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Old August 21st, 2017, 03:32 AM   #901
aquaticko
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Quote:
Seoul set for urban rail expansion

Despite pushing back the opening date of the Ui Line, the latest addition to its metro from July until September, Seoul is on course to expand its 327km network by 89km by 2025....

The Ui Line is just one example of the ongoing expansion of Seoulís 327km metro network, with 89.2km of new lines to be built in the city by 2025. Seoul originally announced plans for eight light metro lines, one tram line, and another extension to Line 9 in 2013, which were approved by the Ministry for Land, Infrastructure and Transport (Molit) in 2015.

The new lines will increase station density to match the cityís vision of having a station within 10 minutes walking distance of any location. So far, 62% of areas have metro stations within this distance, and this number is expected to increase to 72% by the end of the project. The cost of the overall plan is estimated at Won 8.7 trillion ($US 76.36bn) with city hall set to contribute Won 3.6 trillion.

Seoul citizens are big fans of urban rail, and its metro system has been the leading mode of transport for many years. Modal share is already 38.8%, with Seoul hoping to boost this to 45% once all projects are complete. While the Seoul metro network already has 21 lines, there are still areas of the city where access to the metro is difficult, particularly in the southwest and northeast. Many of the upcoming routes wonít only benefit local residents, but will also bring better transfer links for commuters by providing connections between many of the parallel lines that run from east to west....

The city is also preparing to bring back trams, which have been absent from its streets since 1968. The planned Uirye Line will start at Macheon station on Line 8 in the south west, pass through the new city of Uirye, and terminate at Bokjeong in Gyeonggi Province. Many other cities are also planning or proposing to build light rail lines, including Daejeon which has selected a tram system for its second transit line....

On May 31, metro operators Seoul Metro and Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation (SMRT) merged following a majority vote from the unions of both corporations in November 2016. Seoul lines 1-8 are now under the new public corporationís jurisdiction with a strong focus on safety following the death of a screen door maintenance contractor at Line 2ís Guui station last year....

Seoulís metro development is showing no signs of slowing down. GTX will bridge the gap between slower metro services and high-speed rail across the Seoul Capital Area, improving commuting for many citizens and taking pressure off existing lines. In addition, more new rail lines will continue to be built in cities surrounding Seoul to connect them with the existing metro, making it even more extensive.
Lots more to read in the link.

I'm glad that Seoul is continuing its rail focus. I only wish that a.) The urban planning direction of Seoul was more consciously and explicitly directed towards modes of development which were conducive to rail and public transit usage, in addition to pedestrians and bikers, as opposed to the kind of happenstance with which it happens now, and b.) that other cities in Korea would follow Seoul's lead in that regard, or maybe even try to innovate past it. It would do the country a lot of good.
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Old August 21st, 2017, 04:11 AM   #902
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
Lots more to read in the link.

I'm glad that Seoul is continuing its rail focus. I only wish that a.) The urban planning direction of Seoul was more consciously and explicitly directed towards modes of development which were conducive to rail and public transit usage, in addition to pedestrians and bikers, as opposed to the kind of happenstance with which it happens now, and b.) that other cities in Korea would follow Seoul's lead in that regard, or maybe even try to innovate past it. It would do the country a lot of good.


I definitely agree with most of the contents from this article as well as your comments.


My concern is mostly that emphasis has been placed on light rail before express service. It's good to bring subway service to everyone in Seoul, but if once you take the subway you have to transfer twice and ride it for over an hour, people would still take their cars instead. Having express service (like on line 9), or GTX in place would strengthen the system more than light rail. I wish they had started GTX earlier and developed lines like Ui-Sinseol Line later.

What's also interesting (ie. puzzling) is that Ui-Sinseol is the first one being built, rather than Myeonmok Line, Dongbuk Line, Sillim Line, or Uirye-Sinsa for example. Ui-Sinseol is probably the least useful one for a couple of reasons: the area around Ui-Sinseol line is strictly residential and there are very few reasons for people who don't live there to go to this area (few businesses or commercial areas or landmarks). Plus the line is sandwiched between Bukhansan on the West and Line 4 on the East, so the population whose nearest station will be on the Ui-Sinseol line will not be so important. Finally, the line does provide much transfer options (only three stations on one side), so it's unlikely it would be a "shortcut" for anyone else, unlike Sillim line which could prove useful for many people.


It's not that the line is bad, but was it such a priority?


