A groundbreaking ceremony was held at Wirye Central Plaza on April 13 for the Wirye Line, which will pass through Seoul, Seongnam and Hanam, following final approval of the project in November last year.

Scheduled to open in 2025, the 5.4km Wirye Line is expected to alleviate traffic congestion in the three cities, which will work closely together on the project, with Seoul set to take the lead due to its extensive experience of urban railway construction.

The ceremony was attended by the mayors of the three cities that the line will pass through and delegates from government and local authorities.

The Wirye Line will have 12 stations, including three interchanges with the metro network. Starting at Macheon station on metro Line 5 in Songpa-gu, the line crosses Jangji Stream, passes through Wirye Transit Mall and Wirye Central Plaza, and follows the Changgok stream to reach Bokjeong station on Line 8.

A branch will also connect Changgok Stream to Nam Wirye station on metro Line 8. Two bridges will be designed to blend in with the surrounding waterfront area. Stop 107 near Wirye Central Plaza is expected to provide interchange with the planned Wirye - Sinsa metro line, connecting Wirye New City and Sinsa station in Seoul.

The line will be operated with a fleet of five-section low-floor battery LRVs with capacity for 260 passengers each.

The three cities previously signed a business agreement with related agencies in May 2019 to take forward construction of the line as public project. Other agencies involved include the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (Molit), Gyeonggi Province, Korea Land and Housing Corporation and Seoul Housing and Communities Corporation.

For the first time in Seoul, Building Information Modelling (BIM) will be used throughout the entire project including design, construction, and maintenance, while 10 advanced safety technologies such as smart integrated control systems and CCTV control systems will also be introduced to ensure safety.

A cable-style bridge will be built over the Jangji stream, together with pedestrian walkways and a central lookout for the public to enjoy views of the waterfront area.

Opening of the new line will mark the return of LRVs to Korea 57 years after they ceased operation. Trams were first introduced to Korea in 1899, with the first 8km line running from Seodaemun to Jongno, Dongdaemun, and Cheongnyangni. This service operated for nearly 70 years before being removed in 1968 due to the increase in road traffic.

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