Transport Tip: Daily Line 4 Express Trains from Ansan to Dangogae

Express trains for Ansan now run in both directions.If you use Line 4 regularly then you’ll know about the express trains that run during peak times between Ansan (안산) and Danggogae(당고개).

Thanks to reader James for the image.

Thanks to reader James for the image. Click to view larger version.

The trains are for those living in the Ansan area and only run on weekdays with just five trains to Danggogae in the morning and three trains from Danggogae to Ansan in the evening. While it is an “express train”, you won’t actually be saving too much time. The train only skips stations on the Ansan section, stopping at the following stations: Ansan, Jangang, Sangnoksu and Sanbon. The train is then all-stop from Geumjeong to Danggogae and saves a total of 7 minutes if travelling from Ansan to Danggogae. Check out Gogoon’s blog for a great graphic detailing time saved.

The express service on the Ansan section is actually not new and began back in 2010 but only operated in Danggogae direction in the mornings. Nevertheless, there must have been demand for services as evening trains began operating in Ansan direction from September last year. I guess that even if passengers aren’t cutting down on their commute time by a huge amount, it still probably feels much faster to skip a number of stations (just look at the rush for the Line 9 rapids).

Express Rail Following Seoul’s Line 2 Planned Long Term

Line2

A familiar sight at Line 2 stations.

Don’t get excited yet – this is a long way off and will still be in the planning stage for a very long time even if it does go ahead. Though I tend not to write about plans that are far off and uncertain, Line 2 express trains are something that people have talked about and longed for probably since it opened.

As many of us know, Line 2 is the busiest subway line in Seoul and is used by more than 2 million people a day. During the busiest times trains can reach 200% capacity and there are many who avoid the line during peak times if they can due to its reputation. Read more of this post

Increase of Seoul’s Public Transport Fares

bus-fares-koreaIt was speculated since a couple of months that there will be an increase of public transport fares in 2015. Today the transport department of Seoul submitted the new fare prices to the municipal assembly. We will see a rise of up to 30 %. In addition, Seoul will introduce a discount for early birds.

The last increase of traffic fares in Seoul was in February 2012. Actually, the long-term plan of Seoul was to increase the prices every (or at least, every second) year. However, transit users aren’t never happy about fare hikes and so they were delayed several times. After the big public transport reform in 2004 the fare was only raised twice: 2007 and 2012. The new fares will be implemented in June 2015. Read more of this post

Seoul Station Airport Rail Transfer Tunnel Finally Opens

The Line 9 extension wasn’t the only thing that opened today. A new transfer tunnel at Seoul Station from the Airport Railroad to Lines 1 and 4 has finally opened making transfers for those heading to the airport via the subway and bus much easier and faster.

If you’ve ever tried to make this transfer, you’ll know that previously the two subway lines and the Airport Rail were not connected directly. This meant that to transfer, passengers had to leave the subway station, go up the escalators, navigate through the crowds at Seoul Station and then take another escalator down to the Airport Rail station. The new transfer tunnel reduces the transfer distance by 400m from 700m to 300m and also cuts down the time from 12 to 5 minutes.

Comparison of new and previous transfer paths.

Comparison of new and previous transfer paths.

Construction on the tunnel began in June 2012 and went through various safety tests as well as a “user check” together with potential users which included the Disabled Association. Similar to longer transfer paths in other stations, moving walkways are also installed to help keep crowds flowing. Note that the transfer tunnel doesn’t include the Gyeongeui Line which only has services to Munsan once an hour.

Concerns as Line 9 Extension Opening Approches

The term 지옥철 or “hell train” is a play on the Korean word for subway and has been tossed around the media over the past month in relation to the opening of Seoul’s Line 9 (Metro 9) extension later this month on 28 March. I’ll get to this in a minute, but first a bit about the extension in case you’re not up to speed.

Line9Map

Please note that final English names of stations may be different than the ones shown here.Original image from Kyunghyang Shinmun.