As for trams, I have my reservations, especially regarding the Daejeon Line 2 project. Tram has its advantages, but it works mostly either in downtown, or when implemented from the start for a new town (Uirye Line). But for Daejeon, it looks like the city officials found that the price for a conventional subway line was too high, so they decided to build the cheaper alternative - a tram - instead, but following the original plans for the subway. For a long circular line, overall speed is key, and the tram will probably do a poor job of bringing commuters from A to B quickly. Also, a tram strategy has to be implemented by taking into consideration existing road traffic, urban revitalization, and so on, and should be a holistic project. I fear the Daejeon Line 2 tram project will fail in this regards.
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 06:43 AM   #903
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The order of construction is a bit confusing to me, too. Personally, I'd have gone with the Wirye-Sinsa line first, but perhaps they're waiting for construction on the Samseong Station/Yeongdong-daero complex to begin work as an easier access point and a means of getting all of the interruption out of the way at once? Not sure. The Sillim Line is currently under construction. I'm not sure of the history of all these projects, though; perhaps the Ui LRT was simply planned for first? We know there was a giant metro expansion program immediately post-democratization, but then the Asian Financial Crisis happened, and then only about a decade later, the Great Recession happened. Perhaps there's just been a lot of reshuffling of priorities based purely on cost? Honestly, there are a lot of potential reasons for things progressing as they have. Who knows which is the real/right one?

As for Daejeon Line 2, I think it's probably still reflective of the secondary position rail transit is given in Korea as a whole.

Sure, Seoul's metro is already impressive and set to become even more so, and there's the KTX, but you've already highlighted some questionable Seoul Metro development decisions, and the placement of some KTX stations according to where is either cheapest or most politically useful (instead of where they'd be most useful in most city centers) suggests that possibly politicians still see rail as a form of pork barrel spending, and some citizens as merely an investment opportunity, instead of the useful, even transformative utility it is.

By contrast, no one really questions the prevalence--almost omnipresence--of roads, and because they're really inexpensive to build compared to rail lines, no one questions whether they make sense where they are, even if some of them are actually very expensive; think of it as an ecological fallacy. Very American of them, sadly.

When browsing through one of the Korean Wikipedia variants (namuwiki, maybe?), I came across a term that I, as an American, had never heard of before--PIMBY: please in my back yard. People still view these development tools--rail lines, roads, apartment blocks--as a means to enrich themselves, instead of improve their lives and the lives of all those who live in Korea. Speaking from a pure outsider's perspective, I think there's still a change in mindset needed before things start to entirely make sense.
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Old August 22nd, 2017, 09:45 AM   #904
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Yes, most of those lines being built are the vestiges of old projects, the 3rd Seoul Subway Plan, which was first devised in 1993.
https://namu.wiki/w/3%EA%B8%B0%20%EC...B3%84%ED%9A%8D

As you mentioned, the 1997 Crisis resulted in the cancellation of most of those lines, who have been reborn under different names and different routes.

Line 3 extension: Built
Line 9: Built (easternmost section to open next year)
Line 10: cancelled, but lives on as a mix of Sinansan and Myeonmok lines (still in planning)
Line 11: cancelled, but then again lives on as a mix of Sinbundang and Mokdong lines (Sinbundang partially opened and Mokdong in planning)
Line 12: cancelled, but revived through Ui Lrt (opening in 10 days) and Dongbuk line (starting construction next year)

I'm a bit worried about all these small capacity lines with stations every 700-800 meters. I don't think it's the best way to build a network in a city so big with still many neighborhoods not having their own stations. I'm sure there are some political reasons behind it. There are a few glaring examples, for example Gimpo GoldLine not behing an extension to line 9, doubts over whether Seobu Line and Sillim Line extensions (as well as weird connections in Yeouido), or Dongbuk Line not being an extension to Bundang line. I'm sure some of the justifications (costs, capacity, frequency, train depots...) make sense, but it does feel like so of these projects were not integrated together.

As for Sinsa-Wirye, I agree that it probably is the line with most potential. However I can understand why it's toking some more time. As you mentioned, the Yeongdong Transfer Center might have been an issue. But in any case, and assuming Yeongdong Transfer Center gets built by - say - 2025, it will be completed sooner than Wirye-Sinsa. I also think that urban planner were taken aback by Gangnam's success (and transportation needs), which is understandable. Gangnam didn't even exist in 1980, so it was difficult to predict that it would more than overtake Hanseong (old downtown) as the economic capital of Korea. And they've already made significant improvements to Gangnam in the last few years, unlike some other neighborhoods who had no such luck. Up until a few years ago, there were pretty much only 2 parallel lines (with no transfer stations) in Gangnam: line 2 and 7. Line 9 opened up to Sinnonhyeon in 2009, then Shinbundang in 2011, Bundang extension in Gangnam in 2012, Line 9 in Gangnam in 2015, and Suseo SRT in 2016. And now, they've started to build the northern Shinbundang extension and the GTX section between Suseo and Samseong. I can see why they let Wirye-Sinsa on the side for a bit after all these projects. Plus Wirye is not even completed yet.

