AREX

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AREX
Seoul Metro Arex Line.png
AREX EMU2000.jpg
Overview
Native name인천국제공항철도 (仁川國際空港鐵道)
Incheongukjegonghang-cheoldo
StatusOperational
OwnerKorea Rail Network Authority
TerminiIncheon International Airport Terminal 2 station
Seoul station
Stations14
Service
TypeRapid transit
SystemSeoul Metropolitan Subway
Operator(s)Airport Railroad Corporation[1]
Daily ridership182,343
History
OpenedPhase 1: March 23, 2007; 13 years ago (2007-03-23)
Phase 2: December 29, 2010; 9 years ago (2010-12-29)
Phase 3: September 2018; 2 years ago (2018-09)
Technical
Line length63.8 km (39.6 mi)[2][3]
Number of tracks2
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification25 kV/60 Hz AC catenary
Operating speed110 km/h (68 mph)
AREX
Hangul
Hanja
Revised RomanizationIncheon Gonghang Cheoldo, Eirekseu
McCune–ReischauerInchŏn gonghang chŏldo, Eireksŭ

AREX (Airport Railroad Express) is a South Korean commuter rail line that links Incheon International Airport with Seoul Station via Gimpo International Airport. The section between the two airports opened on March 23, 2007, the extension to Seoul Station opened December 29, 2010. Korea Train Express high speed trains started to use the line from June 30, 2014 and discontinued in March 2018 due to low ridership.

History[edit]

Phase 1[edit]

The line was initially announced in July 1998 as the Incheon International Airport Railroad (인천국제공항철도), abbreviated IREX (Incheon Airport Railroad Express) which can be seen on the railings of overhead crossings by the line.[4] The project was launched as South Korea's first build-operate-transfer (BOT) franchise.[4] The concession was won by a consortium of 11 Korean companies, which incorporated as the Incheon International Airport Railroad Company (Iiarco) in March 2001.[4] The original main shareholders were Hyundai (27%), POSCO (11.9%), Daelim (10%), Dongbu (10%) and the Korean National Railroad (9.9%).[4]

After significant delays, construction of the line started in 2001,[5] after the opening of Incheon Airport. About 60% of the line is underground, and reaches Incheon International Airport on Yeongjong Island via the lower deck of Yeongjong Bridge, a combined road-rail bridge.[4] Iiarco contracted project management, the supply of equipment and trains, altogether worth about 400 million, to Incheon Korean French Consortium (IKFC), a consortium including French company Alstom, its South Korean subsidiary Eukorail, and the South Korean rolling stock manufacturing company Rotem, which also supplied the technology for the KTX high-speed rail system.[4]

The line and the operating company was renamed AREX in June 2006. The first 37.6 km (23.4 mi) segment from Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 to Gimpo International Airport opened on March 23, 2007.[6]

In March 2009, Korail acquired an 88.8% share of the company.[7] Upon the acquisition, the operating company changed its name to Korail Airport Railroad as of November 30, 2009.

Phase 2[edit]

Phase 2 of the line runs from Gimpo International Airport to Seoul Station, which increased the length to 58 km (36 mi).[8] At Gimpo the line is underground, rising to the surface to cross the Han River on the Magok Railway Bridge before descending underground for the final time. This section was built in a cut and cover tunnel running parallel to Susaek and Gajwa before connecting with Hongik University and Gongdeok, then diving to terminate deep underground on the west side of Seoul Station. The second phase opened for regular service on December 29, 2010,[9] with the exception of Gongdeok station, which was planned to open around early 2011,[10] but was delayed to November 29, 2011.[11]

Phase 3[edit]

Phase 3 of the line was opened in September 2018. During phase 3 Magongnaru station was opened.

