For immediate release:
(left)A bird’s eye view of the newly designed a bridge over Shincheon. (right) A trial run at dusk passes the Geumho river.
31 December, 2014, Daegu, Republic of Korea: Korea’s first urban railway monorail is slated to begin operation in Daegu in early 2015. The state of the art light rail system will function as the city’s third subway line. The new line boasts the world’s longest beam, brand new safety features and eco-friendly qualities while not detracting from the city’s natural beauty or the privacy of its citizens.
The innovative new line weaves through the city ten meters above street level. It not only transports citizens but also provides them with a new perspective of the city. In many regards, it will function as a mobile observatory taking advantage of the city’s basin-like topography.
It has already drawn the attention of many around the world. Engineers, civic planners and politicians from outside the country have come to marvel and learn from the rail system. During the Monorailex 2013 Conference and Trade Show, 300 experts from over fourteen countries came to Daegu to observe the new line and all left impressed.
On November 24th, Isobe Masahiko, the president of Japan’s Society of Engineers, visited the new line and noted, “Japan prides itself as an advanced country with regard to light rail but we don’t have this kind of excellent system with high safety levels and visual quality.”
The new line has done a remarkable job of addressing the apprehensions of Daegu citizens especially with regard to safety, privacy, the environment and the city’s beauty.
Safety was an initial concern of many when the system was first announced. Extensive safety testing, spiraled emergency chutes and an automatic fire extinguisher system have eased this anxiety.
Many raised objections to the system because of possible privacy intrusions. A special blurred glass system assures residents that travelers will not be peering in as the train moves by. The train’s special glass will automatically blur as it passes through residential areas.
Trepidation over the possible environmental impact of the train was quickly assuaged by a variety of features. Bike racks at every station will encourage more citizens to commute without cars. The addition of so many new stations in new parts of the city will also make rail travel possible for thousands of citizens for the first time. Early estimates project nearly a 7% increase in train usage due to the addition of a third line.
Unease regarding the impact the elevated line would have on the city’s aesthetic value has been greatly lessened. Stunning bridges span the Palgeocheon, Geumho, Shincheon and Beomeocheon have drawn high praise. It’s at these bridges that some of the best views can be had. Ap and Palgong mountains can be seen, special night lighting enjoyed and bird-strewn waterfronts taken in.
Five types of sky gardens will be on rooftops near the line. Water tank maintenance and sign repair work make the view from the third line more pleasing. Contests were held and citizens submitted designs for many of the track’s pillars. These citizen-designed beautification art pieces also contributed to its positive impact on the city’s scenery as well as the community’s role in the project.
Yong-mo Ahn, The chief of the Daegu Metropolitan Urban Railroad Construction Headquarters, likened the city’s situation to that of Busan’s Gwangan Bridge. Residents and restaurant owners opposed its construction for fear it would spoil the scenery. However, the opposite proved to be true and the bridge became a landmark actually sought out by tourists. Ahn hopes the same will be true in Daegu: “Daegu needs this kind of change and I’m sure that the third line will play the role successfully.”
Efforts thus far suggest the city’s third subway line is well on its way to becoming its most recognizable and certainly practical landmark. Daegu City will be organizing special tourism packages that take advantage of the new access and views granted by the new line. Even festivals will gravitate towards newly built stations to draw more visitors.
Trial runs commenced last April and some 3,000 citizens have ridden it with positive results. Safety and privacy concerns were further mitigated as a result of the successful trial runs.-END
Manager / Destination Branding Team
Director / Destination Branding Team