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Old July 5th, 2006, 06:53 AM   #1
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Bullet train to Singapore: From KL in 90 minutes

Bullet train to Singapore: From KL in 90 minutes
05 Jul 2006
Rajan Moses
NewStraitTimes




YTL proposes RM8 billion high-speed train link.

KUALA LUMPUR: Imagine zipping in a bullet train from the KL Sentral station into the heart of Singapore in 90 minutes flat. That is something that will become a reality if tycoon Tan Sri Francis Yeohís plan to build and operate such a train service at a cost of up to RM8 billion takes off.

Yeoh told the New Straits Times that the Malaysian and Singapore Governments had been informed of the proposal by YTL Corp for the fast train service.

If approved, the project will become the largest to be launched on a private finance initiative (PFI) basis, as encouraged under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

Construction will take three years but it could be two years before cross-border approvals and land acquisition are obtained.

Yeoh said that if the project is approved, YTL would go to the global capital market to raise the needed funds to finance it. Partners providing the rail and train technology for the project could be either Japanese, French or German operators of fast train services.

"Every single fund manager loves this project and a lot of consumers want it. The industries want it. Itís a no-brainer. Itís the perfect alternative to air and land transport between the two hubs and will integrate them," he said.

"This is not a dream and a project that canít be done. It can be done if there is a will to do it. And I pray that there will be this will to do it," he said.

"It will help move the economy ahead. The country now needs the boost of fresh private sector investment and we can do that with projects like this."

Yeoh said the KL-Singapore fast rail link could be an extension of the Sentral-Kuala Lumpur International Airport train service that is currently operated by YTL majority-owned ExpressRail Link (ERL).

The ERL was built at a cheap cost of RM35 million per kilometre compared to other train projects in the developed world built at between RM120-RM150 million per kilometre. The ERL project received no government subsidies.

"We can extend the airport line to Singapore. We can also find ways for the rail link to pass through the newly developing southern Johor Corridor enroute to Singapore," he added.

Under the YTL proposal, a new standard gauge railway line would have to be built across the southern states to accommodate trains with wider wheels that can travel at a speed of up to 350km per hour.

The metre-gauge railway lines currently used by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) can only accommodate trains with a smaller wheel size and a maximum speed of 140 km per hour.

Yeoh said the timing was just right for the launch of the project now as the Malaysian Government was keen on it and the cost of land acquisition to build the rail connection was relatively cheap.

Land cost usually accounts for 70 per cent of the cost of such rail projects while the cost for the technology accounts for 30 per cent.

"It is the land value that is important. The land cost is still affordable now in Malaysia, unlike in Hong Kong, the US or Europe."

Yeoh said Singapore has also had a look at the project.

"I donít think they will be that difficult. We have been chatting with them for quite a while now."

Yeoh said he was ready to accept Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines as well as the airport operators of both cities as "cornerstone investors" in the project to ensure relevant entities from both sides had a stake in the project.

The direct rail link will provide commuters with an alternative to expensive air travel and the slower journey by car or bus.

Would you pay to take a ride on the bullet train to Singapore? If so, how much would you be prepared to pay for the service? Give your comments below.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 09:20 AM   #2
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cant wait to see this happens...
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Old July 5th, 2006, 09:40 AM   #3
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High speed rail travel is expensive ... i don't think average Malaysian can afford to use it
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Old July 5th, 2006, 10:13 AM   #4
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Great news! Think about this: in future ppl live in KL and work in Singapore, and vice versa. I dont think fare prices matter as long as it is cheaper than taking flights.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 10:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastresorter
Great news! Think about this: in future ppl live in KL and work in Singapore, and vice versa. I dont think fare prices matter as long as it is cheaper than taking flights.
They'd still have to settle immigration matters or come up with a special pass card. From the article, it seems like the high speed rail link is seamless KL city center to SIngapore city center (1 and a half hrs). Or would the link end at the immigration complex? and take a bus over to Singapore from there? Then it would defeat the purpose.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 10:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lastresorter
Great news! Think about this: in future ppl live in KL and work in Singapore, and vice versa. I dont think fare prices matter as long as it is cheaper than taking flights.
They'd still have to settle immigration matters or come up with a special pass card. From the article, it seems like the high speed rail link is seamless KL city center to SIngapore city center (1 and a half hrs). Or would the link end at the immigration complex? and take a bus over to Singapore from there? Then it would defeat the purpose. I'm guessing they would come up with something like KL Sentral CAT and KLIA check-in procedures, only difference immigration would be involved. Then it would be sensible for seamless fast travel from center to center.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #7
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Center to center is something thats hard to achieve cause there's the issue of dedicating land in singapore for the viaduct (The Malaysian company will own the land here?). By ending it at a MRT station (Kranji Station) near the Woodlands Checkpoint, there won't be much of an issue, plus its connected to the MRT network so no issue with transportation there. Sure visitors from Thailand and Malaysia will find it more inconvenient to get to the Singapore City Centre because of the need to transfer but its only a small price to pay to avoid a lot of complications...and raise the likelihood of the plan succeeding...

