Yeoju Line Set to Open in 2016

Gwangju-Gonjiam Bridge

Update: This line has officially been named the Gyeonggang Line (경강선) and will be opening for service on September 24, 2016. It will also operate temporarily over the Chuseok period free of charge. These free services will run every hour from 9am to 5pm on 13 – 18 September.

While some parts of Gyeonggi-do almost seem like a part of Seoul due to how well they’re connected to the metro system, there are still many areas of the province that seem distant due to the lack of any local rail public transport.

One of the upcoming lines being built by Korail will finally bring a rail link to some of these areas including the cities of Yeoju, Icheon and Gwangju (not to be confused with the large city of the same name in Jeolla-do).

 

Seongnam – Yeoju Line

The Yeoju Line is set to open in the first half of 2016 and begins underground in the well connected but more densely populated city of Seongnam at Pangyo Station (SinBundang Line). It then passes through Imae Station (Bundang Line) before continuing towards Yeoju.

The line will initially have 11 stations with one more — “Seongnam Station” to be added later to coincide with the opening to the GTX line from Samseong – Dongtan.

Below is the list of stations.

Yeoju Line Route

Image: KORAIL – Click to view larger image.

The line is a standard metro line similar to line one and is almost all above ground. The only underground sections are from Pangyo – Imae. The route will take approximately 90 minutes from one end to the other and it has been reported that services will operate 30 mins (every 15 mins during peak times) and every 60 mins from Bubal to Yeoju. Gyeonggi Province proposed last year that Korail should also add express services, claiming that the 90 minute travel time was too slow. This express service would only stop at major stations Pangyo, Imae, Gonjuam, Bubal and Yeoju.

Personally I don’t believe an express service would reduce times significantly considering there are only 11 stations and most of these are relatively spaced out but of course just having an “express” can make commuters feel like they are travelling a lot faster by not having to stop as often.

Another interesting point is that it looks as though the line will not actually be operated by Korail itself as can be assumed from this official tender put out for Yeoju Line operation by the Ministry or Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

 

Yeoju Line Construction

An embankment for the new Yeoju Line. Taken between Bubal and Icheon stations.

 

Connecting More of Gyeonggi

One of the main purposes of the Yeoju Line is to free up pressure on the No. 3 National Highway which I’ll talk about more below. Of course the other is to give better connectivity to those living in Gwangju, Icheon and Yeoju areas. Residents will now be able to enjoy sitting back and riding into the Bundang area, where no doubt many will work.

A larger number of residents most likely work in Seoul and although these cities have efficient and well established red bus services to the capital, those living not too far from the Pangyo end of the line will be able to easily transfer there and take the SinBundang line to Gangnam in just 16 minutes.

One interesting thing that won’t exactly excite many residents, is the distance from many of the stations to main centres. This includes many of the main stations which are built far enough away from residential and business areas that you would need to catch a bus or taxi to get there. See the map of where Yeoju Station is located for an idea (also maps from Gwangju, Icheon and Neungseo). It will be interesting to see if this stimulates development in the areas directly surrounding the station.

 

Good luck getting to Yeoju Station in a hurry.

Good luck getting to Yeoju Station in a hurry.

Yeoju-Line-Gwangju-Gonjiam-Bridge

Gwangju-Gonjiam rail bridge spanning over the Jungbu Expressway (37).

 

Future Plans: New Central Rail Line to Reach Jinju

While at first glance this may just look like a short new line to give metro access a few nearby cities, it is actually part of a whole new “heavy rail” line which is planned to reach all the way down to Jinju in Jeolla Province. The line called the 중부내륙선 or the Jungbu Naeryuk Line (Central Inland Line) follows a similar route to national highway (국도) no. 3. The first section will start from Pangyo and travel across the Yeoju Line until it branches off at Bubal station where it makes its way down to Chungju and then to the terminus of the existing Mungyeong Line (closed in 2000 and used for railbikes).

Construction between Bubal to Chungju began in August 2014 an is expected to be completed in 2018, and Chunju to Mungeyong is expected to open in 2021. The remainder of the line from Mungyeong – Jeomchon – Kimcheon – Jinju is still in the planning stages.

