KOREAN president, Mr Yoon Suk Yeol, officially opened the first section of the GTX-A express commuter line connecting Seoul and Gyeonggi Province on March 29 ahead of the start of full operations the following day.

The 38.5km section connects Suseo in southeastern Seoul to the growing area of Dongtan, located in Hwaseong City, with frequent express commuter services operating at up to 180km/h. Nearly 19,000 passengers used the service on its first day, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (Molit).

The majority of this section of the line shares tracks with the Super Rapid Train (SRT) high-speed line between Dongtan and Seongnam. The remaining 9km section runs in tunnel where work was completed by Korean National Railway (KNR) in late 2022.

While Suseo and Dongtan are already connected by the SRT high-speed line, these services are infrequent and require passengers to book tickets in advance. GTX-A trains are operating at 17-minute intervals at peak times and every 20 minutes at other times. The journey takes 20 minutes, which compares with 17 minutes on SRT.

GTX-A is also far more affordable with tickets costing Won 4450 ($US 3.29), between a standard Seoul Metro fare of Won 1400 and Won 7500 for SRT. From May, a new discount card will be introduced to make fares even cheaper for regular commuters.

Hyundai Rotem is supplying a fleet of 20 eight-car EMUs for GTX-A under a Won 345.2bn contract awarded in March 2020. The new trains feature passenger information screens, which display the train’s speed and occupancy levels for each car. Unlike standard metro cars, the GTX-A trains have wide single-leaf doors, and are pressure-sealed to reduce discomfort to passengers in tunnels.  

Seongnam is the sole intermediate stop on the first section and provides interchange with the Gyeonggang Line. A second intermediate station, Guseong, will open between Seongnam and Dongtan in June.

The remainder of GTX-A will be launched in phases, with a northern section from Unjeong in Paju City to Seoul station scheduled to open at the end of this year. The Seoul station - Suseo section will open in 2026, but trains will not stop at Samseong station until this major transport hub is completed in 2028.

Yoon has been a strong proponent of the new GTX lines, announcing plans earlier this year for several other GTX and regional high-speed lines at the groundbreaking for GTX-C. Work on GTX-B will also start later this year.

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