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Gov't to deploy ‘quasi-KTX high-speed’ trains by 2025

Gov't to deploy ‘quasi-KTX high-speed’ trains by 2025

Posted February. 04, 2016 07:15,   

Updated February. 04, 2016 07:21

한국어

"Quasi-Korea Train Express (KTX) high-speed trains" that run at up to 250 km per hour will be heavily deployed to areas where KTX trains are currently not in service. Korea will also push for a plan to construct in earnest Great Train Express (GTX) for the Seoul metropolitan region, which will cut commuting time in the region to about 30 minutes.

The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry said on Wednesday that it will hold on Thursday a public hearing on a "Phase 3 Plan to construct national rail networks" that calls for this and other measures. The Phase 3 Plan is a legally enforceable mid- to long-term plan, which includes basic direction for the construction of rail networks and a plan to expand rail routes over the next 10 years through 2025.

According to the plan, EMU-250 trains (high-speed Electric Multiple Unit trains) that are close in speed to KTX bullet trains will be deployed on ordinary railways linking areas where KTX trains are not in service, and thus expand high-speed train networks to the entire nation. The Southern Inland line (Gimcheon-Geoje), Chuncheon – Sokcho line, Pyeongtaek-Bubal line, and Chungbuk line (Jochiwon – Bongyang) will be constructed as quasi-KTX lines, while existing lines such as Joongang Line will also be transformed into quasi-KTX lines. When that happens, the population that has access to high-speed railroads will increase from 51 percent at present to 85 percent in 2025.

A project will also be implemented to reduce the average commuting time in metropolitan regions including the Seoul metropolitan region from the current 50-plus minutes to less than 30 minutes. GTX Line A (Ilsan in Goyang City – Samseong in southern Seoul) will be extended to Paju, Gyeonggi Province, while GTX Line B (Songdo in Incheon – Cheongnyangni in Seoul), and GTX Line C (Uijeongbu in Gyeonggi – Geumjeong in Gunpo, Gyeonggi) have been included in the new plan. Homaesil – Bongdam, Dongbinggo – Samseong sections on Subway New Bundang Line will also be newly constructed. When the new rail networks are constructed as planned, travel time from areas in the Gyeonggi region surrounding Seoul to Seoul Station will significantly decrease from 63 minutes to 13 minutes for Ilsan, from 52 minutes to 8.4 minutes for Uijeongbu, from 87 minutes to 23 minutes for Songdo, and from 82 minutes to 23 minutes for Dongtan in Hwaseong.

A project to connect Suseo in Seoul and Gwangju in Gyeonggi (19.2 km), a section that is currently unlinked, will also be launched to enhance accessibility from Gangnam districts in Seoul and areas south of Seoul in Gyeonggi to Gangwon Province, and central inland areas including North Chungcheong Province, and North Gyeongsang Province.

However, even if proposed projects have been included in Phase 3 Plan, they will not be launched immediately, and hence it is premature to have too much of expectations. Actual groundbreaking of projects could take more than several years, as they have to clear the process including feasibility study and development of project plans. Many of the projects that were include in Phase 1 and 2 Plans have yet to be launched.

“The budget required for Phase 3 Plan to construct rail networks’ amounts to 74.1 trillion won or 61 billion U.S. dollars (including 53.7 trillion won or 44 billion dollars from state coffers)," a source in the ministry said. "Given recent financial conditions, the amount is a level that could be mobilized by the country.”



김재영기자 redfoot@donga.com