"We plan to check whether the train can reach its top speed of 430km/h in August," says MLTM director Mr Lee Kwang-hee. "The prototype HEMU-400X will go through sufficient test runs of more than 10,000km. Should the results be good, it will be able to commercially debut in 2014 or 2015 at the earliest." HEMU-400X is foreseen as an eight or 10-car train depending on the needs of the customer.

A lot is riding on this project, as Korea's previous domestically-designed high-speed train, KTX Sancheon, has suffered from poor reliability caused by equipment failures and malfunctions.