Final Chance for Wolmido Monorail

In a previous post about the unoperational Everline, I mentioned the Wolmi Eunha (Galaxy) Rail and its demise. Though it appeared early last year that the end was nigh for the Wolmido Monorail, it has been given a last chance to get up and running.

Wolmido Monorail

Photo captured by Naver’s Road-view during a trial run in June 2010.

 

Although the Wolmi Eunha Rail was completed in 2009 and scheduled to open later that year, the opening of the line was repeatedly postponed — a very familiar story. Operations came to a full-stop after a wheel came flying off during trial operations and injured a women who was passing below. The incident resulted in a full investigation and results of the first inspection by the “People’s Inspection Board” in late March revealed the following:

  • Original Y Shape guide rails must be replaced with aluminum rails
  • Protection for falling objects which is required by law was not installed on either side of the rails
  • Bolts connecting beams and top plates found to be unsafe
  • No drainage installed

The investigation also declared the line was unsafe to operate and there was much talk of removing the line completely. This news have been devastating for those who live and run businesses on Wolmido, as the Monorail was expected to revitalize the area which was once a popular spot for teenagers and university students. In recent years the area had become somewhat rundown and lost much foot traffic to shopping malls and theme parks closer to Seoul.

However, in October last year Incheon Transport and the Incheon Development and Tourism Corporation announced that the decision had been made to try and salvage the line which racked up costs of at least 85.3 trillion won by 2009. Though it is hoped that the line will start operating in May 2012, it won’t be an easy road ahead for those involved in the process. Every precaution will be taken to ensure there is no repeat of the previous accident and in the event of another incident the line will most likely be completely removed. Once every part of the line is confirmed as safe, the line will begin trial operations for a period of four months from Ferbruary 29 to May 29.

 

 

The Line

The 6.3km loop has four stations, starting at Incheon Eunha Station and stops at Wolmido Park, Wolmi Culture Street and Wolmi Museum before looping back to Incheon Eunha. Five sets of two connected carriages will run every 5-15 minutes and each of these can hold up to approximately 70 people. The system has a maximum speed of 50 km/h and if opened on the original date, would have been the first monorail in the world to use Urbanaut technology. Ironically, photos and information about the construction process can still be viewed in detail on the Urbanaut website. You can also view photos of the stations at the bottom of this post.

Though the service will be run by Korail Travel (코레일 관광개발) and technical aspects serviced by Incheon Metro, the line is still a tourist attraction and understandably, it appears the monorail will not be integrated into the public transport system. There has been no word on ticket prices, but with the fallout from the incident combined with the cost of ensuring the service is safe, I would not be surprised if they are a little pricey.

If the line eventually opens it will be interesting to see if the next two phases are even considered. Phase two would bring the line all the way up to Dongincheon Station (동인천) and phase three loops it from there past Freedom Park (자유공원) and back to Incheon Eunha.  Below is a picture of the planned extensions.

Wolmido Monorail Plan

I look forward to the line finally opening up for the sake of the local economy and morale of the area. It really makes one hope that lessons will have been learned from both Wolmido and Yongin’s suffering. Ultimately, whether construction, negotiations and operations are carried out better in the future, lies in the hands of those in charge and those who fail to carry out their responsibilities should be held accountable.


The following images can be found using the road-view function on 
Naver and Daum maps.

Wolmido Monorail

The line is double tracked from Incheon Eunha Station to Wolmi Park Station.

Wolmido Monorail

Wolmido Monorail

It seems that sometime from 2010 to 2011 the name of the museum was changed from “The Museum of Korea Emigration History” to Wolmi Museum. Good call.

Wolmido Monorail

 

 

Sources: FRDB | fn News | Naver Maps | Daum Maps

About This Author

Originally from New Zealand, Andy moved to Korea in 2007 and very quickly became interested in the many different public transport and urban development projects around Korea. He currently lives in Sejong city and is particularly interested in rail projects, transport hubs and technology.

