Alternatives Being Investigated for Wolmido’s Monorail

The fate of Incheon’s monorail, Wolmi Eunha Rail, lies in the hands of the Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) after a disastrous history since the line’s initial “completion” in 2009. According to this article from DongA News and several others, the KRRI will be investigating the safety of the line to decide whether it can be fixed and used, or whether the line will be altered and used a different way.

The article goes on to say that whatever the final result, the possibility of removing the entire project all together is not being looked at. All up, the project has cost 85.3 billion won and removing all structures would require another 30 billion won. This is a different tone from previous years, when some were calling for the entire line to be scrapped.

Apparently other alternatives are being investigated in case operating the monorail is no longer an option. Two of these are the possibility of rail bikes or a skyline walking track. One overseas project that springs to mind is the New York High Line, which has made use of abandoned tracks to create green areas in the city. However, since Wolmido offers nice views of the sea, rail biking could also prove a great alternative if the monorail doesn’t get the green light.

Wolmi Eunha Rail

New York’s High Line Today – Image: Beyond My Ken – WikiCommons

Wolmi Eunha Rail, which didn’t even have the chance to begin commercial operations, has been plagued with several accidents that led to delays and doubts about the safety of the line. The latest result of an investigation in January 2013 was that the line was unsafe for a monorail, with durability tests showing cracks in 3 out of 5 wheels. Other dangers included risk of electric shock due to bad connections between the vehicle and rails, and that it would fail financially.

Read 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 again!

About This Author

<p>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.</p>

6 Comments

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  • Thanks for the update, Andy. I’d been curious about the state of Wolmido’s monorail since I went out there in March 2013 and left a comment on your original Wolmido monorail post (to which you promptly and informatively replied–thanks!). It’s too bad to hear that it’s not progressing well. I’d really like to see it open–as would the business owners there. I hope the safety issues can be resolved and we’ll someday be able to take an express train on line 1 from Yongsan to Dong Incheon, transfer to the Wolmido monorail and be on Wolmido in mere minutes never having had to leave the convenience of the rail system for the less user-friendly realm of the buses. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed. Meanwhile thanks for the updates about this and all other transportation-related things in Seoul. It’s really helpful.

    James 5 years ago Reply


    • Hi James! Thanks for your comment. :) I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on what happens to this project. At least the danger of the entire thing being ripped out is gone and if not a monorail, it will still be used for something else. Nevertheless, I would also like to see the project to be completed successfully in the end. Wolmido could be so much more and it has been unfortunate for sure.

      Andy Tebay 5 years ago Reply


  • 10 years ago, when I remember the subway car being near empty reaching the end of the line, and across the street was a shell of a China Town (now so shiny!), it would clearly have not been economically viable. But with China Town completely redone and the future reopening of the Suin Line, there would be a lot more people going to that area. I really do hope they are able to fix the line and open it up.

    rickinasia 5 years ago Reply


    • Incheon is definitely investing a lot in trying connect and promote the city. Will be interesting to see what the place looks like in 20 years!

      Andy Tebay 5 years ago Reply


  • I wonder if the guideway could be modified to handle Vectus PRT vehicles. Since the guideway is ofter the major cost component of an elevated system, why not try to repurpose it to serve as a PRT guideway. See http://www.vectusprt.com for details of that technology and its currently operating system at Sucheon Bay.

    jerry schneider 4 years ago Reply


    • That was my question directly to Urbanaut as well. Seems like a hybrid system would be ideal with the monorail kicking in for higher capacity demands. (Jerry is a true pioneer and visionary).

      Paul Lebow 4 years ago Reply


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