1. This isn't a intra-country rail arrangement like Taiwan and Japan where there is no issue of how much land is taken up because the govt still owns the land, not another country.

2. Plus unlike the UK etc, we don't really have a lot of land to spare.

3. We don't like overhead wires so obviously authorities if approve the project will likely want to minimise any of it, thus shortening the route. Unless policy changes that is.

Last edited by ignoramus; July 5th, 2006 at 10:49 AM.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 12:35 PM   #8
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If both govts agreed, I suggest why don't just turn Tanjong Pagar Railway Station into an international railway terminal just like London Waterloo. KTMB can work together with Singapore authority to get this things done. By having the train stopping at JB or Woodlands CIQ will defeat the purpose. If Singapore don't fancy overhead wires, then just install a third rail at singapore section just like Eurostar where it can operate with overhead wires and third rail in southern England. I'm sure everyone can benefit from this in a win win situation.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 01:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ignoramus
Center to center is something thats hard to achieve cause there's the issue of dedicating land in singapore for the viaduct (The Malaysian company will own the land here?). By ending it at a MRT station (Kranji Station) near the Woodlands Checkpoint, there won't be much of an issue, plus its connected to the MRT network so no issue with transportation there. Sure visitors from Thailand and Malaysia will find it more inconvenient to get to the Singapore City Centre because of the need to transfer but its only a small price to pay to avoid a lot of complications...and raise the likelihood of the plan succeeding...

1. This isn't a intra-country rail arrangement like Taiwan and Japan where there is no issue of how much land is taken up because the govt still owns the land, not another country.

2. Plus unlike the UK etc, we don't really have a lot of land to spare.

3. We don't like overhead wires so obviously authorities if approve the project will likely want to minimise any of it, thus shortening the route. Unless policy changes that is.
The issue of overhead wires doesnt arise as Singapore doesnt have enough land above ground for a dedicated high speed railway track anyway. I dont think the existing railway track to Tanjong Pagar has the technical specifications to run these trains. Thefore, the dedicated railway lines will have to go underground. These trains need dedicated railway lines because they cannot be intefered by other slow moving trains. The Eurostar train runs on dedicated tracks.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 01:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc4
They'd still have to settle immigration matters or come up with a special pass card. From the article, it seems like the high speed rail link is seamless KL city center to SIngapore city center (1 and a half hrs). Or would the link end at the immigration complex? and take a bus over to Singapore from there? Then it would defeat the purpose. I'm guessing they would come up with something like KL Sentral CAT and KLIA check-in procedures, only difference immigration would be involved. Then it would be sensible for seamless fast travel from center to center.
Immigration is best solved by stationing Singaporeans immigration officers in KL and vice versa. This applies to both Eurostar Terminals in Waterloo and Gare Du Nord. My passport was stamped by British immigration in Gare Du Nord before i boarded the Eurostar train.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 01:25 PM   #11
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This idea is not impossible. For me, i think i would prefer taking train than airplane to KL. However, its not up to us to decide. The government has their say. I dont think overhead wires is a problem. currently our railways also have wires hanging on poles. But i think is whether the government would want to build more railway cos we cant place the bullet trains on the current line right? So i dont think we have much space. Even the circle line took so long to complete.
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Old July 5th, 2006, 01:33 PM   #12
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i single ride ... three cities , seems beneficial to me !
Should this plan be implemented, it would greatly boost time saving between two major cities. I wouldnt be too worry abt whether its too expensive, i am rather interested with its plan to bypass JB. ( perhaps JB sentral )
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Old July 5th, 2006, 02:28 PM   #13
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The govt, the govt. that's quite tricky ain't it with past issues harping on. Then again, with cash-rich private companies coming into play, I guess and hope things will get a move on.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 05:30 AM   #14
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YTL in talks with KL govt to build rail link to S'pore
Straits Times Interactive, 5 July 2006




CUTTING A DEAL: Tan Sri Yeoh is optimistic about the project because of the
economic ties between Singapore and Malaysia, and plans to draw investors
from both countries. -- ARTHUR LEE/BT



Company expects to reach agreement on high-speed railway in two years, says MD

KUALA LUMPUR - YTL, owner of the railway from Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport to the city, said it is in talks with the Malaysian government for a high-speed rail link to Singapore.

