Rail upgrades will focus on earthquake resistance

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Rail upgrades will focus on earthquake resistance

The government plans to invest 7.3 trillion won ($6.8 billion) over the next five years to improve the nation’s rail infrastructure.

The plan, unveiled by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Thursday, includes building high-speed rail that can withstand stronger earthquakes. About 1.2 trillion won will be spent on enhancing rail safety in cases of natural disaster, including floods and earthquakes.

Fifty-seven billion won will be spent this year alone to upgrade outdated facilities in the Seoul and Busan subway.

Among the subway systems in Korea’s six major cities - Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangju, Incheon and Seoul - the capital received the lowest score on infrastructure. According to the government, 37 percent of system’s bridges and tunnels are more than 30 years old, and electrical facilities are at least 10 to 20 years old.

Part of the 1.2 trillion won budget on safety will go toward developing rail for KTX service that can withstand 6.3-magnitude earthquakes.

Current rails are resistant to 5.5-magnitude earthquakes, but after two 5.4-magnitude earthquakes struck the southeastern region of the country in 2016 and 2017, there have been growing concerns about the resilience of Korea’s rail infrastructure.

The government will also spend up to 1.5 trillion won to install the latest networking technology on trains.

Another 396.1 billion won will go toward installing convenience and accessibility features like elevators and noise prevention walls.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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