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Korail hit by ticketing crash, industrial action

Nov 28,2009
On the second day of the railway workers’ strike, passengers yesterday wait in long lines as they could not buy train tickets. The network server of Korail’s ticket issuance service crashed yesterday afternoon. By Kim Kyung-bin
The network server of Korail’s ticket reservation service crashed at 5:21 p.m. yesterday, preventing users from accessing the Korail Web site (www.korail.com) and commuters from buying tickets from ticket kiosks in trains stations. Korail’s ARS reservation system was also inaccessible, Korail said yesterday.

The system was recovered at 7:55 p.m., two hours and 34 minutes later, but the cause of the server shutdown was not yet known at press time.

Meanwhile, the Korean Railway Workers’ Union strike put the brakes on cargo train operations across the country, leaving only 25 out of 300 cargo trains running yesterday, less than 10 percent of the usual train cargo.

The railway union strike is impacting the logistics industry as heavy goods such as steel, pulp and paper and leather are mostly transported by track. “With cargo train operations paralyzed, my hands are tied up now because freight that should have already arrived in Busan port is still at a depot in the metropolitan area,” an export trader said.

Containers piled up at Obong Station in Uiwang, Gyeonggi after 23 Obong station workers managed to shift only 2,800 tons of cargo out of a planned 12,000.

“Additional emergency workers were dispatched to run passenger trains and subways. Cargo trains are not high on the priority list,” said Ji Sang-su, an official at Obong Station. “My only hope is the union workers end the strike soon.”

Commuters using the subway and trains such as Saemaeul and KTX were mostly unaffected by the strike. Military personnel and retired Korail workers took over the operation of passenger trains from 10 a.m. yesterday.

Subway line No. 1 was delayed for between 40-60 minutes when a machine that switches train lanes broke down at Guro Station, subway line No. 1 at 7:50 a.m. Hundreds of passengers had to get off the subway in the middle of the lane and walk to another train.

“I got on a subway at Guil Station, just one stop away from Guro Station,” an angry passenger said. “I had to jump off the subway in the middle of the subway lane because the subway couldn’t get us to the boarding platform. And it took me 50 minutes to get to Guro Station.” Other subway lines saw 20-minute delays as some emergency workers were not experienced and were unable to stop trains at the exact point of boarding.


By Kim Mi-ju, Chang Chung-hoon [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]
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