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AREX is a South Koreanmarker railway line that links Incheon International Airportmarker and Gimpo Airportmarker, with a future section extending to Seoul Stationmarker. The line is operated by the Airport Railroad Co. Ltd., whose largest shareholder is Korail (88.8%).


After significant delays, construction of the line started in 2001, after the opening of Incheon Airport. The first 37.6 km segment from Incheon Airport to Gimpo opened on March 23, 2007, with the remaining length of 20.4 km to Seoul Station scheduled to be operational in January 2010.

The line is being constructed by IKFC (Incheon Korean French Consortium), a consortium headed by Eukorail. Eukorail includes as partners the French company Alstom and the South Korean company ROTEM, and also built the KTX high-speed train line.

The line was initially announced in July 1998 as the Incheon International Airport Railroad (인천국제공항철도), abbreviated IREX, but was renamed in June 2006.

AREX's original main shareholders were Hyundai (27%), Daelim (18%) and POSCO (12%). However, in March 2009, Korail acquired a 88.8% share of the company.


AREX 2000 series EMU

Both express and commuter services are operated. Journeys from Incheon to Gimpo presently take 28/33 minutes on express and commuter services respectively, both currently costing ₩3,100. When the full line opens, Express services will operate with 30-to-60 minute headways, taking 45 minutes and a fare of 10,650 for the journey to the city, while commuter services (₩4,250) will operate at 5-to-30 minute intervals, taking 53 minutes.

The trains have a design speed of 120 km/h. Express trains have overhead shelves and comfortable seats similar to those in KTX high-speed trains. Commuter trains are similar to subway trains and do not have overhead shelves. The AREX line is shown in blue on Seoul subway maps, but was originally not considered part of the subway network. With the majority buyout by a company that operates many subway lines (Korail), however, this has changed. There are now free transfers for Line 5, Line 9, and Incheon Subway Line 1.

To date, ridership has been far below expectations. Actual ridership in 2008 was around 16,000 passengers/day, or only around 7% of the forecast 230,000, necessitating subsidies of ₩166 billion. Hyundai had originally forecast ridership of up to 490,000/day when the link to Seoul Station is completed. It is expected that ridership will increase with the opening of the rest of the line to Seoul Stationmarker in 2010, and with the 2011 direct connection of trains on Line 9 for through-service from Incheon Airport to Gangnam in about an hour's journey.


View of the station at Incheon International Airport.
ticketing gate, AREX Incheon International Airport station
Number Name Korean Commuter
Connecting lines
in Seoulmarker
A01 Seoul Stationmarker (future) 서울역 O O Line 1, Line 4, KTX
A02 Gongdeok (future) 공덕 O | Line 5, Line 6, Gyeongui Line (under construction)
A03 Hongik Universitymarker (future) 홍대입구 O | Line 2, Gyeongui Line (under construction)
A04 Digital Media City (future) 디지털미디어시티 O | Line 6, Gyeongui Line
A05 Gimpo Airportmarker 김포공항 O O Line 5, Line 9
in Incheonmarker
A06 Gyeyangmarker 계양 O | Incheon Subway Line 1
A07 Geomam 검암 O | Incheon Subway Line 2 (under construction)
Cheongna (planned) 청라 O |
Yeongjong (planned) 영종 O |
A08 Unseo 운서 O |  
A09 Incheon Int'l Airport Cargo Terminal 공항화물청사 O |  
A10 Incheon International Airportmarker 인천국제공항 O O  
Yongyu (planned) 용유 O

Earlier plans to link Yongsan Stationmarker have been dropped. There are plans to offer through services from AREX connecting onto Seoul Subway Line 9 at Gimpo Airport Stationmarker, and continuing on to the Gangnam area.

Phase 2 construction

Phase 2 of the line from Gimpo Airport Stationmarker to Seoul Stationmarker is due for completion in 2010. At Gimpo airport the line is deep in tunnel, it heads north east and rises to the surface to cross the Han Rivermarker on a new bridge. The line curves to the east and descends into tunnel to go below Susaek bridge. The line is being built in a cut and cover tunnel running parallel to mainline railway to Susaek Station. From Susaek to Gajwa railway station there is a short section being constructed using the "Tubular Roof and Trench Tunnelling method". From Gajwa there is another short section not in cut and cover before the open trench reappears. The trench follows the line of the previously existing Yongsan railway line traces of which can still be found at a couple of the roads that cross the work sites. Near Hongik University there is more major excavation for the new station which will connect with Seoul Subway Line 2. The trench continues to Gongdeok-dong where there will be another station. The line then continues in bored tunnel under the hill to come out on the west side of Seoul Station. With the completion of phase two, it is anticipated to see increase in passengers (over its current low numbers) by facilitating KTX-International Flight connections.

Further extension

The city of Incheon has requested that AREX add three new stations, tentatively named Cheongna, Yongyu, and Yeongjong. Cheongna station, located on the mainland near the coast west of Gyeyang, will open in 2012. Yeongjong is located near the eastern part of the airport island, and Yongyu is located west of the airport, near the western beach of the island. These two stations are scheduled to be opened in 2014.


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