KTM Update: Gemas-Johor Baharu electrified double tracking project to be tendered out by year-end, says Transport Minister

TRANSIT took note of this article in the Borneo Post which says that the Gemas-Johor Baharu electrified double tracking project is to be tendered out by year-end, according to the Transport Minister.

For those who do not know, the Gemas-JB electrification & double tracking project is the last stretch in the electrification & double tracking of all mainline rail on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

The other EDT projects are:

  • EDT for the Klang Valley from Rawang to Seremban, including the Port Klang Railway subdivision;
  • EDT from Rawang to Ipoh;
  • EDT from Sentul to Batu Caves;
  • EDT from Ipoh to Padang Besar;
  • EDT from Seremban to Gemas;

Completing the Gemas – JB stretch will allow ETS train service from Butterworth down to JB, as well as “commuter” rail service in the Iskandar – JB region of Johor.

Gemas-Johor Baharu electrified double tracking project to be tendered out by year-end, says Transport Minister
27 July 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: The tender for the 197-kilometre Gemas-Johor Baharu electrified double tracking project (EDTP) would be done before year-end,Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said yesterday.

The stretch was already in the final stage of design, he said, but declined to state if the tender would be open to foreign parties.

“The Ipoh-Padang Besar and Seremban-Gemas lines are 70 and 90 per cent complete respectively,” he added, after officiating a forum on ‘Powering the Rails in Malaysia’ here.

The Gemas-Johor Baharu sector would be the final package for the EDTP.

It was previously stated that the Gemas-Johor Baharu line was worth RM7 billion because it did not only comprise the building of a double-tracking system but also a transport hub with a capacity to rival the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) in Singapore.

[TRANSIT: As usual, the prose does not make sense here. How does a transport hub (a single site) rival a rail network? What they may be referring to is an expansion of JB Sentral and the CIQ, or perhaps the proposed Kempas Sentral railway hub.]

Kong said the rail sector was poised to emerge as a catalyst in the rapidly changing landscape of Malaysia’s public transportation system once all the projects would come to a conclusion.

[TRANSIT: It’s hard to disagree with that. Electrification (and more importantly, double tracking) will allow the movement of 10 times as many trains as can currently operate … meaning that KTM intercity & freight will become much more competitive. The benefits arising from possible Commuter Rail services in many cities (Butterworth, Ipoh, JB) also cannot be ignored.]

He said the EDTP in the northern section was slated for completion by end-2013 and the line to Johor by 2016.

Asked if the Komuter Service would be extended from Batu Caves to Selayang, he said the government would be considering the possibility.

“There has been a request from the public for the extension.

“At the moment we are still looking at the possibility.

“There will be a long term need for it and the extension is seen as the most viable,” he added. — Bernama

TRANSIT Says:

We are quite interested to see what the last stretch of the Electrification & double tracking will bring for Malaysia. Believe us when we say that we are looking forward to fast train service from KL to Penang (perhaps by late 2012 but unfortunately not so likely given the status of Penang Sentral) and from KL to JB (perhaps by 2016 … since JB Sentral has already been built).

The benefits of “Komuter Utara” and “Komuter Selatan” services will do a great deal towards reducing congestion on roads in Penang and JB … provided that rail services can be competitive and properly managed.

There will be a challenge for KTMB to figure out how the rail services will be offered in the future, but with the right kind of infrastructure & investment, this should not be a problem.

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