The South Korean government on Friday announced a set of measures aimed at improving the safety of its high-speed KTX train service following a recent series of accidents that caused disruptions to services but no casualties.
The transportation ministry said it will conduct a special inspection on all KTX trains currently in operation as a malfunctioning of parts has been blamed for the recent accidents.
Just this week, a KTX train abruptly stopped inside a tunnel and remained stationary for an hour while on its way to Seoul from the southern port city of Busan.
The Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL), the state-run operator of the high-speed train services, later identified the train's malfunctioning motor as the cause of the accident on Sunday. There have been 10 other accidents and service disruptions involving KTX trains this year alone.
South Korea began its high-speed train service in 2004 with trains built by France's TGV but has since been building its own trains, called KTX-2 or KTX-Sancheon. Most of the recent technical problems were found in the locally built trains.
"Especially regarding the accident over the weekend, the ministry instructed KORAIL to conduct inspections on all KTX trains and replace all parts that caused the recent accidents (motorblocks, inverters) at the earliest date possible," it said in a press release.
To ensure better maintenance of trains, the ministry also decided to establish what it called a "maintenance steering group" and also step up its inspection of maintenance service contractors, it said.
The ministry's special measures also come as the Board of Audit and Inspection, the country's state auditor, is expected to launch a probe into recent disruptions in the KTX service. (Yonhap)