Category Archives: News

New Sin Bundang “Tentative” Opening Date: Oct. 28

After a bout of floods in Seoul, the opening date of the Sin Bundang express subway line has been pushed back yet again, to October 28.  That’s a bummer because it’s a week after my birthday and I wanted to go party in Gangnam.

Apparently, the date is an optimistic estimate.  My guy who knows things says “it’s possible but things will need to go very smoothly until then.”

Even without the flooding, it looks like they’d be pushing back that September 21 date.  I’ve been by a few of the other stops on the line, including Gangnam, and noted that essential installations were still going on, specifically handicap-access elevators and sidewalks.  I snapped some pictures with my phone, some while riding the bus, so the quality’s lacking.

Gangnam Station

The new Gangnam station entrance for the Sin Bundang line. Note the absence of sidewalk.

And here’s the new Yangjae station. Still in its original wrapping.

Yangjae Sin Bundang

Yangjae Station looks much more ready for the opening date than Gangnam.

Daniel Daugherty


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More of Pangyo’s Trippy New Metro Station

Here are some more pictures from inside Pangyo’s new nightclub metro station.  Check the end of the post for the new line’s operating times.

Inside Pangyo Station

Who brought the glowsticks?

Too bad those harsh florescent lights will really kill your buzz.

Inside Pangyo Station

You gotta admit, it looks pretty cool.

Along with the new views, I’ve also learned that the line will run on the same daily hours as the rest of the Seoul Metro, 6 am. to 12:30 am.

As for my last Sin Bundang post, I’m still trying to find out about a new opening date.

–Daniel Daugherty

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Sin Bundang Line Set Back by Floods

What a difference two weeks makes.  That’s how long ago CNNGo confirmed the expected September starting date for the new Sin Bundang Line.  Then the flooding happened.

Now I have it on good authority from someone involved with the project that further delays are likely.

Right now they are still planning for a Sept 21 opening and that was possible 2 weeks ago. Now they have had 2 incidents in the last 2 weeks so that date may change. Right now there is still a meter of water at track level at Gangnam and there is a pile of electronics that are full of water (muddy water in some cases). Yangjae also has some wet electronics that has not been turned back on.
The trains on this line will be entirely computerized.  That’s right:  No drivers.  That means they’ll need extra testing to work out kinks and ensure public safety.

Very possible that this stuff will not work when it dries out and the opening date will be pushed back. There is the time it will take to replace this stuff and retest the new stuff and there is all the lost testing time while nothing is happening right now.

Basically, Bundang residents are probably gonna have to wait a little while longer to take this sweet ride into Gangnam.

To hold you over, here’s a picture taken from inside the new Pangyo station.

Pangyo Station Sign

A picture taken from inside the still-unopened Pangyo Station.

Ooh, shiny …

–Daniel Daugherty

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More Speculation on the Sin Bungang Line

Waaaaay out in Chuncheon today (Kim Yu Jeon Station, to be exact), I found this Seoul subway map on the trail platform. It had a curious addition missing from the maps I’ve seen in Bundang. You guessed it: The Sin Bundang Line! I’m just glad the residents in the deepest reaches of Northeast Seoul will find it useful.

sin bundang line

The purple-ish line running vertically from top to bottom is the future route of the Sin Bundang Line.

It may not be fully visible to readers, but the stops along the Sin Bundang Line had yet to be numbered when it was added to the map as a “future route.” However, some of you may recall that the new station exits in Jeongja are numbered D12, while the original station currently in use is K230.

As I wrote last week, I really want to know what’s up with the new station exits — are they for an entirely new station or will Jeongja Station be expanded in the future to connect both lines?

Also on the topic, reader Faith Walpole writes:

this is the gossip I have received about the new line; it will eventually go to ori and suwon. well the ppl in migeum are pissed and have been signing petitions to get it to stop at migeum (um do we need a definition of ‘express’) there was even a petition in my building! so now there is a big fight about it which has delayed the opening!

Faith’s information is corroborated by a student of mine, who told me she has seen angry signs around Migeum station.  I’ll have more on this in the near future.

As far as I can tell through research online, there are no formally announced plans to take the Sin Bundang line through Suwon, although the Yellow Line is planned to extend there and connect to Line 4.  Either the people circulating the petitions are sorely misinformed or they know something the rest of us don’t.  Either is possible.

I did find an entertaining thread over at Dave’s ESL Cafe on the topic.  Long story short: It’s just a lot of speculation and nobody knows anything unless they can read Korean.

About the map:  Apologies for the poor photo quality. It had been posted for so long that the colors faded. I had to pull them out by dialing up the contrast and saturation.

