The southern Shinbundang Line Extension to Suwon is set to open at the end of this month. The high-speed metro line has been open for over four years now and from January 30, the Shinbundang Line will begin operating services all the way to Gwanggyo(Kyonggi Univ.) Station in Suwon.
There are six new stations on the 12.8km extension: Dongcheon, Suji-gu Office, Seongbok, Sanghyeon, Gwanggyo Jungang(Ajou Univ.) and Gwanggyo(Kyonggi Univ.).
Also known as the “DX Line”, the current service boasts a quick trip of only 16 minutes from Gangnam to Jeonja Station and travels at a top speed of 110 km/h. The opening of the extension will bring the length of the entire line to 31.3km, making it the longest driverless railway in Korea. Travelling the length of the line is expected to take 30 minutes, which is very fast considering that a trip on the Bundang line from Seonneung to Cheongmyeong (the first station on the Bundang Line in Suwon) takes 58 minutes.
Trains will operate from 5:30am to 1am on weekdays and 5:30am to 12am on weekends and public holidays. Designs of the six new stations can be viewed on the Gyeonggi Rail website. Gwanggyo, the final station, is the only station above ground and also the location of the new depot. Another unique station is Gwanggyo Jungang Station which has an underground bus stop for quick transfers — likely to be popular on cold winter days.
Fares and Extra Fees
The stations on the new extension (Dongcheon – Gwanggyo) and the current Shinbundang Line (Gangnam – Jeongja) are operated by different companies, DX Line and Gyeonggi Rail, each with their own extra fee of 900 won.
This is also on top of the standard fare of 1,250 won plus an extra 100 won/5km when travelling over a distance of 10km. However, if you’re travelling across both sections, commuters will receive a 600 won discount. According to Internet Rail News, travelling from Gangnam to Gwanggyo will cost you around 2950 won.
Despite the discount, the two extra fees do make travelling shorter distances between the two sections feel a bit pricey, especially for the many commuters likely to be travelling to Pangyo and back. To counter this, Gyeonggi Rail is implementing a “cash back” initiative for those travelling between Dongcheon/Suji City Hall and Pangyo. It will be interesting to see whether other locations are included in this initiative later.
Migeum Station & Second Stage of Shinbundang Line Extension
Another station on the new extension, Migeum, is under construction and is expected to open in October 2017. This will mean that the Shinbundang Line will have another transfer point to the Bundang Line, the other one being at Jeongja Station. This may come as a surprise to some, as Migeum Station is directly after Jeongja Station approximately only 1.8km away.
The addition of Migeum didn’t come without controversy and was opposed by Suwon. While it may be merely be “one more stop”, one of the main reasons the Shinbundang Line is so attractive to commuters is the speed and fewer number of stations. According to Vision Seongnam, the station was at 56% completion in November last year. Once open, it will become part of the Gyeonggi Rail section of the line.
Dongcheon – Gwanggyo is only the first stage of the southern extension, the second stage being from Gwanggyo Station to Homaesil which is scheduled to open in 2020. We’ll have more on this extension closer to the time. Check out the map (very large file) on the Gyeonggi Rail website for more information.
When is the northern extension across the river opening!?
Still a long way off yet sorry. Due to certain maps and phone apps prematurely displaying the planned northern extension of the Shinbundang Line, it seems many people have been under the impression that it would be just around the corner.
Sadly, the stations and actual route haven’t even been decided for certain yet. With two competing proposals already on the table, Seoul is also investigating if the northern part of the line can be shared with the GTX A Line.
It’s easy to see why people are excited over this extension, linking one the busiest stations (Gangnam) on the network with Lines 7, 9, 3 and major stations on the northern side of central Seoul. Nevertheless, until a decision is made we’ll have to wait. We’ll take a look at the different proposals in another post later this year.
Feature Image: Sburst – Wikicommons