KORAIL announced the successful implementation of a new remotely-controlled shunting system at Jecheon marshalling yard on March 31.

The new system allows operators to control locomotives remotely without a driver onboard. Korail says it adopted the new system to prevent accidents such as vehicle collisions and signalling errors that can occur through poor communication between drivers and other staff during train marshalling operations.

Around 10 representatives from the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport and the logistics sector observed the system in operation on its first day. Jecheon marshalling yard will now handle an average of 25 trains and 200 wagons a day, automating tasks such as coupling, uncoupling and moving freight trains.

Korail plans to gradually increase this workload while checking for possible improvements to safety and maintenance during operations. Prior to launching the new system, Korail revised its driving operational rules and conducted risk assessments to establish safety regulations and an operational structure. The company also plans to enhance work safety through monthly safety inspections and quarterly joint inspections.

To ensure safe operation of the remote shunting system and to ensure industry expertise, Korail will hire and train staff for the role of operator from candidates holding a train driving licence, with plans to deploy an additional 144 dedicated remote operators at freight yards and terminals across the country.

Starting this year, the new system will be introduced at other major freight locations including Daejeon marshalling yard, Obong and Suseak. Korail plans to expand the system to a total of 10 locations nationwide by 2024.

“The introduction of the remote shunting system brings us one step closer to achieving zero accidents in the workplace,” says Mr Kim Jin-tae, head of Korail’s Logistics Business Department. “We will continue to strive for safer on-site operations through ongoing inspections and improvements.”