Daniel Daugherty

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Weekend Links: Pyeongchang Olympics News Roundup

My Korean news feed was aflame with Olympic-related headlines, some breathless, others full of bravado, some merely hopeful.  Here are three:

Reading the three articles critically, one learns that South Korea is still desperate to have a global brand identity.  Never mind that it already has one!

“In Europeans’ minds, Korea could be simply perceived as a country with a strong high-tech and information technology industry,” he said. “Coupled with the K-pop popularity in some countries there, Korea’s media exposure as a nation hosting the global winter sports event will help give Europeans a positive perception.”

Then again, any time your event risks being confused with the capital city of the world’s most corrupt regime, you need to step up the PR efforts:

A couple of U.S. reports, including USA Today, said that there were some cases where Pyeongchang was mistaken for the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in previous coverage, introducing the region as the candidate city for the Olympics.

To avoid confusion, MSNBC posted a new headline “Pyeongchang (no, not Pyongyang) wins 2018 Olympics” for the AP article on its website to distinguish between the two.

If I’m a marketer for Pyeongchang Olympic committee, I’d change the spelling immediately to something like “Pyeong-Chang,” to get that big C front and center to Western readers.

Of course, with any discussion of a major sporting event, someone always talks about how much money it will bring to the local economy.  I can’t believe the Chosun Ilbo reported its W64 trillion figure with a straight face (according to a Google search that’s $60.16 billion).  Of course, it’s easy to keep a straight face when you bury your lead:

In the 1998 Nagano Games, for instance, the organizing committee made US$28 million in profits, but the Japanese government ended up with $11 billion in debts.

I’m proud of Korea for landing this event and would love to attend.  I’m happy for the people of Pyeong-Chang, too.  But let’s get real.  The only billions newspapers should be talking about are public debts.

–Daniel Daugherty


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Speculating About the Sin Bundang Line

The new Exit 5 at Jeongja Station silently awaits foot traffic.

Speculation abounds regarding the Sin Bundang Line, a new express subway connecting Jeongja directly to Gangnam in Seoul.  Posters touting the new line brag that it will complete the trip in 17 minutes(!) but I originally heard much higher figures.  Either way, I’m sure the affluent residents of Pangyo will be pleased to finally have a station in their neighborhood.

Nobody really seems to know when it’s set to begin service, though.  The best I can find is an unattributed line at Wikipedia:  ” Construction started in mid-2005, for revenue start in Sep 2011.”  I’d previously heard December 2011, so this is exciting news.

Jeongja sign

Interesting that the station number is a different color from the Yellow used on Bundang Line stations.

My excitement reached even higher levels when I saw the new station entrances gaping open just a couple blocks north of Jeongja Station.  I’m confused though, because these entrances also say “Jeongja” on them and continue the entrance/exit numbering system where the others left off.

I thought it might be a whole other station, because in Jeongja Station there are currently no signs of expansion or construction.  Then again, maybe getting the line up and running is the first priority.  Connecting or expanding stations can be done later, I guess, but it does make me think that September is just wishful thinking.

Another reason for skepticism about September is that the subway maps don’t show even a dotted line to indicate a future route, the way they did for the new Incheon Airport connection and others.

And it looks like this project may be way behind schedule, which makes me think guessing a date is a waste of time. From’s Seoul Metro page:

The proposed Sin Bundang Line Rail Project is a 19.3km rail transit line running in a north-south direction linking the Gangnam area with Jeongja in the Bundang residential district. The proposed alignment passes through 6 stations, i.e. Gangnam, Yangjae, Poi, Cheonggye, Pangyo and Jeongja. It intersects with 2 existing lines at Gangnam and Yangjae. An existing Bundang Maintenance depot, owned by KNR and located approximately 1km south of Jeongja Station, is to be used for the SBL Project rolling stock maintenance. The SBL Line signal system shall be based on state-of-the-art communications-based train control (CBTC) technology, utilizing two-way digital inductive loop communications between intelligent trains, and wayside equipment, and a network of ATS/ATO computers designed for very high system reliability and availability. Construction starts in Mid-2005, for revenue start in Jan 2010. (Emphasis mine)

If you want to add to the speculation, or have more reliable information, we appreciate comments.

–Daniel Daugherty

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Pyeongchang Olympics!

Jen and I have been to Pyeongchang and we can verify that it’s a great place for holding the Winter Olympic games.  The views from its highest peak are breathtaking, awe-inspiring and vertigo-inducing.


A child slides down an ice slide carved into a hillside

A future competitor in the yet-to-be-added Ice Slide competition, set to replace the Slalom and Downhill events.

In the immortal words of radioman Harry Shearer:

The Olympics: It’s a movement! And everybody needs one, every day.

–Daniel Daugherty


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