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Cover Story ①] Railroad Renaissance, Starts from Incheon

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Cover Story ①] Railroad Renaissance, Starts from Incheon

It is the age of renaissance for railroads across the world because it can quickly transport many passengers and freights while it is an eco-friendly means of transportation, emitting about 1/6 of the carbon dioxide emitted by a passenger car. South Korea also works to expand the railroad industry and build its infrastructure. A ‘Railroad Renaissance’ begins in Incheon, a gateway city to the world. 



CONSTRUCTION OF GTX-B AS THE CENTER OF INCHEON’S RAILROAD NETWORK BEGINS, 

AND PROMOTION OF LINES D AND E 

Incheon is where the Gyeongin Line, Korea's first railroad, was built in 1899. With the announcement that the GTX-B line began construction in 2024 and that the GTX-D and E lines will depart from Incheon International Airport, Incheon has again entered the era of railroad renaissance. 

On March 7, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Great Train eXpress (GTX)-B line departing from Songdo International City was held at Songdo Convensia. The GTX-B line is a metropolitan express railroad connecting major metropolitan stations in 30 minutes. It starts from Songdo, passes by Incheon City Hall, Bupyeong, and Seoul, and even reaches Maseok in Namyangju. The line is 82.8 km long, and 14 stations will be built, with the goal of opening in 2030. 

The opening of the GTX-B route is expected to resolve traffic problems in the metropolitan area and promote balanced development between regions. To back this plan, Incheon is preparing for the opening flawlessly by planning additional stations for transfer to the Suin Line and the Second Gyeongin Line and building a complex transfer center. 

In addition, as the GTX-D route takes the Y-shape, an additional section connecting to Incheon International Airport was confirmed. The GTX-E line will connect from Incheon International Airport to Namyangju through Cheongna. This will ensure citizens' right to mobility in the western part of the capital area and expand the transportation network to and from Incheon International Airport. 


① GTX-B

Period : 2030 (Scheduled)

Section : 82.8㎞

Stations Covered : 14 (Incheon National University Station - Maseok Station in Namyangju)

Effect : Expected travel time between Songdo International City and Seoul Station is 30 minutes 

② GTX-D

Stations Covered : Incheon International Airport, Janggi Station in Gimpo - Daejang Station in Bucheon - Samsung Station in Seoul - Incheon, Wonju        ※ Y Line

Plan : Preliminary feasibility study (scheduled for 2027)

③ GTX-E

Stations Covered : Incheon International Airport ~ Deokso Station in Namyangju

Plan : Preliminary feasibility study (scheduled for 2027)


OPENING OF KTX INCHEON, QUICK ACCESS TO ANY PLACE IN KOREA 

The project to have a KTX terminal in Incheon got the green light. 

KTX Incheon is a project that shares the Suin-Bundang Line from Songdo Station, branches near Eocheon Station and connects directly to the Gyeongbu High-Speed Railway. 

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced the KTX Incheon project plan through the 3rd National Railroad Network Construction Plan in 2016, and it passed the preliminary feasibility study by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance in the same year. 

The project has been stalled since then but is being promoted in earnest as it is included in this year's government budget. Most of all, the reason KTX Incheon is important is that it Incheon is the only one without KTX high-speed rail among metropolitan cities. 

When it opens, it will reduce the travel time from Songdo Station to Busan Station to approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, and to Mokpo Station in Jeollanam-do, 2 hours and 10 minutes. 


+ Opening of KTX in Incheon

Period : 2025 (Scheduled)

Details : Total length between Suin Line and Gyeongbu KTX 3.19㎞

         Improvement of three existing stations (Songdo Station, Choji Station, and Eocheon Station)

Effect : Expected travel time between Incheon and Busan is 2 hours 30 minutes, and between Incheon and Mokpo is 2 hours 10 minutes


GYEONGIN SUBWAY GOING UNDERGROUND TO RECONNECT THE CITY 

The Gyeongin subway divides downtown Incheon south and north. There are complaints regarding the inconvenience as people must use an overpass to travel even a short distance. 

The Underground Gyeongin Subway Project is about turning a 27km railroad section from Guro Station to Incheon Station into an underground section and developing the ground area above it. 

Although the project could not be pushed forward due to problems such as the enormous project cost, the base for its implementation was laid as the National Assembly passed a related special law in January. 

Incheon is thoroughly preparing a master plan for burying the Gyeongin subway section and utilizing the ground above to make it the first leading project in the country. 


