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New Rail Section to Cut Travel Time to Incheon Airport

Posted November. 04, 2010 10:22,   


Travel between Seoul Station and Incheon International Airport will get faster and more convenient, with express trains traveling the distance in 43 minutes and regular trains in 53 minutes.

Travelers can also conveniently check in their luggage at Seoul Station before heading to the airport.

The Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs Ministry said Wednesday, “The Phase 2 section (20.4-kilometer section linking Seoul Station and the airport) of the Korail Airport Railroad will be opened on Dec. 29 following the Phase 1 section (37.6-kilometer section linking Gimpo and Incheon airports) that opened earlier.”

The entire section of the airport railroad is thus nearing completion 10 years after the project began in April 2001. A traveler can ride a KTX bullet train from Daejeon and arrive at Seoul Station (53-58 minutes), then reach the Incheon airport via the airport rail in 43 minutes.

This means a combined travel time from Daejeon to Incheon airport of one hour, 35 minutes.

A city airport terminal will be installed on the second floor of Seoul Station to handle the issuance of boarding passes and luggage check-in. The boarding process and luggage check-in can be done directly at the station, allowing air passengers to comfortably travel to the airport.

Checked luggage will be loaded onto freight cars of express trains and taken to the airport before being loaded on airplanes, thus creating a de facto airport terminal in the city center. Travelers, however, must undergo departure processing at the airport, including body screening to check for explosives and passport inspection.

The travel time of regular trains stopping at all stations between Seoul Station and the Incheon airport will be 53 minutes for a fare of 5,300 won (4.79 U.S. dollars). That of express trains will be 43 minutes for a fare of 13,300 won (12 dollars).

A ministry official said, “The reason for the price being more than double just for a 10-minute difference in travel time is that normal trains consist primarily of cars designed for standing, while express trains come with designated seats.”

Normal trains run at an interval of six minutes between Seoul Station and Geomam Station in Incheon, while they will run at a 12-minute interval between Geomam and Incheon airport. The express trains will run at a 30-minute interval.

The ministry is consulting with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Gyeonggi Province on discounts for transfers in the Seoul metropolitan region to the Seoul-Geomam Station section.

Started in 2001, the Korail Airport Railroad project opened the Phase 1 section in March 2007. The number of travelers using the rail, however, is just an average of 28,000 per day. With the launch of the Phase 2 section, the number is expected to skyrocket to around 100,000 per day.

The ministry also plans to enable travelers to use the airport railway at Yongsan Station.