few initial rounds of foreign aid had been injected into the Korean economy.  This included the reciept of second-hand streetcars, pulled from the fleet maintained by Georgia Power in Atlanta.  Among Philip's colleagues were certainly some boys from Atlanta, all of whom would have been surprised - if not nostalgic - to encounter the familiar vehicles as they marched through Pusan.  These cars served through the Korean War and later, until about 1968. A couple examples were preserved as museum pieces.

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