King Jeongjo of the Joseon Dynasty is known to have traveled for two days, from Changdeokgung Palace to Hwaseong Haenggung Palace (46km) in Suwon, for the 60th birthday banquet of his mother Lady Hyegyeong. Nowadays, we can easily make it in an hour and a half by public transportation like subway. With the development of innovative transportation infrastructure, our lives have become more convenient and radius of life more improved. Among others, subways and railroads using tracks under the ground and on the ground, offer the biggest advantage of being free from traffic congestion that constantly changes depending on road conditions. Hyundai E&C has participated in 110 subway and railway projects at home and abroad, breaking the boundaries between regions and connecting people and people, from Seoul Subway Line 1, the first metro line in Korea, to Panama Metro Line 3, traversing the center of Panama in South America! Let us have a look at the railway-road journey traveled by Hyundai E&C during the past 50 years.
Hyundai E&C Since Birth of Korean Subway in 1974
The first subway system was introduced in Korea in 1974 (Seoul Subway Line 1). The Seoul Metropolitan Government had developed a plan to build a subway system, as the roads, the only transportation system at the time, were not enough to handle the rapidly increasing number of users. Hyundai E&C successfully completed the construction of Seoul Subway Line 1 Section 7(1974), the largest and most demanding project, and starting with this project, has participated in 13 projects on Seoul Subway Lines 1 to 9, including Seoul Subway Line 2 Section 1-6 (1980) and Subway Line 3 Section 327 (1984). Korea’s leading builder also helped build subways in major local cities. Hyundai E&C participated in the construction of subways in Gyeonggi, Daegu, Gwangju, and Busan, including Busan Subway Line 1 (1984), contributing to address urban traffic issues and lay the foundation for balanced regional development.
Railways, Leader in Long-Distance Travel! Project Allowing Great Journey All Over Korea
If subway is the mode of transport connecting the nearby areas, “railway” is a leading long-distance transportation means that connects every corner of Korea. It is said that the special express train Josoenhaebangjaho, which was introduced in 1946 after liberation from Japanese colonial rule, took 14 hours from Seoul to Busan, but nowadays, it takes only 2 hours and 40 minutes by KTX from Seoul Station. It was not until the opening of the Gyeongbu High-Speed Railway that it became possible to reach anywhere in the country in half a day. In the late 1980s, the government conceived the blueprint for the construction of the Gyeongbu High-Speed Railway, as traffic and logistics difficulties remained unsolved despite the expansion of highways. In this project, which began as a national project, Hyundai E&C stood out by leading six constructions including Section 2-2, Section 9-2, and Section 14-2. Starting with this project, Hyundai E&C has participated in various railway construction projects that connect the entire country into a single traffic network. A total of 64 projects crisscrossing the country, including the Honam region (Honam Express Railway, etc.), the Yeongnam region (Pohang-Samcheok Railway Construction, etc.), and the Gangwon region (Dodam-Yeongcheon Double-Track Railway Project), have been completed with Hyundai E&C’s technology and know-how.
Metro/Railway Built by Hyundai E&C Are Also Available Abroad?!
Hyundai E&C, after building up its expertise in Korea, has developed its presence in many other parts of the world since it first entered the overseas markets in the early 1980s. The company has won 14 projects in seven countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam, including but not limited to, Iraqi Kirkuk-Baiji-Haditha Railway Project, the first high-speed railway construction in Iraq in 1982. Currently, constructions of the Philippines’ North-South Commuter Railway’s Section 1 and Panama Metro Line 3 are underway.
Among them, Panama Metro Line 3, which was awarded to Hyundai E&C in 2020, is the largest infrastructure construction ever carried out by the company in Panama and is a significant project as it allowed for Hyundai E&C’s first-ever entry into the South American railway market. At that time, Hyundai E&C won the project valued at 2.5 billion dollars (3.3 trillion won at the time of order) in recognition of its experience in carrying out large-scale subway constructions at home and abroad, technical expertise, and ability to fully meet construction period. Currently, the progress rate of the site stands at 20% (scheduled for completion in August 2025), and the construction is progressing on track.