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Monday, August 5, 2013

Seoul LRT Projects Update (Part 2/2)

This post completes my tryptic on the revised Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Master Plan:
Before starting, one last glance at the map...

New LRT projects in Seoul
Seoul map with the projected LRT lines: the initial 7 in black, the updated list of 10 in red, 3 potential further projects in blue

... and at the updated list of LRT lines (7 + 3 + maybe 3, see previous post), with their projected daily traffic and length:

  • 7 lines in the initial list (in black on the above map):
    • Dongbuk Line (183,276 users, 13.3 km extended to 14.3)
    • Seobu Line (163,754 users, 15.7 km extended to 19.5) - see previous post
    • Sillim Line (119,743 users, 8.9 km extended to 10) - see previous post
    • Myeonmok Line (91,472 users, 9 km)
    • Mok-dong Line (89,587 users, 10.8 km)
    • Ui-Sincheol Extension (30,227 users, 3.5 km)
  • 3 new lines (in red on the above map):
    • Wirye-Sinsa Line (168,784 users, 14.8 km)
    • Subway Line 9 Extension (65,159 users, 3.8 km)
    • Wirye (33,081 users, 5 km)
  • for the 3 potential further projects (in blue on the above map), see previous post
And remember: this is only Seoul's wishlist, n projects at various stages of maturity, not even a final proposal. Don't expect everything to happen.

Mokdong Line: a new tentacle for Line 2
I'm starting with this project today to wrap up Southwest Seoul (after the Seobu, Sillim, Nangok lines and the Hongdae-Hwagok project). The Mokdong Line seems to be doubling the Subway Line 5 and the weird Sindorim-Kkachisan tentacle that grows from Subway Line 2. Actually, "Mokdong" is basically a new L-shaped Line 2 tentacle reaching from Dangsan to Sinwol, that crosses the first one without any connection, and fundamentally brings more traffic to Line 2 and to the growing Dangsan hub. On a more positive note, it alleviates the Sindorim and Yeongdeungpo-gu Office stations, and serves more directly central Mok-dong (between lines 5 and 9), plus the westernmost neighborhoods of Guro-gu, on the outer side of line 5.
  • Fundamentally, I don't like the idea of multiplying converging lines to a saturated axis, and to see all new line projects stop at Seoul borders, as if it were a wall. Particularly when, on the other side of this frontier, Bucheon's Ojeong-gu is solely crossed by the Gyeongin Expressway. I subscribe to the ambition of having most Seoul citizens living a maximum 10 mn walk away from subway stations, but Seoul is not an island, the city must improve its dialog with Gyeonggi-do, offer alternative to cars for commuters, consider maybe a second ring beyond line 2.... Always this deficit in vision and long term impacts, but also always these political bottlenecks at the local, regional, and national levels, which tend to multiply quick fixes, and to prevent larger scale and more sustainable projects from emerging.

