2 KTX trains break down in space of hours

SEOUL - A KTX train was brought to an abrupt halt inside a tunnel near Busan on Sunday, rekindling concerns over the accident-prone Korean high-speed rail system.

About 400 passengers were stranded for one hour due to the stoppage believed to have been caused by a defective motor system. Train services from Busan were delayed.

The incident occurred around 11:00 a.m. when the Seoul-bound train was passing through the Hwangak Tunnel in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, according to state-run railway operator KORAIL.

Operation resumed at 12:03 a.m. after an emergency team fixed the problem.

Passengers suffered from heat and anxiety in the 10-kilometer-long tunnel, the second-longest on KTX routes.

The train operator did not inform them fully of the situation and made no apology. It gave only a short notice that the train had been halted due to motor problems.

KORAIL said it would "look into the exact cause as soon as the train arrives at Seoul Station."

Five hours later, another Busan-to-Seoul train suffered from a breakdown in its air-conditioning system. After repairmen failed to fix it, about 800 passengers were transferred to other trains.

The KTX service has been dogged in recent months by a series of accidents caused by technical glitches.

On Friday, about 180 passengers on a KTX traveling from Seoul to the southeastern city of Masan were evacuated after a short circuit caused smoke in the back of the train.

In May, a malfunctioning brake system caused a train to make an emergency stop near Gimcheon.

In the most serious accident, a train derailed near Gwangmyeong Station, south of Seoul, in February, due to flawed maintenance.