Further extensions and improvements[edit]

AREX 2000 series EMU at Yongyu Station in 2011, in use as temporary base station

The city of Incheon requested that AREX add three new stations at Cheongna International City, Yeongjong, and Yongyu. The stations were originally planned to open with the second phase of the line, but were delayed due to delays in the real estate development projects the stations were to serve.[12] Cheongna International City station, located west of Geomam was opened on June 21, 2014.[13][14] Yeongjong station, located near the eastern part of the airport island, opened on March 26, 2016. The station was constructed as a station shell with two side platforms only, but underwent a conversion to fit in two outer tracks on each platform to allow for bypass moves.

Earlier plans to link Yongsan station have been dropped. However, KTX service began to run from Yongsan Station to Incheon International Airport on June 30, 2014. These trains stop at two stations along the line: Geomam & Incheon International Airport.[15][16] In March 2018, KTX service to Incheon Airport was suspended due to low ridership.[17] The suspension became permanent in September 2018 as the line was officially abolished.[18][19]

On September 1, 2010, the South Korean government announced a strategic plan to reduce travel times from Seoul to 95% of the country to under 2 hours by 2020. As part of the plan, the AREX line is to be further upgraded to handle 230 km/h (143 mph) speed limits.[20]

Incheon International Airport opened Terminal 2 on January 18, 2018, though the AREX line was extended to the terminal's station 5 days earlier. This brings the whole line to a length of 63.8 km (39.6 mi).[21]

There is currently a proposal for Seoul Subway Line 9 to combine with the AREX line via a direct connection at the Gimpo International Airport Station starting in 2020, providing a through service from Incheon International Airport to the Gangnam area with a travel time of about one hour.[22]

Rolling stock[edit]

Interior of an AREX 2000 series EMU
Interior of an AREX 1000 series EMU

AREX operates two types of trains, one for commuter and one for express services, both supplied by Hyundai Rotem.[4] Three 1000 series express trains and nine 2000 series commuter trains were delivered for phase 1 of the project,[4][23] and original plans foresaw a doubling of their numbers for the second phase.[4]

Both trains are six-car electric multiple units, which can be expanded to eight cars in the future.[4] End cars and the fourth car are trailers, the second, third and fifth car are powered.[23] The trains have a design speed of 120 km/h (75 mph), but are operated at a maximum 110 km/h (68 mph) on surface tracks and a maximum 100 km/h (62 mph) in tunnels.[23] Each car has a length of 19.95 m (65.5 ft) and a width of 3.12 m (10.2 ft), with a carbody made of aluminum.[4] The commuter version has four pairs of sliding doors on each side of each car, the express version has two pairs of sliding doors on each side of each car.[23]

Express trains have 272 high-back forward and rear-facing seats with armrests[23] in a 2+2 configuration, as well as overhead luggage shelves,[24] additional luggage racks, an onboard restroom, and complimentary WiFi.[25][23] The transition between cars are separated by transparent sliding doors.[23]

Commuter trains are similar to regular metro trains with seats along the walls but do not have overhead shelves.[24] These are open gangway trains, with no separating doors between cars.[23] Commuter trains offer seating for 282 passengers and standing room for 630 passengers.[23]

Both train types offer disabled seats and are equipped with LCD screens for passenger information,[23] including flight arrivals and departures.[24]

Operation[edit]

Services[edit]

Ticketing gate, AREX Incheon International Airport station

Both Express and commuter "All Stop" services are operated. With the opening of the first phase, journeys from Incheon International Airport to Gimpo International Airport took 28 minutes on express services and 33 minutes on commuter services. Following the opening of the second phase, Seoul–Incheon International Airport travel time on half-hourly Express services is 43 minutes to Terminal 1. The All Stop service, which run at a frequency of up to one train every 6 minutes, take 53 minutes.[10] This compares with an average travel time of 70 minutes on buses and 60 minutes in taxis or private cars.[10]

Express train passengers boarding certain airlines can check in to their flights at the Seoul Station City Airport Terminal on the western side of Seoul Station,[24] which include facilities to check in and x-ray baggage, receive exit stamps from an onsite Korean Immigration Service officer, and permit expedited security screening once at Incheon.[26]

The AREX line is shown on Seoul subway maps as sky blue, often bisected with orange striping. AREX was originally not considered part of the subway network, but following the majority buyout by Korail, who operates many of Seoul's subway lines, the commuter line was fully integrated with the rest of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway system. There are now free transfers for all Seoul and Incheon metro lines it crosses paths with.

