Hitachi Super Express

Japan has continued to signal its interest in the KL-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) link, with the project set to be one of the main discussion points during prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s visit to Japan, the New Straits Times reports. The PM is slated to meet his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe tomorrow.

Japan, which is competing with China, South Korea and several European countries for the project, will be pitching its Shinkansen (bullet train) system for the HSR programme. Najib has already paid tribute to the iconic train service, saying it had a strong international reputation and an excellent track record.

“As we proceed with the high-speed rail service between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, I am sure the Shinkansen will be one of the leading contenders in the public tender for the project,” he said in a response to a written interview by Asahi Shimbun.

In July, both Malaysia and Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate the KL-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project. The definitive bilateral agreement to pave the way for the HSR project will be signed on December 5. Construction of the high-speed rail link is set to begin in 2018, with completion in 2025. This will be followed by field testing and commissioning, with operations scheduled to begin sometime in 2026.

The 350 km-long double-track route (335 km of which is in Malaysia, and 15 km in Singapore) will have eight stops in total – Singapore, Iskandar Puteri, Batu Pahat, Muar, Ayer Keroh, Seremban, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur. Trains on the service are projected to run at average speeds of 300 km/h, bringing the rail travel time between KL and Singapore down to 90 minutes, excluding clearance at customs, immigration and quarantine.