+ A Look at the Gyeongin Line in the 1899s 

Historically, Incheon was the city where Korea’s railroad transportation began. The Gyeongin Line, which started from Incheon Station on September 18, 1899, has consistently connected people and regions through modern and contemporary history. The Gyeongin Line connected the Jemulpo in Incheon and Noryangjin, about 33km in length. With the construction of the Gyeongin Line, modern means of transportation began to be used in earnest. Its primary purpose was to transport freights, but many people also used it to move. Afterward, the single-track railroad was expanded to a double-track in the 1960s and turned into a subway system in August 1974. 

(AS OF 1899)

- Steam locomotives : 4 

- Passenger Cars : 6 COMPARTMENTS 

1 compartment was for imperial use only 

- Freight Cars : 28 SPACES  

- Turnaround Time : 1 H 40 M 

- Speed : 19.8KM 

- Open Stations : 7 

Noryangjin, Oryu-dong, Sosa, Bupyeong, Ugak-dong, Chukhyeon (currently Dongincheon), Incheon 


Cover Story ②] Incheon, Running towards Citizens’ Happiness

Incheon set out to further the happiness of its citizens. It intends to provide seamless public transportation services by bringing public transportation closer to citizens. 



INCHEON I-PASS FOR INEXPENSIVE USE OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION 

‘Incheon I-Pass’ from Incheon’s public transportation discount and support policy for buses, subways, and more will be implemented in May. 

As an Incheon-style public transportation support project that expands the scope of support based on the government's K-Pass, the Incheon I-Pass is differentiated by the benefits provided regardless of region. 

Like K-Pass, it also refunds 20% of public transportation costs (30% for young people, 53% for low-income people), but unlike K-Pass, it eliminates the limit of 60 trips per month to provide unlimited support. It also expanded the scope of young people to include those aged 19 to 39, and in the second half of next year, it will be further expanded to include children and adolescents aged 6 to 18 in the scope. 


LEARN ABOUT VARIOUS BENEFITS OF I-PASS 

① Travel across Boundaries 

The Climate Card operated by Seoul charges an extra fee if you travel across the boundary of Seoul, but with Incheon I-PASS, you can take any subway and city bus nationwide, including the Shinbundang Line and GTX. 

② Expansion of the Scope of Youth 

K-PASS, operated by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, targets young people aged 19 to 34. Incheon I-PASS provides broader support by expanding the scope of young people up to 39 years of age. 

③ Unlimited Number of Refunds 

K-PASS refunds a certain percentage of the transportation fee up to 60 times if you use public transportation more than 15 times a month. Incheon I-PASS provides unlimited refunds without a limit on support. 

④ Increased Support for the Elderly 

K-PASS provides a 20% refund to seniors over 65 years of age. Incheon I-PASS increased the refund rate to 30% in the first half of this year and will gradually increase it to 50%. 

⑤ Supports Various Groups 

Most of all, Incheon I-PASS plans to provide children and teenagers with up to 120,000 won annually. 


NIGHT BUS TO ENSURE SAFETY AT NIGHT

Transportation connectivity during late night hours was weak, as the times for the last subway train and bus were different. 

To improve the convenience of citizens, Incheon operates a night bus called ‘Byeolbam (Starry Night) Bus.’

First, the four most frequently used stations, including Songnae Station, Gyeyang Station, Geomam Station, and Cheongna International City Station, were designated major bases for office workers commuting to Incheon and Seoul. The operating hours are from 23:20 to 1:40 p.m., with two buses running once per route. 

The fare is planned to be around 2,500 won, considering the bus rates in Seoul.


TAGLESS SUBWAY FOR EVERYONE’S CONVENIENCE

Incheon introduces tagless gates in subway stations. With the tagless gate system, passengers can automatically pay the fare by passing through the gate without tagging a transportation pass, eliminating the need to take out the pass. 

To use the tagless system, passengers need to install the mobile T-money application on their smartphone and turn on the Bluetooth function.

Incheon installed tagless gates at Juan Station and Jakjeon Station starting in July 2022 and operated them on a trial basis for one year. According to the result, this will make it more convenient for the transportation vulnerable and passengers with luggage and reduce congestion during rush hour. 

It is scheduled to be introduced first in the Incheon Line 2 and the Incheon section of Seoul Line 7 this year, and Incheon Line 1 is planning to introduce it by next year.


+ Tagless System Installation Plan

Project Period January 2024 - February 2025

Installation Locations 77 locations in 62 stations (including two stations operating on a pilot basis: Jakjeon and Juan stations)

Details Establishment of a mobile payment system at one location per platform exit



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