North Korea is manufacturing new trolleybuses domestically, according to footage from the state run Korean Central Television (KCTV).
The video shows several stages of the production and assembly at the Pyongyang Trolleybus Plant, ending with one of the new buses moving through the streets of Pyongyang.
The announcer says that increasing production at the plant is a consequence of the DPRK’s current economic models.
“With this financial plan that we are taking, we can achieve realistic economic outputs by introducing our state-of-the-art equipment improving the performance of Pyongyang’s trolleybuses,” the KCTV article says.
New model buses appear to be slowly working their way into circulation, with North Korean media reporting on the development of other buses types in Chonjin as part of the recently concluded 70 day labor campaign.
But while the trolleybuses are replacing their older counterparts, it’s unclear if they are as state of the art as the KCTV footage claims.
“I mean for example the tailgate lights they aren’t electronic, they are just reflectors, like the sort of reflectors they have on bicycle wheels, so that’s on the back on the bus. Very simple lighting. They are not air-conditioned, you always see them driving around with the windows open,” Rowan Beard from Young Pioneer Tours told NK News.
The lower tech trolley buses contrast with Pyongyang’s newly implemented subway trains which come with LCD monitors and bright lighting.
Flickr user Moravious first snapped one of the newer model trolleybuses back in 2010, calling the vehicle a “prototype.” The pictured bus looks similar to the newer ones currently around Pyongyang, but has a blank license plate.
The lack of fanfare around the trams and trolley buses contrasts with the coverage the recently added subway cars received. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally tested the modernized subway trains, and they were even the focus of subway stamps and propaganda posters.
The emphasis on domestic production is currently an increasing trend in North Korea media, which has recently highlighted locally made North Korean computers, solar panels, ships and more general sectors like metallurgy.
Additional reporting by Kyung Lee
Featured image: KCTV
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