Update: The YongIn Everline will finally be opened on April 17 26, 2013 after nearly three years of laying dormant above the city. More info to come in a separate post closer to the time of opening.
Update: There have been some developments and the line is set to open later in 2012. For more details click here.
Despite the Yongin Everline having been completed well over one year ago, it is still yet to be officially opened for service.
The line which stretches across Yongin City in the Gyeonggi Province is an automated rapid transit system which runs over raised rails and platforms similar to a monorail.
Granted that the service has been designed with the goal of making travel within the city easier and more direct, another major pull factor for the line is the location of the last station at Jeondae, which is next to the popular Everland theme park. Until now, Everland has only been accessible by car or bus. Giheung(기흥), the first station on the Everline, is also the terminus of the upcoming Bundang line extension and passengers will be able to transfer using their transport cards at this point. It is hoped that Giheung Station will become a transport hub where passengers can easily transfer to city and express buses.
The carriages travel in single form and are controlled by an automated system. While this may seem somewhat restricted, when put into perspective it is not so different to the capicty of a Seoul subway line. Approximately 226 people can fit in one car and once the line is operating will depart from stations every 2-8 minutes. In total, the system will be capable of transporting approximately 25,000 – 30,000 people per hour. The Everline’s average speed of 39.2km/h is also faster than the average speed of Seoul subway lines.
More problems for light rail
Construction on the line began in December 2005 and was completed in June 2010. Some had the oppurtunity to ride the line last August when open days were held for the public during the trial-run period. Plenty of photos and a video of the line can be viewed here and here. Though the line was ready to begin operating, opening dates were repeatedly postponed. There has been much speculation over reasons why the line has lay dormant and several articles have mentioned different factors including risk of revenue loss without the Bundang Line extension. What can be said for sure is that Yongin residents must be extremely frustrated watching their brand new mode of transport towering over their city simply collecting dust. Officials have been calling for the line to be put in service but as of yet no date has been announced.
Unfortunately, light rails systems in the form of public transport have had a dismal start in South Korea. The “Wolmido Galaxy Rail” monorail (pictured above) built in Incheon was removed before it could even officially start operating, after a member of the public was injured from falling material during a trial run. Investigations proved that the line was unsafe and consequently, the entire line is to be scrapped.
With plenty of other light rail projects coming up, it is hoped that future projects will go a lot smoother.