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Darweol & Weonheung Stations to Open on 27 December

Most years a number rail/metro projects will end up being scheduled to open on the same day and this year is no different. Along with the connection between the Gyeongui and Jungang Lines mentioned in my previous post, two stations Darweol Station (달월역) and Weonheung Station (원흥역) will be opening on this day.
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Gyeongui Line & Jungang Line to Finally Connect

It’s almost the end of the year already! Living away from Korea and having a fairly busy job has kept me from blogging. Thanks so much to my co-blogger Nikola for helping to keep Kojects alive despite being busy with this own work.

Nevertheless I’m still keeping my eye on developments – particularly on rail projects – and to be honest it has been fairly quiet with not too many major happenings in the last two years. (Still waiting on that Maglev to open!)

Korail321908One major change coming up very soon is the final connection between the Gyeongui Line (경의선) and the Jungang Line (중앙선). From 27 December 2014 a section of track between Gongdeok Station (공덕역) and Yongsan Station (용산역) will open — finally connecting the two lines.

With the direct connection in place, the two services will now operate as one. This means you’ll be able to travel from Munsan Station (문산역) near the DMZ all the way down to Yongmun Station (용문역) in the south-eastern area of Gyeonggi Province. The new service will cut up to 30 minutes off a trip between these two stations – though I imagine this is a journey that not many would regularly make! Read more of this post

Three New Stations for Gyeongchun Line [Updated Post]

Image: Ahn Woo-seok

Image: Ahn Woo-seok

Update 4 – December 2013: All three stations have now been opened with Sinnae(Shinnae/신내역) Station having finally opened on December 28  2013. Unfortunately work has not even started on building a Line 6 Sinnae Station extended from the current terminus at Bonghwasan due to a disagreement between KORAIL and SMRT over whether the Line 6 station should have one or two tracks. Photos of the new Sinnae Station can be seen here

Update 3 – November 2013: Cheonmasan Station will finally open on November 30. View photos from the latest progress on Sinnae Station which is expected to open on December 28.

Update 2 – July: As you can see from these photos which were recently taken of the Cheonmasan Station construction site, the station is still far off opening. Estimates at this stage put the opening date in November.

Update:According to MLTM, Mukhyeon Station has been renamed to Cheonmasan Station and will be opening for service on June 29, followed by Shinnae Station on September 14.

On December 15,  Byeollae Station (별내역), the first of three new stations on the Gyeongchun Line was opened officially. This will be followed by Sinnae Station (신내역) in early 2013 and Cheonmasan Station (Formerlly Mukhyeon묵현역) in June 2013. Byeollae and Sinnae stations are located in areas which are currently already under heavy development. Byeollae Station in particular will serve Byeollae “new city“, a massive new development on the the outskirts of Seoul and situated near the start of the Gyeongchun Line. Read more of this post

Final Bundang Line Extension Opens

The day is finally here…for some anyway. The final Bundang Line Extension from Mangpo (망포) to Suwon (수원) will finally opened today (Saturday 30 November). Over the past three years the southern end of the line has been extended in stages with Jukjeon – Giheung (5.1km) and Giheung – Mangpo (7.4km) being completed in the Decembers of 2011 and 2012 respectively. Of course the northern extension from Seolleung to Wangshimni was also opened in 2012.

bundangext.jpg-large

Thanks to @qiranger for the image.

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Sustainable Transportation in Korea

UN-HABITAT published some weeks ago the GRHS 2013 (Global Report on Human Settlements) with a focus on sustainable human transport. Even though the report sometimes mentions Korea/Seoul and it contains an info-box about the bike sharing system in Changwon (p. 137),  a background study about sustainable transport in East Asia was more interesting for me. This report analyzed the condition of transport in China, Japan, Korea (South AND North), Mongolia and Taiwan. The authors seem to be great experts about mainland China and Shanghai but not so much about other regions. Nevertheless, it gives a nice context about sustainability in the transport sector of Korea. This post is going to summarize their main findings related to Korea without going too deep into the topic.

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