A 12.8 km extension of Seoul’s fully automated Shinbundang Line (also known as the DX Line) opened on 30 January 2016. The line now reaches the cities of Yongin and Suwon.
This extension (phase 2 of the Shinbundang Line project) comprises six new stations, five of which are underground. Another intermediate station, Migeum, is due to open in October 2017.
The Shinbundang Line is a private-investment, driverless metro operated by NeoTrans. Phase 1 opened in October 2011, with 17.3 km connecting Gangnam in the south of Seoul with the neighbouring city of Seongnam.
The maximum operating speed on the line is 90km/h underground and 110km/h on the surface.
The most challenging aspects of the extension of the Shinbundang Line (SBL) were the test and commissioning of the integration of phases 1 and 2 while phase 1 was under revenue service.
Initially, in phase 1, NeoTrans did not have their own depot and used a depot of Korail, another metro operator. As part of phase 2, the SBL operator opened its own depot at Gwanggyo, where the new terminus is located. This new depot has been fully operational since April 2015 and is now used for light and heavy maintenance of the SBL trains.
Temporary on-board staff
The SBL operates with one Customer Service Officer (CSO) on board each train to assist passengers, and which is available in case of emergencies. Neotrans will retain these on-board CSOs for one year from the opening of phase 2 while the system achieves stabilisation.
Construction of the extension of the Shinbundang Line toward the heart of Seoul, which will be phase 3 of the SBL project, will begin this year and is planned to open in 2021. Another extension to the southern part of the line (phase 4) is under feasibility study.
Neotrans has also been nominated as the concessionaire to perform the operations and maintenance services for the Yongin LRT system (Everline), that was built and operated by Bombardier, staring in July this year.