Subway train derails, stirring even more worry
Following a recent series of KTX accidents ranging from derailment to a sudden stoppage, the public’s lingering anxiety over taking the high-speed trains is expected to expand to subway trains as well.
At 12:38 p.m. on Saturday, a six-car train on the Bundang subway line derailed at Jukjeon Station after departing from Bojeong Station, forcing more than 40 passengers to get off on the rail and walk to the platform. No injuries were reported.
Passengers were forced to open the automatic doors to escape the derailed train. They then had to go to Ori Station, 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles) from Jukjeon Station, by bus or taxi to take a different subway train to continue their journey, according to reports.
The accident caused headaches for area residents, as Jukjeon Station includes a large multiplex and a department store where hundreds of people visit on weekends.
Officials said the train was traveling at about 10 kilometers per hour (6.2 miles per hour) and was about 20 meters (66 feet) from the platform of Jukjeon Station when the rear wheels of the first car went off the tracks, derailing the next two cars.
The train resumed operations late Saturday, six hours after service was suspended.
The state-run Korea Railroad Corp. (Korail) is now founding itself under further pressure as both the KTX and the Bundang subway line are operated by the corporation.
Saturday’s derailment occurred just 10 days after the government and Korail announced new train safety measures and 70 days after a KTX train derailed at Gwangmyeong Station. The KTX derailment was only six days after a KTX-Sancheon train had to be switched with another train due to a motor block breakdown at Cheonan Station.
Korail officials said that they were still not sure what caused the subway derailment on Saturday and that “the results will not be known for several days as numerous inspections are required.”
An engineer surnamed Ji, who was operating the subway train, said yesterday, “When the train was approaching Jukjeon Station, its wheels derailed all of a sudden,” and he added that “I don’t exactly know what caused the accident.”
An official from the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs was also perplexed. “It’s very puzzling to encounter another accident while we were in the process of carrying out new safety measures,” said the official, who promised that “railway operations will stabilize starting in June.”
At a time when public fear lingers due to the frequent train accidents, Korail recently announced a plan to extend the maintenance cycle of its trains, which has drawn strong criticism.
According to Korail, it will extend the maintenance cycle from every 2,500 kilometers for subway cars to 3,500 kilometers starting next month. For its KTX trains, it has been examining the trains every 3,500 kilometers since last August but will extend the period to every 5,000 kilometers starting in July.
“Maybe Korail will learn their lesson when bigger accidents occur. They should take such frequent slight mishaps as a sign and take serious actions before something happens,” said Kim Han-taek, 34, who commutes on the Bundang subway line every day to work.
So far this year, train accidents and malfunctions have occurred more than 30 times.
By Yim Seung-hye, Chang Chung-hoon [firstname.lastname@example.org]
한글 관련 기사 [연합]
"코레일 왜이러나" 죽전역 탈선…승객 불편
23일 오후 수도권 전철 분당선 죽전역 부근에서 발생한 전동차 탈선 사고로 보정역~오리역 구간 운행이 중단되면서 승객들이 6시간 가까이 불편을 겪었다.
사고가 나자 죽전역 측은 개찰구에 안내문을 게시하고 승객 출입을 차단했으나 사고 소식을 모르고 찾아온 승객들은 어리둥절한 표정으로 발길을 돌려야 했다.
죽전역 측은 역장 명의 안내문을 통해 '열차 탈선사고로 인해 죽전-오리역 이용이 불가한 상태이다. 고객께서는 타 교통수단을 이용해 오리역까지 이용하시기 바란다'고 알렸다.
하지만, 공익요원들만 개찰구에 일렬로 배치해 출입을 통제하면서 승객들에게는 자세한 설명을 해주지 않아 불안감을 키웠다.
옥모(27.충북 오창)씨는 "친구를 만나러 왔다가 (분당선을 타고 성남버스터미널이 있는) 야탑역까지 가려고 했는데 어떻게 찾아갈지 난감하다"고 말했다.
죽전역 근처 아파트에 거주하는 대학생 이모(22)씨는 "버스가 오지 않아 오리역까지 걸어가야 한다"며 친구와 걸음을 재촉했다.
사고가 발생한 죽전역은 신세계 백화점과 이마트, 영화관과 연결되는 곳이어서 지하철을 이용하려던 일부 쇼핑객의 불편이 더했다.
성남에 거주하는 30대 주부는 "친구도 만나고 간단한 쇼핑도 할 겸해서 지하철을 타고 왔는데 어떻게 가야 하나요?"라며 취재진에게 되물었다.
40대 남성은 "KTX도 탈선하고 지하철도 탈선하고...철도공사(코레일)가 요즘 왜 그런지 모르겠다"며 불안감 섞인 불만을 표출했다.
전동차 운행중단으로 승객들은 1.7㎞ 정도 떨어진 오리역까지 버스나 택시로 이동해야 했지만, 마을버스 운행간격이 멀고 택시도 드물어 정류장에서 우왕좌왕하며 발을 굴렀다.
사고발생 5시간이 지난 오후 5시45분께 탈선 전동차를 궤도에 올려 보정역이 있는 분당차량기지로 옮기는 광경이 먼발치에서 목격됐으나 코레일 측은 사고현장을 공개하지 않았다.
분당선은 개통 당시 오리역이 출발역이었으나 2004년 11월 분당차량기지 안에 보정역이, 2007년 12월 오리역과 보정역 사이에 죽전역이 개통됐다.