  • The 12 projected stations (approximative list):
    • Dangsan Station (Subway Lines 2, 9) in Dangsan-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu: a confirmation of the Dangsan-Yeouido-Noryangjin triple hub. The Mokdong Lines heads westwards.
    • Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital / Wolchon Middle School at the frontier of Yangpyeong-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, and Mok-dong, Yangcheon-gu: a high density "apateu" neighborhood on the other side of Anyangcheon
    • Mok-dong / SBS in Mok-dong, Yangcheon-gu: on the other side of the Gyeongin Expressway / Gukhoe-daero axis, by SBS center.
    • Omokgyo Station (Subway Line 5) in Mok-dong, Yangcheon-gu: still following the general direction of the Mokdongseo-ro / Mokdongdong-ro axis.
    • Yangcheon-gu Office in Sinjeong-dong, Yangcheon-gu: the station will be close to the actual office, a couple of blocks away from the Yangcheon-gu Office Station on the older "tentacle" of Line 2... I hope they are somehow connected, or that they'll come up with a different name, otherwise we're in for another Sinchon Station mess (the Line 2 - Gyeongui Line stations share the same name but are not connected). But according to the maps, the new tentacle crosses the old one without any connecting station. I know this is a light rail, low cost project, but considering the scarcity of subway lines in this city, I don't understand how one can come up with non-intersections. This is supposed to be a network, for gimchi's sake! Granted, it's already complicated to get a train in the direction of these weird tentacles...
    • Sintree Park in Sinjeong-dong, Yangcheon-gu: at the intersection of Jungang-ro and Sinjeong-ro. Line 2 passes here, and if this Sintree Station were on line 2, it would be exactly halfway between Yangcheon-gu Office and Sinjeongnegeori Stations.
    • Seobu Truck Terminal / Yangcheon high schools in Sinwol-dong, Yangcheon-gu: at the intersection between Nambusunhwan-ro (Nambu Ringway) and Sinjeong-ro, which continues across Waryongsan to Bucheon via the Gungdong Tunnel. At one stage, a short sub-tentacle was supposed to grow from here to Sinjeong District 3 and to a line depot, but the line follows Nambu Ringway northwards
    • Gangsin Middle School in Sinwol-dong, Yangcheon-gu: further on Nambusunhwan-ro 
    • Gangwol Elementary School in Sinwol-dong, Yangcheon-gu: at the intersection with Sinwol-ro. A lot of apartment blocks have been erected to the left of these last two stations, on the eastern slopes of Waryongsan, where the sub-tentacle would have landed.
    • Sinwol Interchange in Sinwol-dong, Yangcheon-gu: at the intersection between Nambu Ringway and Gyeongjin Expressway
    • Sinwol-dong Sageori in Sinwol-dong, Yangcheon-gu: at the intersection with Garogongwon-ro, which leads to Gogang-dong, Ojeong-gu, Bucheon
    • Sinwol in Sinwol-dong, Yangcheon-gu: at the intersection with Hwagok-ro, a significant road that leads to Gayang Bridge and the DMC to the East and (as Bongo-daero) to Jakjeon Station in Incheon

Ui-Banghak Line: not so simple

After yesterday's "3-Tailed Dragon" and this new tentacle, I'm taking a break with the simpler Ui-Banghak Line. No headache here, we're only prolonging the Ui-Sinseol Line, already well under way, to Banghak Station. The vertical between Bukhansan and Line 4 will then follow the parallel all the way to Subway Line 1.

  • No headhache? Note that Ui-Sinseol basically prolongs Line 2's eastern tentacle (Seongsu-Sinseol-dong), but that's not the same technology (LRT). Note also that this is not exactly an extension, but an outgrowth starting from the next to last station (Ui - Munigyo)... do we need more sub-tentacles? Typically the consequence of short term planning.

  • The 12 initial stations (reminder) - NB: tentative names, as usual here:
    • Sinseol-dong (Subway Lines 1, 2) in Dongdaemun-gu.
    • Bomun (Subway Line 6) in Seongbuk-gu
    • Sungshin Women's University (Subway Line 4) in Seongbuk-gu
    • Jeongneung (Jeongneung Samgeori) in Seongbuk-gu
    • Kookmin University - Seokyeong University (Jeongneung-dong) in Seongbuk-gu
    • Sinmia / Dongbuk Market in Gangbuk-gu
    • Samyang-dong Samgeori / Samyang Market in Gangbuk-gu
    • Hwagyesa / Sinsuyu in Gangbuk-gu
    • Ui Elementary School / Insu / Suyu in Gangbuk-gu
    • 4.19 Memorial Cemetery in Gangbuk-gu - close to Duksung Women's University in Dobong-gu
    • Ui / Munigyo Samgeori in Gangbuk-gu
    • Bukhansan / Ui-dong Resort in Gangbuk-gu. Theoretically the beginning of the line, and the line depot.
  • 2 new stations are planned for the new Ui-Banghak Line (4 stations overall):
    • Ui / Munigyo Samgeori (Ui-Sinseol Line) in Ui-dong, Gangbuk-gu: intersection of Samyang-ro and Haedeung-ro, which the new line takes eastwards, crossing Uicheon.
    • Banghak / Ssangmun / Seondeokgogyoipgu in Banghak-dong and Ssangmun-dong, Dobong-gu: at the intersection between Haedeung-ro and Sirubong-ro, in the middle of a massive new town. The line continues eastwards then takes Dobang-ro to the left.
    • Dobang in Banghak-dong, Dobong-gu: intersection between Dobang-ro and Sirubong-ro 15-gil
    • Banghak Station (Subway Line 1) in Dobong-dong, Dobong-gu:

Dongbuk Line: The Northeastern Light Rail Highway
One of the longest projects, and the one expecting the heaviest traffic, the Dongbuk Line improves coverage in Northeast Seoul and alleviates traffic from the saturated subway lines 1 and 4. Starting from Wangsimni Station, it initially stopped at Eunhaeng Sageori, but has been stretched to Sanggye Station.

