Keen interest in S'pore, KL rail link job

The Light Rail Transit (LRT) of Kuala Lumpur,  Malaysia. Its operator, RapidKL, also manages  the comprehensive bus network to ensure smooth  connectivity within the capital.
The Light Rail Transit (LRT) of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Its operator, RapidKL, also manages the comprehensive bus network to ensure smooth connectivity within the capital.PHOTO: THE STAR

Some 150 firms have responded to invitations from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and its Malaysian counterpart for a request-for-information (RFI) exercise regarding the proposed high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

The two sides received the overwhelming response by 6pm last Friday - just nine days after the invitation went out.

Parties which responded are believed to include Japanese, Chinese, Korean, American and European consortia.

The RFI is jointly conducted with Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission (Spad).

The LTA yesterday said companies which have yet to register their interest "are still welcome to do so". The invitation closes after noon on Nov 18.

In a joint statement, Spad chief executive Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah and LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said: "We are pleased by the market's positive response to the RFI exercise. We look forward to receiving their feedback next month.

"This feedback will be critical in helping us with the commercial model of the project, and will help ensure that this project starts off on the right note."

The LTA said the RFI exercise is expected to be concluded by the end of the year.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries has expressed interest in the multibillion-dollar project, which is expected to slash door-to-door travel between the two cities to 2.5 hours - down from 4.2 hours by air today.

Mr Ken Nishiyama, its manager for rolling stock stationed in Singapore, said: "We are keen to take part in this project.

In recent years, we have helped build high-speed rail lines in Taiwan and China. And we are involved in all the Shinkansen lines in Japan."

Alstom spokesman for East Asia Liping Mian said the French group is very keen on the project.

She added that Alstom had "the largest fleet of high-speed trains - more than 600 operating at 300-320kmh, spreading over the largest variety of networks in 10 countries".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 20, 2015, with the headline 'Keen interest in S'pore, KL rail link job'. Print Edition | Subscribe