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  • Seoul replaces old subway trains with new ones by 2025

  • SMG 37
    • Seoul to spend 1.8 trillion won in order to replace a total of 1,304 subway trains aged 25 years and more with new ones
    • The project to replace subway train has been carried out since 2014 by stage
    • The new cars to be equipped with a double safety device and air quality improvement system, with a wider seating and passageway

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, July 26, 2019 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Seoul Metro announced that they will replace all old subway trains on lines 4, 5, 7, and 8 with safer and more pleasant ones by 2025. The new trains will be equipped with a double safety device and air quality improvement system, with a wider seating and passageway.

    The total number of subway cars to be changed will be 1,304. Especially, trains on line 4 (470) and line 5 (608) will be entirely replaced, and a total of 226 trains on line 7 (136) and line 8 (90) that have been determined to require replacement as a result of a safety diagnosis will be changed. The trains on line 4, the oldest ones among them, will be replaced firstly.

    The average years of use of subway trains on lines 1 through 8 is 19.2 years. However, that of trains on line 4 is 25.2 years; that of line 5 is 23.3 years; and that of line 8 is 22.3 years. Especially trains on line 4 were introduced between 1993 and 1995, which makes them easily breakdown. According to an investigation in 2018 on the causes of failure of over 20-year-old subway trains, 52.8 percent of the breakdown was because of the trains’ oldness. 54.3 percent (1,929) of trains on lines 1 through 8 (3,551 in total) are older than 20 years.

    < Years of use of subway trains on lines 1 through 8 >

    Years of use of subway trains on lines 1 through 8
    Category Total 25~30 yrs. 20~24 yrs. 19~16 yrs. 15~11 yrs. 10~6 yrs. Less than 5 yrs.
    Total 3,551 892 1,037 692 334 388 208
    % 54.3% 19.5% 9.4% 10.9% 5.9%

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to spend a total of 1.8 trillion won (US$ 1,523 million) to replace the old trains and set aside 172.4 billion won (US$ 146 million) for the next year’s budget. (Seoul Metropolitan Government 50%, Seoul Metro 50%).

    The trains to be replaced this time will be equipped with various safety-enhancing devices, including a double collision energy absorption device (25 km/h crash safety standard applied) and an uninterrupted information broadcasting system in case of emergency. Four high-definition CCTVs are installed in the train to better prevent crimes. Thanks to the uninterruptible power supply system, train lighting and crew information broadcasts are available for one hour. Other state-of-the-art technologies include braking energy recycling system, inverter control system, electronic-intensive modularization controls, and operational information transmission systems.

    The biggest feature of the recently replaced trains on subway line 2 is that they are free from fine dust. Since more than four air quality purifiers are installed per train and eco-friendly interior materials are used, the concentration of PM10 inside the train is reduced by more than 8 percent.

    The width of the passage in the train has nearly doubled (750→1,200 mm), and the number of aisle doors has been reduced to three from the previous 18. And the size of seats was also expanded.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government has carried out the project to replace subway trains since 2014 by stage.

    At the first stage of the project, the plan to replace old subway trains including the modernization of the ATO signal system on line 2, 3, 5, and 7 was made as part of the 10 tasks to improve the subway operation system in 2014. Accordingly, new 200 subway trains have been introduced on line 2 since December 2018, and another 100 new ones will be added by the end of this year. The remaining 114 trains will be done by the second half of 2020. Now, 196 trains are being newly manufactured for subway lines 2 and 3.

    As the second stage, the city government established the additional replacement plan for subway lines 4, 5, 7, and 8 in order to replace old trains as soon as possible.

    When the second stage of the project is completed, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will review whether subway trains on lines 1 and 6 will be replaced or repaired after a safety inspection. For trains on line 1, a total of 60 trains completed the entire repair in 2015, while ones on line 6 has not yet reached its working endurance term.