While a good part of South Korea is accessible to Seoulites by rail, sometimes getting to the train station can be a mission in itself, especially for those who live in south-east Seoul or the cities of Seongnam, Gwangju(Gyeonggi) and Yongin.
As of June 28 2011, construction commenced on a high-speed(KTX) rail spur from Pyeongtaek to Suseo station in Gangnam-gu. This line connects to the mainline at Pyeongtaek and thus to the rest of the country. Basically you will be able to get a KTX train from Gangnam to Busan, Gwangju(Jeolla) or wherever else you may want to go that is part of the high-speed network. There is also another station on the line in Dongtan, a new(ish) city in Gyeonggi Province.
I know you’re eager to see a image first rather than have me explain it so here you go. The new spur is in red and the current high-speed tracks in black. Click on the image to see a larger version.
As you can see it makes its way up through Gyeonggi Province, stopping in Dongtan and then going through Seongnam to get to Gangnam-gu. It connects with lines 3 and the Bundang line at Suseo station. I am surprised to see it is not being connected to the new Bundang line but I suppose it is still well in reach of these residents.
Once this new link to Gangnam has opened I imagine some services from Seoul station will have to be cut and I am sure patronage will be high, not only from Southern Seoul but also from neighbouring Gyeonggi residents. The line is “expected” to open in 2014 but in all honesty I will be very impressed if they can stick to that deadline. Nevertheless, once construction has finished and the line opens it will be no white elephant. (I’ll post about Gwangmyeong station another day.)
For those of you into a few more technical details:
- The length of the spur is 32.5km from Suseo to Dongtan and 11.8km from Dongtan to Pyeongtaek. Between Dongtan and Pyeongtaek there will be 16.4km of tunnel.
- Dongtan Station will be built underground and Suseo Station is to be above ground level.
- There are plans for future regional GTX trains to share this same line with intercity trains.
- Original plans state that the spur will extend slightly north from Suseo station to Samsung station but no time frame or detailed plans have been released about this extra extension.
On a personal note, this is one project I am very excited to see happening as I have always lived South of the Han and definitely know how frustrating it can be getting to Seoul station sometimes.