This morning the Noryangjin Station transfer tunnel between Seoul’s Line 1 and 9 finally opened, more than six years after Line 9 first began operating.
If you’ve ever had to make a transfer at Noryangjin Station, you’ll know that up until now doing so was pretty annoying due to the lack of an internal transfer tunnel. This meant that you had to go outside the station and walk to the other station, as well as go through two sets of gates, of course scanning your transport card twice in the process.
Of course the gates were still set up so that it counted as a transfer despite leaving the station, but nevertheless it was a pain not being sheltered from the elements and also having to run up and down two sets of stairs at the Line 1 station for some platforms due to the station design. Commuters using a one-use ticket or commuter pass weren’t able to transfer at this station without paying again.
Seoul says that the new transfer tunnel cuts the distance between stations from 300 meters to 150 meters and reduces the transfer time by two minutes. While a couple of minutes may not seem like much, it can mean the difference between waiting quite a while if you miss some trains, particularly some of the more infrequent services on Line 1 or the popular express trains on Line 9.
Like at all Metro 9 stations, passengers will still need to pass through a transfer gate. There are also four elevators and two escalators connecting the stations.
According to Yonhap news, Seoul Metropolitan City says that the new connection cost 19.5 billion won and will benefit the 27000 commuters that transfer between the stations everyday. One-use ticket and commuter pass card holders can now transfer normally like at any other station.
The opening of the tunnel leaves Seoul Station as the only station in the city where you still need to leave the station to transfer to one of the other metro lines (Gyeongui Line) at the same station.
Goodbye to Noryangjin’s Pedestrian Overpass
Alongside the lead up to the opening of the new transfer connection, Seoul has also been saying goodbye to Noryangjin’s famous pedestrian overbridge after it was decided earlier this year to remove it. The bridge which was built 35 years ago, stretched over the busy Noryangjin-ro and had become a defining character of the area in itself. Connecting the main station area with numerous academies, many people will have fond (or not so fond) memories of using the bridge when going to study or sit civil service exams here. A huge message board was even set up for residents to say their goodbyes.
Despite this, the overpass was not very accessible for the elderly or disabled. It was also in poor condition and in 2013 was given a “C” grade following an inspection. Many complaints were received about how the bridge shook from the constant traffic flowing under it and keeping it maintained was costing more than 10 million won a year.
According to Dongjak-gu, the estimated number of pedestrians that used the overpass was 2820 an hour. A new pedestrian crossing has been built directly under where the overpass was and Line 1 users can also use the new transfer tunnel via the Line 9 entrance to get the station.
The photo of the overpass below taken just before its removal shows a sign reading in Korean, “35 years…thanks for holding out so long!”— probably could have used a better choice of words there.
Banner Image: Seoul Press Release