AREX Express trains[edit]

AREX-Express train stations and ticket windows are easily by their distinct orange colour scheme. AREX Express trains offer reserved 2+2 configured reclining seating, ample luggage storage, free WiFi, onboard service attendants and electronic entertainment screens. AREX Express passengers have access to connecting shuttle busses at Seoul Station to partner hotels, to a dedicated boarding lounge at Incheon Airport Terminal 1, and exclusive use of Seoul Station's City Airport Terminal when departing.[27]

Gimpo Airport[edit]

AREX-Express trains do not stop at Gimpo Airport. To access Gimpo Airport from both Seoul Station and Incheon Airport passengers need to travel on an All Stop train.[28]

KTX[edit]

The opening of the second phase in 2010 allowed passengers to connect directly from KTX to AREX services at Seoul Station, rather than requiring a subway connection at Gimpo. In November 2013, the AREX-Gyeongui Line direct connection was completed, and on June 30, 2014, KTX trains started full service on the AREX line to Incheon.[29][30][31][32] The expected travel time at construction was 2 hours 41 minutes to Busan and 3 hours to Gwangju, but as of 2015, actual travel times were roughly 3 hours to Gwangju and slightly over 3.5 to Busan.[33][34]

In late March 2018, KTX service to and from the airport was suspended because of low ridership[35] and the suspension became permanent in September 2018 as the line was officially abolished.[18][19] At the time of the 2018 Winter Olympics, the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport reported at 15% demand on weekdays.[17]

Fares[edit]

AREX Express ticket

After the opening of the first phase, in 2007, a ticket for a ride from Gimpo International Airport to Incheon International Airport cost 3,100, both on commuter and express services.[36] This fare increased in steps to ₩3,500 by the end of 2010,[37] then was reduced to ₩3,300 for commuter trains when the second phase opened.[38] The fare for express services, which travel the full Seoul–Incheon International Airport distance non-stop from the opening of the second phase in December 2010, was set at ₩13,300; while the fare for commuter services on the full distance was set at ₩3,700.[10] This competes against a price of around ₩10,000 on buses, ₩67,500 on taxis, and about ₩15,500 with private car.[10]

By 2018, the fares for the full length of the AREX line settled on ₩4,950 for commuter trains,[39] and ₩9,000 for Express service[40] and both require an additional ₩500 deposit if traveling by a single use card.

Note that vending machines for local trains accept Korean Won only.[41] Vending machines for Express train tickets take Korean Won and Korean credit cards. Passengers travelling with foreign credit cards should purchase tickets from manned ticket windows.[42]

Ridership[edit]

After the opening of the first phase, ridership has been far below expectations. Actual ridership in 2008 was around 16,000 passengers/day, or only around 7% of the forecast 230,000, necessitating subsidies of ₩166 billion.[43] Hyundai had originally forecast ridership of up to 490,000/day when the link to Seoul Station is completed.[43] However, ridership rose significantly after the start of service on the second phase of the line to Seoul Station. As early as the first week, average daily ridership more than doubled, from 27,210 to 58,000.[44]

As of September 2013, the regular train service has approximately 150,000 passengers per day, while the express sees only around 2,000 passengers.[45]

Stations[edit]

