Newly revamped Suin Line to reopen Saturday

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Newly revamped Suin Line to reopen Saturday


Railroad tracks that had gone unused over the past four decades came back to life Wednesday morning, when a subway train pulled into the platform at Songdo Station on the Suin Line in Yeonsu District, Incheon, for the first time in 43 years.

The Incheon Metropolitan City Government announced Thursday that a 7.3-kilometer section of the Suin Line, from Songdo Station to Incheon Station, will open on Saturday. Composed of six cars, the subway will run every 15 minutes, except during rush hours, when it will run every 10 minutes.

The Suin Line commenced operations in September 1937, during Japan’s occupation of Korea. Japanese authorities at the time used the line to transport rice from Icheon and Yeoju, Gyeonggi, and salt from the Sorae and Namdong regions of Incheon before shipping them off to Japan.

The tracks were actively used after Korea’s independence and into 1960: A steam locomotive composed of six passenger cars and seven freight cars stopped at 15 stations seven times a day. But with the upturn in public transportation services, including buses, the Suin Line’s traffic slowly dwindled, until its stations closed down one by one from the 1970s.


The steam locomotive at the time was nicknamed the “kiddy train” for its 76.2-centimeter-wide (30-inch-wide) narrow-gauge railway - passengers’ knees touched when they sat across from one another on benches lined parallel to the windows.

“I remember the train was so narrow, I thought it would be derailed when it collided with a small bus in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi, in 1990,” recalled Jo Woo-seong, the curator of the Incheon Metropolitan City Museum.

The opening of the Suin Line’s new section follows the commencement of operations on the 13.2-kilometer section between Oido Station and Songdo Station in June 2012.

Another section of the subway line, from Hanyang University at Ansan Station to Suwon Station, at 19.9 kilometers, is under construction. With its conclusion, expected around late 2017, the original tracks of the kiddy train will be restored in their complete form.

Construction costs for the complete Suin Line amounts to 1.89 trillion won ($1.52 billion). Twice as wide as before, its tracks are all underground. With double tracks, the subway travels at 120 kilometers per hour, and travelers can reach Incheon Station from Songdo Station in 10 minutes. By car, the same distance typically takes about 30 minutes.

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