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(LEAD) KTX Gangneung line resumes operations 2 days after derailment accident

All Headlines 10:57 December 10, 2018

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS more details throughout, photo)

GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Dec. 10 (Yonhap) -- A KTX bullet train service linking Seoul and the eastern city of Gangneung resumed operations Monday, two days after a derailment accident, its operator said.

The Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL) said that the first train, carrying around 100 passengers, departed Gangneung, about 240 kilometers east of Seoul, at 5:30 a.m., followed by another train heading to a Seoul station at 5:32 a.m.

The normalization comes after a KTX train with 198 passengers that left for Seoul early Saturday morning derailed five minutes after leaving Gangneung Station. The incident injured 16 people aboard with no fatalities.

After the accident, around 300 repair personnel and two large cranes were mobilized to remove the locomotive and passenger cars that broke apart from the derailment.

A joint team of transport ministry and KORAIL officials has tentatively concluded after investigating the site that an error in the railroad switch system that controls the tracks likely caused the derailment.

Police in charge of train-related affairs have launched an internal investigation into the exact cause of the accident, officials said.

Land Minister Kim Hyun-mee apologized Sunday over the accident, vowing to find out the exact cause of the derailment via a thorough probe.

The derailment is the first major accident on the line connecting South Korea's capital city and Gangneung. It opened Dec. 22, 2017, ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics held in February 2018.

The train link allows passengers to travel from Seoul to Gangneung in around 1 1/2 hours, whereas it takes three hours by bus.

This photo, taken Dec. 10, 2018, shows a Seoul-bound KTX bullet train entering the platform at Gangneung Station in the eastern city of the same name as operations are resumed two days after a derailment accident. (Yonhap)


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