Some NOCs are not planning to get the high speed railway ©IOC

Several large National Olympic Committees (NOCs) are planning to turn down the prospect of travelling by high-speed railway from Incheon Airport to the Athletes’ Village here and instead use buses on their arrival in South Korea for Pyeongchang 2018. 

It is hoped that most other stakeholders, including media, spectators and some athletes will travel on the new line, however, which is not due to open until December.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission chair Gunilla Lindberg also claimed, "I will, for sure, travel on the train", when asked if IOC members will use the high-speed railway or be provided with individual limousines.

This was revealed on the final day of an inspection visit here at which the IOC also gave a positive update on progress regarding the completion of new hotels at mountain clusters.

They also praised the quality of venues and two Athletes’ Villages but warned that outstanding legacy plans at two competition sites must be swiftly completed.

The high-speed railway was a key part of the successful bid in 2011 from Pyeongchang 2018 ut has been hit by repeated delays.

Testing is currently continuing but trains are not due to begin running on the line until December.

insidethegames understands that a journey from Incheon north-east to the terminal in Jinbu is now expected to take two hours 18 minutes.  

Journeys should still last less than three hours even once a further shuttle to the Athletes’ Village in either Alpensia or Gangneung is factored in.

Transportation remains a major issue for the IOC Coordination Commission ©IOC
Transportation remains a major issue for the IOC Coordination Commission ©IOC

This is round an hour faster than the average journey by road.

The problem, though, concerns the transportation of equipment required for many Winter Olympic sports.

There appears no way to transport some of this kit, such as a bobsleigh, by train and organisers have proposed transporting them separately via truck.

NOCs, especially the largest ones, are concerned about athletes being separated from their kit.

"In principal, we are going to provide all of our clients with high speed trains," Pyeongchang 2018 President Lee Hee-beom said.

"Some NOCs have raised a request for buses due to their heavy equipment.

"We are allowing them a possibility."

A potential third option involved in internal flight from Incheon to Yangyang airport 25 miles to the north of the icesport venue hub of Gangneung.

This would probably require a chartered flight but could also be an option for teams from nearby countries, such as Japan and China.

IOC Executive Director for the Olympic Games Christophe Dubi gave a more positive update on hotels than when he last spoke on the issue following an IOC Executive Board meeting last month.

He warned then that it was a "very tight" situation as 11 hotels were not yet completed.

Venue and construction progress has been praised by the IOC ©IOC
Venue and construction progress has been praised by the IOC ©IOC

Dubi claimed today there had been "steady progress" and pointed out South Korea’s "spectacular record" in construction before predicting it would not be a problem.

"At this point in time, if I am comparing the situation with a few months ago, it is much more comfortable," he said.

Concerns now relate largely to organisational and logistical matters rather than the "hardware" of construction work.

Outstanding legacy plans at two venues, though, are an issue which has enjoyed markedly less improvement since being raised as a problem at the last IOC Coordination Commission inspection in March.

The problems is thought to concern a dispute between the Gangwon Province authorities and the National Government in Seoul as to who is responsible.

"Definitive legacy use for several venues is still outstanding," said Lindberg.

"The IOC once again suggests that final plans be presented as a priority."