Korean KTX high-speed train halts May 15 due to brake system malfunction

CHILGOK - A high-speed KTX-Sancheon train from Seoul abruptly stopped Saturday in the southern part of the country for nearly an hour due to an apparent malfunction in its brake system, officials said.

The train came to an unscheduled halt at 3:13 pm near Gimcheon, some 234 kilometer south of Seoul, on its way to Masan on the south coast, the Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL) said. It resumed operations 52 minutes later after fixing the problem.

The incident caused no casualties, it said.

"The train automatically stops when the brake system malfunctions. We are looking into the exact cause of the problem," a KORAIL official said.

It was the latest in a series of incidents involving KTX trains. Earlier this week, KORAIL found cracks in one of its 19 locally-made high-speed trains and asked its maker, Hyundai Rotem Co., to recall it.

Korea Train Express (KTX)-II, or "KTX-Sancheon" was the first locally made high-speed train and can run at a speed of up to 300 kilometers per hour. KORAIL has been operating the 19 KTX-II trains since March 2010, but they have broken down a total of 41 times so far, according to the transportation ministry.

On Feb. 26, a KTX-Sancheon train encountered an engine problem after departing from the southeastern city of Daegu and arrived in Seoul 39 minutes behind schedule.

On Feb. 11, another KTX-Sancheon train derailed near Gwangmyeong Station, south of Seoul, due to a combination of human mistakes, including the loss of a nut in a device that controls track movement for trains.


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