  • Wangsimni confirms its role as a major hub west of the city center. Seoul takes care of its bed towns on the way, but doesn't extend the hand to the other side of Buramsan (well in the first place, Gyeonggi-do didn't plan any railway for its own New Towns there - a total nonsense for XXIst century urban planning).

  • Projected stations (tentative list):
    • Wangsimni Station (Subway Line 2, 5, Jungang Line) in Haengdang-dong, Seongdong-gu
    • Doseon Sageori in Doseon-dong, Majang-dong, and Hongik-dong, Seongdong-gu: intersection of Gosanja-ro and Majang-ro
    • Jegi-dong Station (Subway Line 1) in Yongdu-dong and Jegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu. Note that we could have stopped on the way at Yongdu Station in the eastern tentacle of Line 2.
    • Korea University Station (Subway Line 6) in Jongam-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Cheongnyangni-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
    • Sungnye Elementary School in Jongam-dong, Seongbuk-gu: along Jongam-ro
    • Jongam in Jongam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
    • Miasamgeori Station (Subway Line 4) in Songcheon-dong and Songjung-dong, Gangbuk-gu. From then, the line follows the Wolgye-ro diagonal
    • Odong Park - Dream Forest in Songjung-dong, Gangbuk-gu
    • Dream Forest in Beon-dong, Gangbuk-gu, and Jangwi-dong, Seongbuk-gu
    • Wolgye Station (Subway Line 1) in Wolgye-dong, Nowon-gu: then, the line crosses Jungnangcheon, and Wolgye-ro becomes Hangeulbiseong-ro
    • Hagye Station (Subway Line 7) in Hagye-dong, Nowon-gu: and the new SeMA Nowon
    • Daejin High School in Hagye-dong, Nowon-gu: intersection Hangeulbiseong-ro / Nowon-ro
    • Eunhaeng Sageori in Junggye-dong, Nowon-gu: intersection Hangeulbiseong-ro / Junggye-ro (reminder: walk up that street to reach Baeksa Maeul). Where the line stopped in previous plans.
    • Sanggye Station (Subway Line 4)

Myeonmok Line: Eastern Eggs
Starting from Cheongnyangni, the Myeonmok Line covers a triangle between subway lines 1, 5, and 7 in Dongdaemun-gu, and almost reaches subway line 6 in Sinnae-dong, on the other side of the Jungang Line.

  • Private investors are interested by this line. Maybe because it can easily be prolonged, at a cheaper cost than line 6, to the Namyangju New Towns that will necessarily have to be connected some day. And speaking of connections, this line ignores the old Jungan Line as well as the Bonghwasan terminus of Line 6.

  • Projected stations (tentative list):
    • Cheongnyangni Station (Jungang Line, Subway Line 1) in Jeonnong-dong and Cheongnyangni-dong, Dongdaemun-gu.
    • University of Seoul in Jeonnong-dong, Dongdaemun-gu: the gate at Seoulsiripdae-ro and Jeonnong-ro
    • Jeonnong-dong in Jeonnong-dong, Dongdaemun-gu
    • Jangan-dog Sageori in Jangan-dong, Dongdaemun-gu: at the intersection of Dapsimni-ro and Jangan-ro, the line continues along the former, crosses Jungnangcheon
    • Myeonmok / Myeongmokcheon-ro in Myeonmok-dong, Jungnang-gu
    • Myeonmok Station (Subway Line 7) in Myeonmok-dong, Jungnang-gu
    • Dongwon Sageori / Gyeomjae Samgeori in Mangu-dong, Jungnang-gu
    • Yongmasan in Mangu-dong, Jungnang-gu: intersection Yongmasan-ro / Bongujae-ro, former Yongmaland amusement park
    • Mangu Sageori in Mangubon-dong, Mangu-bong, Jungnang-gu: intersection Yongmasan-ro / Mangu-ro - NB: we're passing between the Mangu and Yangwon stations of the Jungan Line, but no connection...
    • Jungnang-gu Office in Sinnae-dong, Jungnang-gu
    • Neungsan Samgeori in Sinnae-dong, Jungnang-gu
    • Sinnae in Sinnae-dong, Jungnang-gu

