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North Korean leader Kim Jong-il likes to collect trains

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While some people enjoy collecting model trains and building tiny stations along scaled down tracks, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il appears to have taken this passion to a new level. According to a report in South Korea’s largest daily newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, Kim has six private trains and 20 stations around the country built just for him.

Kim’s train is armored and also contains conference rooms, an audience chamber and bedrooms. Satellite phone connections and flat screen TVs have been installed so that the North Korean leader can be briefed and issue orders, the paper said quoting intelligence sources.

Security obsessed Kim has 90 carriages in his collection and uses three trains when he travels, according to the paper. The advance train carries security personnel who check the tracks and look for bombs along the way. The train in the middle carries Kim and his entourage, while the trailing train is also for security.

Lee Yong-guk, who served in the closest circle of bodyguards for Kim in the 1980s before defecting to the South, told Reuters that North Korean security had mastered the art of camouflage to such a level that a train going north may in fact mean a ship carrying Kim is heading south.

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