Incheon’s new subway line riddled with errors

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Incheon’s new subway line riddled with errors

For the seventh time in just five days since Incheon launched a new subway line, a train malfunctioned, prompting some 30 passengers to make an emergency exit Wednesday morning.

A train on Incheon’s subway line No. 2 arrived at Incheon City Hall Station at around 5:55 a.m. but failed to stop exactly at the designated spot, disabling doors from opening.

Two to three minutes later, a passenger inside the vehicle pressed an emergency bell and forced open a door, through which all other passengers successfully passed and landed on the platform. No one was injured.

Incheon’s transportation authority said it has yet to identify the precise cause of the problem. The train was sent off to technicians for further investigation. The Incheon Transit Corporation said a safety agent was inside the train when the malfunction occurred, but was unable to settle the case before someone pressed the emergency bell.

All train rides were suspended until 6:15 a.m. Wednesday’s mishap in the country’s third-largest city came just five days after Incheon launched the new subway line last Saturday, linking 27 stations from Geomdan Industrial Complex to Unyeon-dong.

With some 2.3 trillion won ($2.06 billion) of construction fees from national and municipal coffers, the project was highlighted as being built with a state-of-the-art unmanned automatic system. But on its very first day of service, six malfunctions occurred, forcing trains to stop mid-way on every occasion. Power was cut off at one point. Signal systems also went awry and trains were failing to stop at their designated spots.

The Incheon Transit Corporation tried to quell public anxiety by saying that the problems were due to an “excessive number of passengers at a single time,” adding that they were all immediately fixed within the same day.

When trains were mobilized on the subway line for a test-run earlier this year, one vehicle rammed into another from behind. The Incheon Metropolitan Government said the trains were operated by humans at that time and that the engineer who caused the accident failed to look ahead and keep a proper safety distance.

BY CHOI MO-RAN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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