HSR Update: Mixed views on KL-Singapore rail link

TRANSIT took note of this article updating the KL-Singapore HSR link.

Mixed views on KL-Singapore rail link (Star Biz)
10 March 2011

By SHARIDAN M. ALI
sharidan@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: The proposed Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail link has gained support owing to its potential to boost growth and [but?] there are also concern[s] the project could burden the Government with financially.

A transport consultant has come out in support of the proposed high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore saying such a service would be a boost to growth ambitions of Malaysia.

But others cautioned about the cost of such a project on government finances, pointing out that the mass rapid transit (MRT) project for Greater Kuala Lumpur and the extension of the light-rail transit (LRT) project is estimated to cost a staggering RM57bil.

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) recently said that the Government was conducting a feasibility study on the rail project. The proposal was cited as a high-impact project under the Economic Transformation Programme.

It was reported that the cost of the KL-Singapore high-speed rail was between RM8bil and RM14bil.

Frost & Sullivan vice-president, Asia Pacific transportation & logistics practice and country head, Malaysia Gopal R said the KL-Singapore link was a critical and landmark link that needed to be established through high-speed rail.

“This is a cross-border link that has already been leveraged by different other modes of transport like air and road.

“With the next decade attributable to the growth of the services sector, a high-speed rail connectivity can greatly help organisations to leverage on Greater KL to establish larger offices with competent workforce that can commute most effectively in markets like Singapore.

“In effect, Greater KL will transform into a service sector hub with this model, if high-speed rail connectivity is available towards the north and southern directions, creating a sustainable economic profile for the city,” Gopal told StarBiz.

A transport analyst with a local research house said although there was a need to establish KL-Singapore high-speed rail, the high cost of such a project remained a concern.

“This is because we already got two huge rail projects in hand the MRT system that is estimated to cost RM50bil and extension of the two LRT systems that would cost RM7bil.

“Alternatively, the Government could rely on the private sector to fund the project.

“But, the proposal is still under study. If it is proven viable, I think it would only kick-off in 2012 because the project involves cross-border link,” he said.

[TRANSIT: Remember the project also involves 4 State governments (Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor) as well as the Federal Territory (KL…and possibly Putrajaya?)]

On the timing of the high-speed project, taking into consideration that countries globally are still recovering from the economic crisis, Gopal said the economic activity in Malaysia as well as the region was on the rise and the momentum would surely continue into the immediate future. “Therefore, the timing is just right to embark on high-speed rail projects,” he said.

Gopal added that almost all high-speed rail networks had been promoted as a tourist experience and consequently been a must see attraction [for? in?] cities such as in Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.

“The connectivity options in any mega city has certainly influenced property values due to the ability of residents to save time in commuting,” he said.

SPAD said it was currently conducting a feasibility study on a high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, which is expected it to be completed in May.

“The study will look into the viability, business case, benefits and the possible implementation plan of the project,” it said.

On the types of systems for high-speed rail, it was reported that there were basically two main systems namely, magnetic levitation technology and conventional rail network.

TRANSIT Says:

Ok, first of all, who is the copy editor in Star Biz? Why are you continuously allowing these error-prone articles to be published?

Second, please disregard the final sentence. There is no way that the High Speed Rail Link, if built, will be using Magnetic Levitation (Maglev) – since there is no viable long-distance Maglev service operating anywhere in the world. And it certainly won’t be conventional rail either, considering that the whole point of the project is a “High Speed Rail” link (unless they call ETS trains operating at 140km/h “high speed” which no one really does).

Now, with that all said, we have to wonder why the government would choose to include the project in the 10th Malaysia Plan before the feasibility study was completed and the funding proposals examined.

It is one thing to talk about the project under the umbrella of “Economic Transformation” (where it is a proposal) and under the umbrella of the 10th Malaysia Plan (where it is an intention of the government to take action). But then, this is M’sia where the government will not even carry out the projects of its own annual budget in full.

So here we are – the MRT is going ahead rapidly (no pun intended), but the HSR is moving ahead slowly.

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4 thoughts on “HSR Update: Mixed views on KL-Singapore rail link”

  1. If you don’t want to build with maglev and the conventional high speed train technology, what technology are you trying to apply??? I hope the project will take off soon because it will have more PROs than Cons when it comes to aiding Malaysian economy. Because nowadays competitive world TIME is MONEY, MONEY is TIME, saving TIME is saving MONEY too. I believe HSR is also much environmentally friendly compare to those gas/petrol guzzling public transports. The best part is you don’t have to wait like hell before departure like boarding a plane. So far, we never heard of accident occurs on high speed rail. Safety is another issue. So I suggest we use the train that is at least 320km/h instead of 240-280km/h. Go to hell with MAS, Air Asia and other airlines company, who cares if they run out of business on KL Singapore flights. The most important thing is the WELLBEING/WELFARE/ CONVENIENCE/BENEFITS of PASSENGERS/RAKYAT. It superceeds EVERYTHING!!! Not the damned PROFITS of those AIRLINES COMPANY where they have to hire tonnes of GOOD LOOKING and GOOD FOR NOTHING air stewardess/steward and let us pay so much extra for nothing besides the fuel surcharge which will never occur on high speed train/rail!!

  2. I am also hoping this HSR link between KL and Singapore will take off, and I also hope that it will be privately funded. let the market dictate the pricing and costs. if federal govt have a hand in it, it will be extremely expensive, and expect govt bailout in the future. an HSR will give good competition to MAS and SIA. compared to flight, you could’ve reached Singapore by the time you board a flight at KLIA.

  3. @Bob Dylan

    I believe air accidents are more than high speed rail accidents annually. Besides, those so called “high speed train” which runs less than 300km/h, I don’t consider them high speed train at all. It can only be considered as AVERAGE FAST TRAIN.

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