14 Comments

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  • […] Eunha Galaxy Rail is and passes through both lines 1 and 2. Daegu’s third rail transport line will be a […]

    Daegu’s Third Line to be Monorail « Kojects 6 years ago Reply


  • […] my own blog called Kojects where I cover PT and other construction projects in Korea. The Eunha Galaxy Rail is not the only upcoming monorail in South Korea. Daegu’s third rail transport line will be a […]

    Daegu’s Third Line to be Monorail | Nanoomi.net 6 years ago Reply


  • I live in Jungangdong just down the road from Incheon station and the start of the Wolmido line. It’s quite depressing to see a project of such potential sit unused (and potentially unsafe). This area was once quite vibrant, and though it still has much life, it has been surpassed by other developments in Incheon. To see the Eunha rail operating and eventually extend to Dongincheon would be quite exciting.

    Edwin Horton 6 years ago Reply


    • Thanks for your comment Edwin. I also hope that Wolmido once again becomes a popular attraction that people flock too. I imagine that once the line opens it will bring in more people this coming summer.

      Andy Tebay 6 years ago Reply


  • It would be worth it to finish the line. So much is already completed and with China Town, the end of Line 1, and the start of the Suin Line all being at the same spot as the Wolmido it could be a great transfer. Not to mention that currently it best way to get to the island is a bus it would be easier and more scenic to be via elevated monorail.

    RamPowers 5 years ago Reply


    • I agree, it’s such a pity that things went sour right from the start ultimately hurting the future success of the line at the same time. I really hope we will see something happen soon. Thanks for reading!

      Andy Tebay 5 years ago Reply


  • Is there any further word on this, do you know?

    Either about whether it will be continued or about what specifically was deemed to be unsafe?

    Any information would be greatly appreciated!

    Many thanks,

    KR

    Kieran White 5 years ago Reply


    • Thanks a lot for your comment. I haven’t checked up on it for a long time and to my surprise, during the new trial operations in May there was another accident(Korean article). Police have just finished a six month investigation and plan to charge the chief manager of the construction site. Will definitely look into it and update the article. Thanks for bringing my attention to it!

      Andy Tebay 5 years ago Reply


  • I was just out at Wolmido on March 11, 2013. I was surprised to be walking by one of the stations on the monorail line and hear from inside the station the buzzer-like sound that a train is coming and a computerized voice saying that a train was approaching. And sure enough, along came a train! I was really psyched that the long-awaited Wolmido Eunha monorail was finally open. But alas, there were big signs in the windows saying in Korean 시험 “si heom” (test). Still, I hope it means it’s coming soon! I would love to be able to take a rapid train from Yongsan to Dong Incheon, hop on the moorail, and be at Wolmido in short order. Any news?

    James 5 years ago Reply


    • Test runs have been going for years in between investigations of accidents (another one last year) and arguments of whether to scrap the line altogether. It appears there is still no certain date for the opening of the line, though in February citizens took to the streets in protest, asking for the line to be opened as soon as possible.

      Andy Tebay 5 years ago Reply


  • Thanks for the info, Andy! I figured it was a little too optimistic to hope for the line to open anytime soon. But it never hurts to hope, especially for the sake of the restaurants there. Employees were really aggressive in touting the few passers by that were on the boardwalk when I was there. Just not much business for them. Well, I guess we’ll just keep on waiting…

    James 5 years ago Reply


  • […] more about the history of Wolmi Eunha Rail in our previous post and see the monorail in action in the video below, as you may not get to see it […]

    Alternatives Being Investigated for Wolmido’s Monorail | Kojects 4 years ago Reply


  • I wonder if the guideway could be modified to handle the Vectus PRT vehicles, like those currently in operation at Suncheon Bay. Since the guideway tends to be the largest cost item in a monorail project, it seems like that option should be investigated. See http://www.vectusprt.com for details.

    jerry schneider 4 years ago Reply


  • […] Eunha Galaxy Rail is not the only upcoming monorail in South Korea. Daegu’s third rail transport line will be a […]

    Daegu's Third Line to be Monorail – Kojects 2 years ago Reply


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