There are even further plans for Pangyo to link with KTX station Gwangmyeong Station via the planned Wolgot – Pangyo Line, and supposedly)link to the also planned second airport railroad.

Jungbu Naeryuk Line

Image: Namu Wiki

 

20150612_082056

Construction is already underway between Bubal and Chungju.

 

A big thank you to Rodd for kindly providing us with photos of construction on the line.

Sources and Related Links: Namu Wiki | CBfez | FRDB | MoneyToday News | Green Post Korea

 

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.

11 Comments

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  • Always good to see progress! But what about this second airport line? Do you have any more information on that? This is the first I’ve heard of it. Thanks.

    Philip Partington 2 years ago Reply


    • It’s still very much in the planning stages and I won’t be doing a separate post on it until more is confirmed and construction starts. The basic plan is to build a second airport railroad line which travels south and meets up with Incheon Station, thus connecting with the Gyeongin Line and more importantly, the Suin Line and other lines which branch off this.

      Andy Tebay 2 years ago Reply


      • Fascinating! I was also interested to learn more about a Second airport rail-line. You mentioned it connecting to Incheon Station… I wonder if there is any plan to have it first extend down into Songdo? I’ve always thought it’s a bit strange that Songdo, the jewel of Korea’s international city projects, is so far disconnected from Incheon Airport via rail. Songdo is so physically close to the airport, yet for rail travel, residents have to travel all the way up to Gyeyang first. It seems the Songdo area could benefit from a rail-line following the Incheon Grand Bridge.

        Sam 2 years ago Reply


        • Hey Sam, thanks for your comment. You’ll be please to know that the extension from Songdo to Incheon Station is expected to open at the end of this year! Post about this one coming very soon. There is certainly a lot going on in the area.

          Andy Tebay 2 years ago Reply


  • Hi Andy,

    Do you know if they still intend to open the Yeoju line this year? I moved to Gwangju this year and was really excited to learn that they were opening a subway line here, but I haven’t heard anything. If you have any info at all that would be great!

    P.S. I’m from NZ too :)

    Jenni 9 months ago Reply


    • Kia ora Jenni! Always great to see another Kiwi. Yes, if all goes according to plan this should hopefully be opening in the next couple of months. Rumour has it that it could be August but there is no official date. It’s definitely not far away though!

      Andy Tebay 9 months ago Reply


    • Hi Jenni – just to let you know this line is opening soon.

      Andy Tebay 7 months ago Reply


      • Hi Andy, thanks for letting me know! I think they’re doing some trial runs at the moment so I might go and have a nosy this weekend :).

        Jenni 7 months ago Reply


  • Thanks for the detailed posting, Andy! Your info inspired me to ride beyond my comfort zone and explore further upriver, i.e. beyond Yangpyeong and onward to Yeoju.
    The new line seems very well used already. I took it from Yeoju back towards the city (Seoul) today, Oct.17, a Saturday afternoon.
    All seats were occupied from its starting point, Yeoju, and the train got crowded rather quickly over the next couple of stops. However, I do think this line is using a shorter train than the usual length for metro trains.
    The trip from Yeoju to Pangyo took just under an hour. The transfer in Pangyo to the Sinbundang Line (Gangnam) was quick and easy. A busy transfer spot and then a very fast ride into Gangnam.
    Main impressions of the trip from Yeoju to Pangyo> Lots of older folks and more children than I have seen on other rides. Some of the folks appeared to still be a bit new to the whole metro ride experience. Hardly any bicycles on this train (or on the subsequent one into Gangnam) ! It seems that the bicycle enthusiasts have not yet discovered this line as a “return to Seoul” option. Quite a contrast to the metro trains (or ITX) running towards Yongmun or Chuncheon!

    dagmar 6 months ago Reply


  • Hi Andy, I have found your information really interesting and also quite useful. I have been taking a close watch at the market as well, it would be nice to share some ideas about the market and also about how it can go further. Please let me know if I can contact you via email, if so, could you provide me with your email.

    Thanks a lot!

    Continue the great work!

    Ratul

    Ratul Arora 4 months ago Reply


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