OWL Magazine Korea

Incheon, Birthplace of Korean Railways – “Incheon Station”

Incheon Station is the starting point of Subway Line 1. Serving as both the terminal station for the Seoul Metropolitan Subway Line 1 and the Suin-Bundang Line, it is a significant transfer station.

With its roots traced back to the initiation of the Korean railway system, Incheon Station commenced operations on September 18, 1899, in conjunction with the opening of the Gyeongui Line. It stands as one of the first eight railway stations in Korea.

When you visit Incheon Station, you can truly sense its history. Despite being a bit smaller than modern subway stations, it exudes an old-fashioned charm, providing a unique atmosphere.

In front of Incheon Station, there is a commemorative monument called “Birthplace of Korean Railways.” The official introduction from the Korea Railroad Corporation reads:

“A panoramic view of history encapsulated in the station (驛舍) and history (歷史).”

Incheon Station commenced its operation on September 18, 1899, concurrently with the opening of the Gyeongin Line section. The building, constructed in May 1900, is a single-story mud-brick structure with a zinc plate sloping roof, covering an area of approximately 300 square meters. In 1896, the Korean government granted the railway concession to J.R. Morse, an American, with the condition of preserving the Gyeongin Railway concession to protect it from the Japanese. Due to financial issues, the concession eventually transferred to the Japanese Gyeongin Railway Association, leading to its completion under Japanese rule. Incheon Station, the birthplace of the Korean railway, suffered a loss of history during the Korean War, temporarily using a makeshift station. The current station, as we know it, was completed on September 17, 1960.

— Korea Railroad Corporation Official Introduction

Incheon Station is conveniently located near Chinatown, visible from the opposite side. While it was formerly referred to as “Incheon Station (Chinatown),” this additional designation has ceased due to contract expiration, and it is now simply known as “Incheon Station.”

Surrounded by attractions like Chinatown, Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village to the north, and Open Port Street to the east, Incheon Station is an excellent hub for travelers exploring Incheon’s urban center.

Incheon Station carries a distinct atmosphere reminiscent of a makeshift station. Its historical significance lies in being the oldest terminal station among all railway stations in South Korea. Serving as the terminal station for both the first railway in Korea, the Gyeongin Line, and the first line of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, Line 1, it also marks the terminus for the Suin-Bundang Line.

The history of Subway Line 1 dates back to 1960 when the building constructed in that era, featuring the Dove and Unification emblems, is still in use today. This preservation of an informal station atmosphere might be intentional, reflecting its historical and cultural value.

“Filming Location of My Sassy Girl”

Notably, Incheon Station served as a filming location for the movie “My Sassy Girl,” where Cha Tae-hyun, under the influence of alcohol, boards an electric train. Released in 2001, the film allows viewers to appreciate the old appearance of Incheon Station. However, the station’s current appearance might not differ significantly, whether seen in the movie or in person.

As a site preserving the history of South Korea’s railways, Incheon Station stands alongside attractions like Chinatown, Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village, and Open Port Street, making it a significant landmark in Incheon’s history.

Incheon, Incheon Station

  • Address: 269 Jemullyang-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon
  • Phone: 032-772-0784
  • Lost and Found Center Phone: 1544-7788