The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Incheon Metropolitan City held an opening ceremony on 29 July, a day before Incheon Subway Line 2, the first fully automated metro line of the city launched operations.
Unlike Line 1, which was completed in 1999, Line 2 is a standard-gauge driverless light metro line and links the north of Incheon to the south and southeast of the city. It is 29.2 km and has 27 stations, 22 underground (23.1km), and 5 above ground (6.1km). Line 2 is operated by Incheon Transit Corporation, which also runs Line 1. L2’s construction began on $US 2bn project on June 2009, and according to the Incheon Urban Railroad Construction Headquarters, light metro technology was adopted for its reduced noise, lower energy consumption and capital cost-construction was estimated to be 20-35% less costly than building another conventional metro line.
A fleet of 37 two-car driverless Hyundai Rotem trains operates the services, each accommodating up to 278 passengers. The 34·4 m long AGT rubber-tired trainsets are based on those supplied for Busan-Gimhae Light Rail Transit and are similar to the Canada Line cars in Vancouver.
While there have been concerns about overcrowding and whether two-car trains will be sufficient to meet demand, station staff has been trained to manage crowding at busy times and it will be possible to extend trains to four cars if required in the future. Currently, all stations are long enough to fit four-car trains (two sets mated together). Due to the shorter trains, 460 services operate each weekday with trains running every three minutes at peak hour and every six minutes at other times.
Regarding signaling, the solution adopted is the same system as the Sinbundang Line and the Busan-Gimhae LRT: Thales Seltrac RF-CBTC. According to this Yonhap news segment, the safety of the driverless system has already been proven. 24 safety personnel will also be placed at stations along the network.