|Singapore–Kuala Lumpur High-Speed Rail|
|Line length||~350 km (Under planning)|
|Termini||Kuala Lumpur (Bandar Malaysia)
Singapore (Jurong East)
|Track gauge||Standard Gauge (1435mm)|
|Status||Project Temporarily Suspended|
The Singapore–Kuala Lumpur High-Speed Rail is a future high-speed rail link currently under planning. The line will connect Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with the fastest services taking 90 minutes between the two cities.
First announced in 2013, the 350-kilometre line will follow the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia with 8 stations at Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat, Iskandar Puteri and Singapore. International services will operate from Kuala Lumpur, Iskandar Puteri and Singapore, with co-located customs facilities at these three stations. International passengers will clear customs of both countries at their point of departure.
The Singapore terminus of the route will be at Jurong East, the current site of Jurong Country Club. The Kuala Lumpur terminus will be at Bandar Malaysia. The line goes across the Strait of Johor via a 25-metre high bridge near the Second Link, and a tunnel portal and siding facilities will be built at the current Raffles Country Club site.
When complete, the line will cut travel time between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes, compared with more than four hours by car. Originally, construction was expected to begin in 2017 and projected to open in 2026, but project delays have pushed back both dates to May 2020 and January 2031 instead.
Timeline & History
- 2010: High-Speed Rail between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur highlighted
- 2013 (Feb): Singapore and Malaysia agreed to HSR project
- 2015 (Feb): Jurong East confirmed as Singapore terminus
- 2016 (Jul 19): Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
- 2016 (Dec 13): Signing of legally-binding Bilateral Agreement
- 2016 (Dec) to 2017 (Jan): Jurong Country Club, Raffles Country Club acquired
- 2017 (Feb 16): Consortium awarded joint development partner contract to manage project
- 2017: Commencement of engineering studies and tenders
- 2018 (May 28): Malaysia announces intentions to pull out, later seeks deferment of HSR completion timeline
- 2018 (Sep 05): Formal postponement of HSR announced
- 2020 (May): Projected start of construction
- 2031 (Jan 01): Targeted commencement of operations
In 2010, as part of the Government of Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) plans, the Southern Corridor High-Speed Rail (HSR) highlighted with the aim of improving the economic dynamism and liveability of Kuala Lumpur. Feasibility and conceptual studies soon followed.
On 19 February 2013 at a Leader’s Retreat, the Singapore and Malaysia Prime Ministers formally agreed to build the HSR. This was followed by the planning phase where the groundwork was laid for the fulfilment of the project. In Singapore, Jurong East was confirmed as the line terminus. The line will run underground, surfacing at Tuas and crossing the Strait of Johor via a 25-metre high bridge near the Second Link.
On 19 July 2016, both Governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop the HSR with a targeted operational date of 31 December 2026. By formalising the line’s technical and security details as well as its regulatory, financing and procurement frameworks, among other things, the agreement paves the way for both sides to move from the planning phase to implementation. The HSR is expected to cost Singapore more than S$17 billion, and around 110 billion ringgit for Malaysia.
A legally-binding Bilateral Agreement was signed on 13 December 2016, paving the way for engineering studies and construction work. Between December 2016 to January 2017, land occupied by Jurong Country Club and Raffles Country Club was acquired by the Government for HSR construction. On 16 February 2017, a three-party consortium (made up of WSP Engineering Malaysia, Mott MacDonald Malaysia and Ernst & Young Advisory Services) won the joint development partner (JDP) contract, providing project management support, technical advice on HSR systems and operations, developing safety standards, and help with the preparation of tender documents for the LTA-MyHSR joint project team. Later that month, British architecture firm Farrells won the tender to develop the Singapore terminus.
On 28 May 2018, newly-elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced the cancellation of the HSR project, acting on promises to reduce the country’s debt. He cited the project’s high costs and negligible benefits to the country. However, he adopted a different stance in June 2018, commenting that the project was merely postponed until Malaysia was in more favourable financial conditions and would seek a deferment from Singapore. Amidst concerns of wasted expenditure, Khaw Boon Wan revealed in a parliament reply on 9 July 2018 that Singapore had spent “more than $250 million” to implement the HSR project up to the end of May 2018, which included costs for consultancies to design the civil infrastructure, costs for manpower and costs for land acquisition, with another $40-50 million more by the end of 2018.
Following bilateral meetings in August 2018, it was announced on 5 September 2018 that construction of the HSR project would be postponed until May 2020, with Malaysia reimbursing Singapore S$15 million (remitted on 31 January 2019) for abortive costs incurred by the deferment. Both countries also called off the ongoing international joint tender for an assets company to operate the 350km line due to the suspension, and HSR express services are now expected to commence on Jan 1, 2031, four years later than initially announced.
Several countries like Japan and China are eyeing a slice of the lucrative contract and hoping to gain influence in the region. Both Japan and China have been aggressively promoting their domestic HSR technology, with Japan banking on its safety and reliability record, and China on its wealth of experience in rolling out the HSR domestically in a cost-effective manner. Other countries who have expressed interest include Korea and France, both of which also have domestic HSR networks.
- Kuala Lumpur
- Ayer Keroh
- Batu Pahat
- Iskandar Puteri
External Links & References:
- Kuala Lumpur – Singapore High Speed Rail: Project Overview – MyHSR (PDF)
- PMs agree on high speed rail linking KL, Singapore – Straits Times
- KL, Singapore sign deal for high-speed rail; service slated to start by Dec 31, 2026 – Straits Times
- Singapore-KL high-speed rail deadline ‘ambitious but achievable’ – Straits Times
- Raffles Country Club to be acquired by July 31, 2018 to make way for S’pore-KL high-speed rail, Cross Island Line’s western depot – Straits Times
- 3-party consortium awarded joint development partner contract for Singapore-KL high-speed rail project – Straits Times
- Malaysia and Singapore agree to put HSR on hold, delay and costs to be discussed: source – The Business Times
- Malaysia, Singapore ink agreement to defer high-speed rail project for 2 years; KL to pay S$15m for suspending work – Straits Times