High-speed train offer from Siemens
. Apr 23rd 2007.
YTL Corp Bhd managing director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh raised the buzz on high-speed rail service when he proposed the service to link Kuala Lumpur and Singapore last July.
Until now, no decision has been made as the Malaysian government is still studying the proposal.
However, Siemens is ready to share its expertise in high-speed rail technology if the project gets the approval.Siemens Malaysia Sdn Bhd transportation systems head Tim Hunter said the company was likely to work with YTL Corp if the latter was awarded the project. The Velaro E has a top speed of 350km an hour
YTL Corp had conducted a study, which found the project feasible.
Â“The Government is identifying the political, economic and environmental impact and all issues relating to the existing transportation network,Â” he told Malaysian reporters during an international media tour of the new Velaro E in Madrid, Spain, recently.
The Velaro E is the latest in the high-speed trains platform developed by Siemens.
Hunter said there was no deadline on when the Government would conclude the study but he anticipated Â“soonÂ”.The interior of the Club Class
Â“The topography of Peninsular Malaysia is appropriate for high-speed rail.Â“As for challenges, it will be to cross the straits into Singapore and integration with existing rail system,Â” he said, adding that the route could possibly begin at KL Sentral station, linking the KL International Airport (KLIA), Johor Baru and end at Singapore's Changi Airport.
Â“That will make more sense because inter-modal exchanges are important. It has to be linked to existing transport modes.Â“The service may probably link Malacca and Putrajaya, although nothing is confirmed yet,Â” he said.
The distance between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore City is 325km. If the Velaro E is used, which has a top speed of 350km/h; travel time will be reduced to 90 minutes.
Hunter said the train's proposed seating capacity was between 400 and 500 people on a single trip.
YTL Corp has previously drawn the expertise of Siemens to develop the Express Rail Link, which connects KL Sentral and KLIA.
Siemens has also managed the Ipoh-Rawang double-tracking electrification project, hence, it feels it could offer its latest technology should the high-speed rail project receive the green light.Besides Siemens, other players that provide high-speed rail technology include France's Alstom, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Hitachi from Japan and Spain's Construccionesy Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S. A.
Although Hunter did not reveal the project's actual cost, he said it would run into billions of ringgit as factors such as land acquisition, route, civil engineering and system costs, speed and density had to be considered.
According to published reports, the high-speed rail was expected to cost RM8bil.
Â“Land acquisition cost will be significant. Funding will be another main challenge and it is unsure at the moment who will bear the cost.
Â“Private finance initiative is one of the options. The project could be completed between two and five years, but that will depend on the engineering issues that may crop up,Â” he explained.
Hunter said an agreement between Malaysia and Singapore was highly important before the project could even proceed.