Station Stopping pattern Connecting services Distance Location
# Name
(Hangul, Hanja)
Commuter
일반
Express
직통
Station
(km)
Line
(km)
A01 Seoul station
(서울역, 首尔)[a]
Seoul Metro Line 1.svg Seoul Metro Line 4.svg Gyeongui–Jungang Line
Korail logo.svg Mugunghwa-ho and ITX-Saemaeul services
KTX logo.svg
- 0.0 Yongsan-gu Seoul
A02 Gongdeok
(공덕, 孔德)
Seoul Metro Line 5.svg Seoul Metro Line 6.svg Gyeongui–Jungang Line 3.3 3.3 Mapo-gu
A03 Hongik Univ.
(홍대입구, 弘大入口)
Seoul Metro Line 2.svg Gyeongui–Jungang Line 2.8 6.1
A04 Digital Media City
(디지털미디어시티, 数码媒体城)[a]
Seoul Metro Line 6.svg Gyeongui–Jungang Line 3.4 9.5 Eunpyeong-gu
A042 Magongnaru
(마곡나루, 麻谷渡口)
Seoul Metro Line 9.svg 8.6 18.1 Gangseo-gu
A05 Gimpo Int'l Airport
(김포공항, 金浦空港)
Seoul Metro Line 5.svg Seoul Metro Line 9.svg
 Gimpo Goldline 
 Seohae  (2021)
2.3 20.4
A06 Gyeyang
(계양, 桂陽)
Incheon Subway Line 1 6.6 27.0 Gyeyang-gu Incheon
A07 Geomam
(검암, 黔岩)
Incheon Subway Line 2 5.5 32.5 Seo-gu
A071 Cheongna Int'l City
(청라국제도시, 靑羅國際都市)
4.8 37.3
A072 Yeongjong
(영종, 永宗)
10.3 47.6 Jung-gu
A08 Unseo
(운서, 雲西)
3.5 51.1
A09 Incheon Int'l Airport Cargo Terminal
(공항화물청사, 空港貨物廳舍)
4.3 55.4
A10 Incheon Int'l Airport Terminal 1
(인천공항1터미널, 仁川機場1號航站楼)
 Maglev  2.6 58.0
A11 Incheon Int'l Airport Terminal 2
(인천공항2터미널,仁川機場2號航站楼)
5.8 63.8
A12 Yongyu
(용유, 龍遊)
No service  Maglev  3.7 61.7
View of the Terminal 1 station at Incheon International Airport.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Hanja name of these stations consists of the Hangul name suffixed by the character or in Hangul.
  1. ^ Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapld=62675645. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  2. ^ "Welcome to A'REX". Arex.or.kr. Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  3. ^ "[보도자료] 공항철도, 1월 13일에 인천공항2터미널역 개통" (in Korean). Korail Airport Railroad. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Knutton, Mike (May 2004). "Korea's first airport railway to open in 2007". International Railway Journal. Archived from the original on January 8, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  5. ^ Chris Jackson (May 1, 2007). "Seoul's airport rail link takes off". Railway Gazette International. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011.
  6. ^ "Incheon-Gimpo Airports Train to Open Friday". The Chosun Ilbo. March 21, 2007. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  7. ^ "수천억 적자 공항철도, 코레일서 인수" [Hundreds of billions of deficits acquired Airport Railroad, KORAIL]. Hani.co.kr (in Korean). March 30, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  8. ^ "South Korea to open airport railway next month". The Independent. November 8, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  9. ^ "To the airport in just 43 minutes". The Dong-a Ilbo. December 30, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Railway Linking Seoul Station and Incheon Airport Opens". The Chosun Ilbo. December 29, 2010. Archived from the original on January 1, 2011. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  11. ^ "Main Arex Webpage". KORAIL. Archived from the original (webpage) on September 30, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  12. ^ 공항철도 3개역 추가건설 연기 [Postponement of additional construction of 3 airport railway stations] (in Korean). The Dong-a Ilbo. July 2, 2009. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  13. ^ Chung, Sunny (June 21, 2014). "Airport Express Line's Cheongna Station Opens". TBS eFM News.
  14. ^ Tebay, Andy (September 11, 2012). "New Station to be added to Airport Railroad". Kojects. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  15. ^ "KTX begins service to Incheon airport". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016.
  16. ^ "KTX takes you from Seoul directly to Incheon Airport". Korea.net. January 17, 2013. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  17. ^ a b Medimorec, Nikola (June 10, 2018). "Incheon Airport KTX Service Suspended". Kojects. Retrieved July 9, 2018. In 2014, KORAIL began to offer KTX high-speed train connections from Incheon International Airport to Seoul, Daegu, Busan and other cities in Korea. The Incheon Airport KTX service was suspended now at the end of March 2018. The main reason was that the demand was too low and ridership stayed far below necessary numbers.
