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(LEAD) High-speed train halted for hour inside tunnel

All Headlines 14:51 July 17, 2011

(ATTN: UPDATES with resumption of operation, more details, quote by passengers in paras 3-7; CORRECTS name of tunnel to "Hwangak" in 2nd para)

GIMCHEON, South Korea, July 17 (Yonhap) -- A high-speed train traveling from the southeastern port city of Busan stopped abruptly inside a tunnel on its way to Seoul on Sunday, the latest incident in a series of technical problems for the bullet train, its operator said.

The KTX train remained stationary for about an hour from around 11 a.m. inside Hwangak Tunnel in Gimcheon, about 234 kilometers southeast of Seoul, before resuming service, Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL) said.

The train resumed operations minutes after noon following emergency repairs to a malfunctioning motor, which was largely suspected to be cause of the stoppage.

About 400 passengers aboard the train endured stifling heat for the hour their train was stranded inside the tunnel.

"I was stuck inside the tunnel for more than an hour, but all I heard was an announcement that the train came to a stop because of a motor problem," one of the passengers said.

The accident disrupted Seoul-bound railway traffic for that hour.

KORAIL said it will investigate the exact cause of the stoppage upon the train's arrival in Seoul.

KTX trains, in particular the model developed with homegrown South Korean technology, have faced numerous technical flaws in recent months.

In May, one such train stopped abruptly near Gimcheon due to an apparent malfunction in its brake system. Another KTX train derailed near Gwangmyeong Station, south of Seoul, in February due to a combination of human mistakes, including the loss of a nut in a device that controls track movement.

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