Monday, April 12, 2010

Spectacular extensions of Seoul Subway Lines 4-5-6-7 ?

Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi-do signed series of agreements to pursue the dream of a common "Gyeongin Megacity" : together, they already claim 25 million citizens and a considerable portion of Korean economy, but they are eager for more. More visitors, more businesses, and more infrastructures.

Rapid transit solutions, such as underground driveways and the GTX / Great Train eXpress, are under way to make most parts of the megacity accessible within one hour. Korea's first train line already linked Incheon (then Jemulpo) with Seoul* : Gyeongin Line (경인선) was built in 1899.

The extension of Seoul subway beyond city limits is another major project. Of course, all regional networks are already connected, but lines 4 to 7 would grow considerably :

. Line 4 : 17 km extension from Dangogae to Jinjeop-eup, a major New Town in Namyangju - note that Dangogae itself is to become the center of Sanggye New Town. As planned, the subway car depot shall move from Sanggye-dong, along with the Dobong Driving Center, giving way for the long expected establishment of Nowon Station area as Seoul's Northeastern hub (see 2006 focus on Nowon-gu). To me, this project will fly because all parties, and particularly Nowon-gu and Namyangju, are dying to see it happen.

. Line 5 : 11 km extension from Sangil-dong to Hasangok-dong in Hanam. That's beyond Circular Highway 100 at the Hanam InterChange with Highway 35, which also leads to Paldang Bridge (consistent with the recent extension of Hangang bike road). I guess this line would follow road 43, a densily populated axis. To me, all this depends on the merger project** between Hanam, Seongnam, and Gwangju. Hanam cruelly lacks a subway line, but decisions could take time.

. Line 6 : 6 km extension from Sinnae to Donong-dong in Namyangju, another New Town (Buyeong e-Dreamtown). And that's also beyond Highway 100, at Guri InterChange. This one could also fly, but there's already the Jungang Line (train), and the express train to Chuncheon will soon be inaugurated. I would rather recommend a vertical line across Guri and Namyangju, for instance from Sinnae to Uijeongbu, parallel to Circular 100.

. Line 7 : 33 km extension from Jangam to Pocheon, up North. Line 7 was already a quite long one (it almost reaches Bucheon), but this would open new horizons for Northeastern Gyeonggi-do and beyond. Clearly, the region wants to put this area on the map, to correct geographic imbalances in economic development... but who would support the investment ?

Stay tuned until the next announcements.

Anyway, I'm not keeping track of all new subway projects : that would be a full time job.

Seoul Village 2010

* actually at the beginning Noryangjin (thus the fish market), which back then didn't belong to Seoul but Siheung
** see "Gwangju completes Seongnam-Hanam merger"

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