Kim family Kangdong compound updated

I am going through some new satellite imagery of the Pyongyang area and wanted to point out a new highlight:

Among the many things that Kim Jong-un inherited from his father is a new, exclusive train station built just across the river from the family’s Kangdong estate (39.198864°, 126.016210°).

 

Google Earth images. (L) 2006-12-17 (R) 2011-11-13.

Pictured above are two Google Earth screen shots of the Kangdong complex (highlighted in red). The new train station can be seen to the north west of the compound on the opposite side of the river.

 

The station compound is 780 meters in length, and there is no train visible.  Although the satellite image is dated 2011-11-13, it is unclear if this facility has ever been used–this is the only commerically available photo of the station. It is also worth noting that a village just north of the station has been removed.

This new train station is connected to the national railway system at the Phyongsong Station via a dedicated line that is approximately 11.5km long.

Google Earth offers an interesting perspective of the railway line construction:

 

In the images above (TOP: 2009-4-16, BOTTOM-L: 2010-3-28, BOTTOM-R: 2011-11-13) We can see the construction of the railway line. A nearby factory was torn down to make room for the tracks.

This dedicated line has one branch that is under construction and extends south towards the Taedong Fruit Farm before abruptly ending.

The Kangdong facility itself has also received a few new additions:

 

Pictured above are two different Google Earth images of part of the Kangdong Leadership Compound.  (L) 2006 (R) 2011.

Judging from these satellite images, the Kandgong leadership compound has received a new residency (for Kim Jong-un?) in the upper-right side of the 2011 photo, a new support facility (bottom-center), and new sports facilities (top-center). On the left side of the photo is a peculiar area that appears to be a tree farm, but in all honesty, I can’t say with any confidence what it is.  Ideas welcome.

Additional information:

1. This compound has been drastically overhauled since Kenji Fujimoto visited.  See his pictures here, here, here, and here.

2. Kim Jong-il lived here while recovering from a stroke in 2008.

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  • Matt

    I really enjoy your posts about the NK leadership facilities, they are very interesting and informative. I wonder if Kim Jong Un will use his father’s train or will he prefer other modes of transport now that Kim jong il is gone.

  • Julian

    I’m going to suggest a wild guess to what the the “tree farm” might be. It might be a small Photovoltaic solar cell farm. If you look at the shadows from the trees on the compound they are thin and wispy at the tops. Because the picture was taken in November, there shouldn’t be any leafs
    on the trees. You see the thin branches in the shadows of taller trees near the
    sports center. The shadows in the “tree farm” however, seem to be shorten (lower to the ground more on this later) and have a boxy shadow on top of them. All the shadows seem to not overlap, and more importantly they don’t go over any of the white spots.

    There are evergreens in the photo as well, and they look much more bushy and lack white spots, and they seem to cast much more triangular shadows. So if it is a tree farm, they must be growing evergreens.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=42.269444,-1.693333&spn=0.01,0.01&t=h&q=42.269444,-1.693333 that is a PV farm in Spain, I guess it’s still not the best fit.

    Then I thought, that the shadows are long enough that I should be able to use Google map’s scale and measure them, find the angle of the sun on that day, do some trig, and tata get a height. So I did just that, zooming as much as I could into the little farm.

    The shadows are about 5m long give or take a meter. Using noaa’s solar calculator ( http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/ ) the best I can make the time out to be is 11:40:30 +9 UTC on the 13th of November. So the sun’s elevation at that time is 32.24 degrees from the horizon. Assuming whatever is casting the shadows are normal to the ground, the tangent of 32.24 degrees times 5m long gives us something with a height of 3.15m, give or take 0.6m. I’ve seen 100watt pannels that have a side that is about a meter, so I guess it wouldn’t be that far feched to think that they put a bunch small cells on 2m poles. Or trees. I dunno.