Wirye Sinsa Line & Wirye Line: New Town, Old Routes
At the frontier with Seongnam, Wirye New Town (Geoyeo-dong and Jangji-dong, Songpa-gu) gives its name to two projects:
  • The Wirye Line is an omnibus crossing the whole new town with 9 very close outdoor stations (it really looks like the Paris Tramway), and perfectly connected on both sides to existing subway lines (Macheon on line 5, Bokjeong on lines 3 and 8). Again, I'm not a fan of new town, but I would never allow any major project that doesn't from day one include a robust railway backbone, and this one has at least that right. Do we need 9 stations, and did we need this new town in the first place, that's another question.

  • The Wirye Sina Line does more than connect this new block to the grid: it goes all the way through to Sinsa, and I think this area has already seen many new lines in a recent past. Almost 15 km of essentially redundant lines, THAT's probably way too much.
    • The line would start from the lower third of the new town (7th station out of 9 on Wirye Line), follow line 8 around Jangji-Munjeong, until Garak Market. This first stretch is totally redundant and disproportionate. Remember, Wirye Line IS already connected to Line 8. Had this WSL started from the 5th station of the WL, and added a brand new station in the middle of non covered land (Munjeong-dong - Jangji-dong, halfway to Garak Market) it would still look too much.
    • After Garak Market, miracle: a new station in a less covered place (even then, Garak-1-dong is close to Songpa Station. WSL follows Tancheon and Tancheondong-ro, but I don't see any station on that long stretch... which line 9 is supposed to be covering soon anyway. So here again, almost total redundancy.
    • What next? WSL goes north, crosses lines 2 (Samseong Station), 9, and 7 (Cheongdam Station). Then it becomes a parallel to the same lines 2, 9, and 7, that will meet the soon to be extended Bundang Line, and meet Line 3.

Line 9 Extension
From the start, the Subway Line 9 Extension tells a lot about the failed Subway Line 5 fork. Forks and tentacles are not natural forms for railways. Line 9 will basically follow this vertical from Seoul Veterans Hospital (Dunchon-dong, Gangdong-gu) to Godeok Gangil District 1 (Godeok-dong, Gangdong-gu), but frankly prolonging subway line 8 would have done the job. It's just that while many neighborhoods have yet to see a railway line, some love to build three or four parallels just for fun. Okay. I'm getting tired here. And it's good to have a line (9) that crosses the whole city - and I hope, one day, beyond (I already wrote that I expected one of these lines to reach to Guri and Hanam. Someday).


Now if you don't mind, I'll drop the maps and take a nap.

Until the next batch of projects.

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* see "'서울 어디서나 도시철도 10분' - 철도 중심시대가 열립니다" ( 20130725)


  1. I was told by a friend that there was something talked about that would (finally) come through Pyeongchang-dong in 5 years. However, I cannot seem to find such a line on any of these proposals.

    1. I mentioned it in the third part of the first post ("If you ain't broke, fix it: Seoul, Welfare and Railways Deficits"). The idea of prolonging the Shinbundang Line is not new, but previous plans stopped at Gwanghwamun or Gyeongbokgung Station and here, it seems that a station would be added on each side of the Jahamun Tunnel: one in Seochon, another in Pyeongchang-dong, maybe in front of Sangmyeong University, at the intersection of Jahamun-ro and Segeomjeong-ro (Hongji-dong).
      Pyeongchang-dong citizens have posted a banner to urge politicians to keep their promise.
      A couple of years ago, I toyed with the idea of a second circular line that would cross the neighborhood horizontally, adding one or two stations to the East, where most residents live.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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