As for KTX stations outside of city centers, I don't mind all that much to be honest. The costs of building downtown stations are extremely high, and making zig-zags to go to each city center would increase traffic time and reduce system effectiveness. Also, it's important to think of railroad projects as 100-year investments which drastically change urban balance. Actually, most large cities around the world are where they are because of railroad construction in the late 19th century. And I think this approach can work in Korea. For two main reasons. First, as you said Koreans are still very much PIMBY, and flock to transportation centers. Secondly, the real estate stock in urban centers is outdated (small buildings from the 60s-70s, commieblocks from the 80s), and therefore there is still a large need for a replacement of this stock. European or Japanese downtowns already have nice downtowns, with no exodus from these neighborhood to "new towns" or "suburbs". But most Korean city centers (not economic centers, but geographical and historical centers) are quite decrepited. There is a lot of urban regeneration that can be done, but so far only Seoul as truly succeeded. So I think "build it and they will come" still holds true. Gwangmyeong, Cheonan-Asan, Osong are growing quickly. New Pohang station strikes a nice balance. They probably got a bit greedy with New Ulsan and New Gyeongju station though. But overall, the "straight line" strategy hasn't turned out so bad. Of course it couldn't work in America or Europe with little demand for new buildings outside of city centers, but for Asia, it's been implemented for HSR in Japan and Taiwan as well (don't know about China).

And finally PIMBY causes problems, definitely. And it's a fairly short-sighted mindset. But when I look at Europe, where London has tried for 60 years to build a new runway, or pretty much any urban project in France, PIMBY has its advantages sometimes (and to a reasonable extent).
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Old December 29th, 2017, 04:45 AM   #905
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Capacity Increase on Subway Line 9

Subway Line 9, aka the "hell line" due to its congestion, will introduce 6-car trains from tomorrow.

Marred by low capacity and high demand, the line has struggled to increase capacity since its opening. The next year should finally improve the situation.

At the opening of the line in 2009, they were only 24 trains of 4 cars, which improved in 2011 with the addition of 12 trains. But then, with the expansion of the line to Gangnam area in 2015, demand increased drastically, and the number of trains remained unchanged (so the frequency decreased). Stress on the system grew, despite the addition of 4 new trains through 2016 and early 2017, bringing the total to 40 trains
(160 cars).

In 2018, introduction of new trains will finally be consequential, with the introduction of many cars.

From tomorrow, we will see 3 6-train cars introduced for express service, which is always welcome, but won't improve the situation much overall.

However, by June 2018, the plan is to increase to 17 6-train cars, and 28 4-train cars, for a total of 214 cars (45 trains), a 34% improvement compared to today.

Then, by December 2018, the line will be extended eastwards in the busy Songpa-gu area, and all 45 trains will have 6 cars (270 cars in total, although the line extension will bring down the frequency, so congestion should not improve significantly at that time). Apparently, by 2019, they will add 4 new trains to bring the total to 49 trains.

I still believe that despite the number of cars potentially growing from 160 to potentially 294 (+84%), the line will be quite crowded. In the end, I wouldn't be surprised if trains were further increased to 8 cars (at least for express service).

Also, this information comes from SMG, but labor unions are saying that the introduction of new trains, which require testing (juggling between cars of different size, and managing local and express service), may not realistically be done within the timeline announced by city hall to the public. So do expect potential delays in the introduction of these new trainsets.

http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr/bulletin...ML?input=1195m

http://www.fnnews.com/news/201712281628232514

http://www.naeil.com/news_view/?id_art=261235

http://news.kbs.co.kr/news/view.do?ncd=3578318&ref=A
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Old January 17th, 2018, 03:41 AM   #906
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Extension of AREX to Incheon Terminal 2

On January 13th, the Airport Railroad (AREX) Line was extended by one station to Incheon International Airport Terminal 2 (the line is extended by 5.8 km), ahead of the opening of the new terminal on January 18th.



http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr/photos/1...04&input=1196m



http://news.naver.com/main/read.nhn?...aid=0009136545
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