SOUTH KOREA: Due to open in 2010, the 18·5 km first stage of the fully-automated Sin Bundang line will connect the rapidly-growing residential areas around Bundang with the capital's metro and suburban rail networks

Construction work is well advanced in the southeastern suburbs of Seoul for the South Korean capital's first fully-automated metro line. The Sin Bundang Line will provide a second rail connection to the important residential suburbs around Bundang, which lies just outside the capital but within the greater Seoul metropolitan area.

Occupying the area of 16 farming communities, spread across the southern part of Songnam City in Gyeonggi province, Bundang was laid out in the 1990s as a planned city for 450 000 inhabitants, with a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability. Construction of the area is largely being managed by the state-owned Korea Land Corp, following a comprehensive master plan. The first phase of development occupied a 10 km strip along the Gyongbu Expressway, but the built-up area has been expanding since 1994 when the then Korean National Railways opened its Bundang suburban line.

The first section of the Bundang Line linked Seoul metro Line 3 at Suseo with Ori in the new city. A short extension from Ori south to Bojeong was added in 2004, with the new terminus located alongside the Korail depot. A further extension running south and west to Suwon on Line 1 is currently under construction. This will also connect at Giheung with the Ever-Line automated peoplemover. At the northern end, the Bundang line was extended from Suseo to Seolleong in September 2003, and a further 6·6 km to Wangsimri is scheduled for completion this year.

Public-private partnership

As Bundang continued to develop, a second rail route was required to serve the northwestern part of the new city; this was originally designated as Express Line B (MR04 p46). In 2005 a public-private partnership was established to build the route as an automated metro line, under a privately-financed concession lasting 30 years. Total cost of the new line is put at 1 169bn won, of which the private sector is contributing 607 9bn and the public sector the remaining 561 1bn.

Known as Sinbundang Railway Co, the PPP consortium is led by Doosan Construction & Engineering Co, part of the giant Doosan Group which acquired Daewoo Heavy Industries & Machinery in 2005. The other private partners include Daelim Industrial Co Ltd, Dongbu Corp, Kolon and Posco, whilst the public sector interest is represented by the Ministry of Land, Transport & Maritime Affairs. The line will be operated by Neo­Trans, a subsidiary of the consortium.

Work on the route, now known as the Sin (New) Bundang Line, began towards the end of 2005. The first phase starts from a connection with the Bundang Line at Jeongja, and will run north to Gangnam on Seoul metro Line 2. The route is largely underground, as are all six stations. Of the intermediate stations, the Line 3 interchange at Yangjae and the stations at Maehyeon and Cheonggye are located within the Seoul region, and Pangyo is in Gyeonggi.

The first phase of the Sin Bundang Line includes 18·5 km of revenue route and a 5 km connecting spur beyond Jeongja to KNR's Bundang Line depot where the trains will be maintained. As a second phase, a 10 km extension running north from Gangnam under the Han River and then west to Yongsan has also been proposed. This would add six more stations, and provide interchange with four more metro lines as well as Korail suburban trains and KTX high speed services.

The line is 1 435 mm gauge, and will be electrified at 25 kV 60 Hz. Maximum design speed is 120 km/h although the trains are expected to run at 110 km/h on the surface sections and 90 km/h underground. The stations are being fitted with platform screen doors to permit fully-automatic operation. Platforms will accommodate 10-car trains with a length of 200 m, although operations will start with six-car formations.

On June 28 2007 the consortium awarded a contract to Hyundai Rotem for the supply of 72 EMU cars, which will be formed into 12 six-car trainsets. The units have been designed for future expansion to eight or 10-car formations as traffic builds up. Bodyshells will be built from stainless steel, with electrically-operated plug doors. The cars will ride on air-sprung bolsterless bogies and be fitted with regenerative and pneumatic brakes. Each vehicle will have two 20 000 kcal/h air-conditioning units.

Hyundai Rotem expects to deliver the first trainset by August 1 2009, and the last by the end of February 2010, ready for the start of commercial services in July of that year.

CBTC automation

A second consortium formed by Hyun­dai Rotem with Daeati and Hyun­dai Elevator Co was awarded a framework contract for the signalling and communications systems in September 2007. Within this, Hyundai Rotem is responsible for the signalling and train control systems, Daeati for the Oper­ations Control Centre and related systems, and Hundai Elevator is supplying the platform screen doors.

In December 2007, Hyundai Rotem awarded a contract for the signalling and automation equipment to Thales Rail Signalling Solutions of Canada, which will supply its Seltrac IS radio-based CBTC technology. This integrates the interlocking and train control functions to provide a fully-automatic operating system which can be used in driverless or attended mode as required.

The deal marks the third contract for Seltrac in South Korea; in 2005-06 Thales supplied Seltrac LS for attended ATO on the Bundang line and it is currently providing the same equipment for the Busan - Kimhae light metro in the south of the country.

On the Sin Bundang Line, Thales will provide 24 sets of on-train equipment for the 12 EMUs and three more for the line's service locomotives. It is also supplying the ATO interfaces for the PSD equipment on 12 platforms, and controls for 32 turnouts on the main line. There will be a VOBC interface to the Specific Transmission Modules coming from other suppliers and provision for ATC operation when running to and from the depot.

The on-train equipment is configured to work in driverless or attended ATO modes, ATP manual or restricted manual at a maximum of 25 km/h. Minimum design headway is 100 sec, with 30 sec station stops, although revenue services will initially run at intervals ranging from 3 min at peak times to 8 min off-peak. End-to-end running time in revenue service will be 16 min, including 8 min for the 8·2 km trunk line section between Pangyo and Cheonggye stations.

  • Construction of the running tunnels is in progress on Section 3 between Chonggye and Pangyo.
  • Between Gangnam and Yangjae the line will run under the streets of Seoul.
  • From Pangyo the new line will run under the river to reach the interchange with Korail's Bundang line at Jeongja (inset).
  • Hyundai Rotem General Manager, Overseas Procurement Y S Kim and the Vice-President, Business Development, of Thales Rail Signalling Solutions Kevin Fitzgerald signed the signalling and train control contract in December 2007.