  18. ^ a b 박, 재균 (August 7, 2018). "9월부터 인천공항 KTX 노선 폐지" [Incheon Airport KTX route abolished from September]. FNToday (in Korean). Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  19. ^ a b 민, 경석 (August 7, 2018). "2014년 개통한 '인천공항 KTX' 폐지" ['Incheon Airport KTX', which opened in 2014, was abolished]. News1 (in Korean). Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  20. ^ "Bullet trains coming to a town near you by 2020". JoongAng Daily. September 2, 2010. Archived from the original on November 6, 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2010.
  21. ^ BLICKPUNKT STRASSENBAHN. February 2018. p. 135. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ Hyun-jeong, Lee (May 26, 2015). "Incheon airport subway links to be extended". The Korea Herald.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j 일반ㆍ직통열차 [General·Direct Train] (in Korean). AREX. Archived from the original on December 30, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  24. ^ a b c d "On opening day, airport express trip's a breeze". JoongAng Daily. December 30, 2010. Archived from the original on January 19, 2011. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  25. ^ "열차소개" [Express Train Introduction] (in Korean). AREX. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  26. ^ "도심공항터미널 이용개요" [City Airport Terminal Use Information] (in Korean). AREX. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  27. ^ "AREX Express | Seoul - Incheon Airport Train | Reviews, Photos & More". trainreview.com. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  28. ^ "AREX All Stop | Seoul - Incheon Airport Train | Reviews, Photos & More". trainreview.com. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  29. ^ "KTX trains now directly connect to Incheon Int'l Airport". Visitkorea - Official Korea Tourism Organization. Archived from the original on November 15, 2015.
  30. ^ "KTX begins service to Incheon airport". The Korea Herald. June 30, 2014.
  31. ^ "인천공항까지 KTX로 직행…환승없이 운행" [Directly to Incheon Airport by KTX... Operates without transfer] (in Korean). June 30, 2014.
  32. ^ "KTX 인천국제공항역 개통, 부산·광주~인천공항 KTX로 다닌다" [Opening of KTX Incheon International Airport Station, going to Busan Gwangju-Incheon Airport KTX] (in Korean). June 16, 2014.
  33. ^ "공항철도, KTX, 지하철 9호선과 직결 활성화 시킨다" [Directly connected to Airport Railroad, KTX, and Subway Line 9 to activate] (in Korean). The Korea Electric Times. September 30, 2010. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2010.
  34. ^ "Incheon Airport KTX Schedules". Kojects. June 27, 2015. Archived from the original on March 24, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  35. ^ "No KTX at Incheon Airport". TripAdvisor. 2018.[user-generated source]
  36. ^ "Fare". AREX. Archived from the original on June 25, 2007. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  37. ^ 코레일공항철도 운임100원 인상 [KORAIL Airport Railroad fare increase of 100 won] (in Korean). AREX. August 27, 2010. Archived from the original on July 22, 2011. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  38. ^ "Fare". AREX. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved December 30, 2010.
  39. ^ "일반열차 운임안내" (in kotrans-title=All Stop Train Information). AREX. Retrieved April 20, 2018.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  40. ^ "Express Train Fare Information". AREX. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  41. ^ "AREX All Stop | Seoul - Incheon Airport Train | Reviews, Photos & More". trainreview.com. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  42. ^ "AREX All Stop | Seoul - Incheon Airport Train | Reviews, Photos & More". trainreview.com. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  43. ^ a b "Opinion: Waste of Taxpayer Money". The Korea Times. September 10, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  44. ^ 서울역 ‘도심속 공항’ 탈바꿈 [Seoul Station transformed into a "city center airport"] (in Korean). Korail. January 13, 2011. Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
  45. ^ "Seoul Station is a hit for air travel". Korea JoongAng Daily. September 13, 2013. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016.

External links[edit]