The project has been on the backburner for the past 30 years and this was the fourth time the business case had been evaluated.
The 93.9km single-track line will run through the northern Gangwon region and provide Sokcho with a rail connection for the first time since the Korean War. The new line will begin at Chuncheon, the current terminus for Gyeongchun Line commuter rail services from Seoul. Services on the new route will also call at Hwacheon, Yanggu and Inje stations before reaching Sokcho.
According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, express services will operate at up to 250km/h, with a Seoul - Sokcho journey time of 1h 15min, half the time it currently takes to travel between the two cities by bus.
Although there has been no official announcement on rolling stock, services are likely to be formed of new Hyundai Rotem EMU-250s ordered recently for the Gyeongjeon Line.
The Ministry estimates that the Chuncheon – Sokcho line will cost Won 2.06 trillion ($US 2.3bn) and once opened, is expected to boost the economy in the Gangwon region through tourism and other industries. The project will enter the design phase in the second half of 2017 and construction will take eight years, although there has been no confirmation so far on when work will begin.