PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: The High-Speed Rail (HSR) line linking Singapore and Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur (KL) is expected to start operations around 2026. This was announced at a joint press conference on Tuesday (July 19) after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the neighbouring countries.
The signing ceremony, witnessed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak, comes ahead of a legally binding bilateral agreement that will be inked by the end of this year.
Construction of the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail is scheduled to take place from 2018 to 2025, followed by testing, commissioning and finally kickoff for the revenue service a year later.
The KL-Singapore HSR line will run for 350km, with 335km in Malaysia and 15km in Singapore, and on two tracks going in opposite directions. It will comprise eight stops in total: Singapore, Iskandar Puteri, Batu Pahat, Muar, Ayer Keroh, Seremban, Putrajaya and KL.
Existing train services take up to 11 hours to journey between Singapore and KL. However, with the line able to reach top speeds of 300km/h, travel time between KL and Singapore is expected to drop to around 90 minutes – excluding clearance at customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ). There are, however, plans to co-locate CIQ checkpoints at Singapore, KL and Iskandar Puteri to facilitate “seamless travel”.
This means, for instance, that at the Jurong East terminus, one would be able to clear Singaporean immigration and a few steps later, Malaysian immigration before boarding the train, reaching KL and stepping out into the city centre itself.
Travel time for the KL-Singapore HSR between Singapore and Iskandar Puteri in Johor Bahru is expected to take around 10 to 15 minutes.
Both governments agreed that each will take responsibility for developing, constructing and maintaining civil infrastructure and stations within their own countries – MyHSR Corporation for Malaysia and the Land Transport Authority for Singapore.
It was also announced that two train operating companies will be appointed to run the KL-Singapore HSR service. An international operator will handle the express service between the Singapore terminus at Jurong East and the KL end at the upcoming Bandar Malaysia development. The same operator will also oversee a cross-border shuttle service between Singapore and Iskandar Puteri.
Another operator will run the domestic service within Malaysia. The express service will have scheduling and operational priority over a domestic line servicing the six stops in Malaysia between Singapore and KL.
The KL-Singapore HSR trains are expected to be 10 cars long, with the capacity for up to 100 passengers per car.
Fare will be set commercially by the operators and “competitive with airfares”, said Singapore authorities.
A separate private entity will design, build, finance and maintain the trains as well as rail assets, like trackwork, communications, signalling and power. It will also allocate and control track access. Depots and maintenance facilities will be located in Malaysia. Both governments have agreed to each take responsibility for developing, constructing and maintaining the civil infrastructure – such as tunnels – within their own countries.
The Singapore and Malaysian governments will build and fund infrastructure works such as viaducts, tunnels and stations within their territories. Both governments also agreed to form a bilateral committee comprising representatives from both sides to manage and regulate aspects of the project which might impact the cross-border services. Both governments will have to make a joint decision on questions such as how the tenders will be called, the sequence of calling tenders, what each package will comprise, and how the tenders will be evaluated.
In a separate statement, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority said that within the next month, it will call an advance engineering study tender for consultants to carry out engineering studies for the Singapore stretch of the High Speed Rail, which will terminate in Jurong East.
This study will include looking at the alignment of the rail link, the architectural and engineering design of the terminus station, noise and vibration issues, and the preparation of tender documents for the project’s construction phase. The study is expected to start by the first quarter of 2017 and will take about 18 to 24 months to complete.
It is understood that, following advance works, construction of the High Speed Rail line may begin in 2018.
Source: Channel News Asia