Ever wish that you could just grab a KTX from Gangnam?
The Suseo High Speed Railway seems to be on track to open next year which means that getting a high speed train from Gangnam-gu isn’t far away now.
If you’re not familiar with the project, the new 61.1km high speed rail line will connect south-west Seoul from Suseo Station in Gangnam-gu with the Gyeongbu HSR and the rest of Korail’s high-speed rail network. The project is very significant in that it is the first heavy rail in this area of Seoul and will make travelling around the country via train a more attractive option for those living in Gangnam-gu and the surrounding areas.
So where does it go?
The new line has 3 stations that the “KTX” trains will stop at – Suseo (수서), Dongtan (동탄) and Jije (지제). Trains connect to the main high-speed line near Pyeongtaek and services will travel through to both Busan and Mokpo — of course stopping at other stations on the way to these destinations. Without stopping, a train from Suseo to Busan would take 2 hours 10 minutes and 1 hour 50 minutes to Mokpo. Of course actual travel times will depend on how many stations a particular train is stopping at.
Another reason the opening of the line will be significant is that it will be the first high speed railway under the operation of one of its subsidiaries instead of directly by Korail itself. “SR” an abbreviation for Supreme Railways, was launched in 2014 and will operate the new services while all infrastructure is being built and maintained by Korail.
SR says that it plans to set its fares at 10% less than that of Korail’s KTX. Check the SR website (Korean only) for a full map of destinations and plans of the stations plus current construction photos.
10 high-speed trains are being built by Hyundai Rotem to operate on the line with the first train completed (pictured at top) in mid-October 2015. According to the company’s website each train will have eight cars with seven Economy Class and a single First Class carriage — this is excluding the locomotives at each end. All seats on the trains will have a power outlet and overhead LED lights for reading. Daily schedules and destinations are yet to be decided.
You may have noticed that I have been calling the trains “KTX”s in quotations. That’s because the SR trains will have their own brand. Recently SR held a poll to name the new train services, taking suggestions from the public. Another thing to note is that the color of the SR trains is the same as some of the new KTX Sancheon trains. While I haven’t found any official confirmation, apparently these purple colored trains will be taken over by SR once the line opens next year.
Opening Next Year
While throughout most of this year it was said that the line would open in the first half of 2016, latest news indicates that it will now open in the second half of the year. Trial operations and testing on the route are expected to begin early 2016. Construction on the railway has been ongoing since 2011 and the total cost of the project has been 3.6 trillion won.
Future GTX Services
The Sueseo – Pyeongtaek High-speed Railway will eventually be shared with new GTX (Great Train Express) trains. GTX services are designed get commuters across long distances within the Seoul Capital Area at speeds of up to 180km/h, a whole lot faster than standard metro services and even faster than the SinBundang Line which only travels at up to 90km/h.
GTX trains won’t be operating until at least 2021 but when they do begin they’ll be sharing the high-speed tracks from Suseo to Dongtan. Seongnam and Yongin are also GTX stations that will be opened on the line but high speed trains will not stop at these.
Both the GTX line and high-speed line are planned to reach Samseong Station by COEX in the heart of Gangnam’s business district. See our recent post for more information.
Yulhyeon Tunnel – 3rd Longest in the World
Most of the new railway is located underground in a tunnel that stretches 50.3 kilometers from Suseo to just before Jije. The tunnel is the longest in Korea and is said to be the the third longest in the world; it was completed in June and took 3 years and 5 months to build. Seongnam, Yongin and Dongtan Stations will all be located within the tunnel. Near the center of the tunnel is a vertical emergency staircase and elevator. Air intakes also pump air from outside into the refuge area for passengers in an evacuation.
Check out our previous post from back in 2011.