KL-S'pore high-speed rail won't stop at Putrajaya

KUALA LUMPUR • High-speed rail (HSR) trains plying between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will not stop at Putrajaya, MyHSR Corp - a unit under the Malaysian Ministry of Finance tasked with undertaking the project - has confirmed.

MyHSR Corp chief executive Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal said the HSR was supposed to share part of the Express Rail Link's (ERL) track. However, higher costs, a more complex agreement and a potential safety risk have led the Malaysian government to look at a dedicated HSR line instead.

"Using the ERL track for HSR, it becomes natural for Putrajaya to be in (the alignment). But after looking at certain feedback from technical experts, the government decided to go for a dedicated HSR line," he said.

This would mean that the next HSR stop after Kuala Lumpur would be Seremban.

Talks are ongoing between Singapore and Malaysia for the 350km project before an international tender for it is expected to open late next year.

Mr Mohd Nur Ismal said HSR trains would travel at faster speeds than ERL coaches, which move at top speeds of 160kmh now. It is not yet known how fast trains on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore line will travel, but most in the world now go at speeds of up to 350kmh.

This would mean both trains would have to be coordinated for the same track.

Aside from paying ERL Sdn Bhd for using the track, he added that the line would also have to be modified to take HSR trains.

Mr Mohd Nur Ismal said that while track-sharing with HSR trains is common in European countries, there is a risk of accidents. "The number of accidents is very low, but the risk is always there," he said.

Asked what the effects of this move would be, he said it would mean a shorter travel time for those going between KL and Seremban.

However, he said Putrajaya riders can connect with the HSR when its Malaysian terminus is built at Bandar Malaysia.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 27, 2015, with the headline 'KL-S'pore high-speed rail won't stop at Putrajaya'. Print Edition | Subscribe