The company plans to take the rail unit public to raise between RM6 billion and RM8 billion (S$2.6 billion to S$3.5 billion) to fund the project if it gets the concession for the line to Singapore, 300km from Kuala Lumpur.

'Our government is very serious about this and they're encouraging us to look at it,' Tan Sri Francis Yeoh, managing director of YTL, said in an interview last Friday in Singapore.

YTL expects to reach an agreement on the railway in two years, he said.

Press reports early this year said Malaysian officials were reviewing a plan to build a fast train connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, which was first proposed in 1996.

Proponents of the rail link - which would cut travel time to two hours from the current six - said it could replace air travel as the main transport mode for businessmen and tourists and free the congested rail system in Malaysia for the movement of cargo to ports.

But Malaysian government officials then had said it would first need the backing of the Singapore Government, because the plan would require the acquisition of land in Singapore for laying new tracks.

'The traffic between the two countries is huge, so if you talk about the dollars and cents, there's a viable business to be done,' said Mr Scott Lim, fund manager with CMS Dresdner Asset Management. 'It's just whether there's a political will to make that happen.'

A political spat between Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his predecessor, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, may hamper efforts to build the rail link, said Mr David Cohen, an economist at Action Economics in Singapore.

Malaysia in April decided to end talks for a new bridge linking the two countries to prevent both sides from becoming embroiled in endless political bickering and legal disputes.

Tun Dr Mahathir has criticised his successor for the decision, saying Malaysia had the legal right to build the bridge and scrapping the plan has cost the country billions of ringgit.

'It's a little tricky with the Causeway and the extra political wrangling in Kuala Lumpur, and how these would play into that,' Mr Cohen said. 'It just makes it a little more complicated and I wouldn't look for any quick resolution.'

Tan Sri Yeoh, 51, said he is optimistic because of the economic links between the two countries. He also plans to draw so-called cornerstone investors from both countries to take a larger stake in the project, including Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, as well as the two cities' airports, which he says should not see this as a threat.

'I'm sure there's demand for it,' said Mr Gerald Ambrose, a fund manager at Aberdeen Asset Management. YTL's 57km express rail from the airport to the Malaysian capital 'is extremely efficient, and everybody would be happier getting a fast link from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore' .

BLOOMBERG NEWS

YTL, which owns the railway from the KL airport to the city, plans to take the rail unit public to raise between RM6 billion and RM8 billion (S$2.6 billion to S$3.5 billion) to fund the project if it gets the concession for the line to Singapore
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Old July 6th, 2006, 05:32 AM   #15
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YTL in talks to build KL-S'pore fast rail link
Singapore Business Times, July 5, 2006
By PAULINE NG
IN KUALA LUMPUR

MALAYSIAN conglomerate YTL Corp is in discussions with the Malaysian government on a high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, its group managing director Francis Yeoh said yesterday.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Mr Yeoh indicated that the plan had the backing of the Malaysian government, which is keen to develop the South Johor Economic Region to drive economic activity and leverage on Singapore's two integrated resorts.

'This is one project that everyone knows can work. Our government is very serious about this and they're encouraging us to look at it,' he said.

A high-speed train would take two hours or so to cover the 300km between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Today's rail service takes seven hours.

Before he stepped down, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad approved an electrified double-track rail line running 636km from north to south of the Peninsular. But the RM14.5 billion (S$6.2 billion) project was shelved by Abdullah Badawi after he took the reins of government in 2003. The line approved by Dr Mahathir was to have been funded by the government and built by a consortium involving Malaysian Mining Corp and Gamuda.

Mr Yeoh indicated yesterday that YTL would fund its line privately.

He said that if YTL is given the concession it will float its 50 per cent subsidiary Express Rail Link (ERL) to raise the RM6-8 billion needed.

ERL, which turned profitable in 2003, operates the non-stop KLIA Express from Kuala Lumpur Sentral to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, as well as a rapid-transit service that makes three stops at key towns along the route.

Mr Yeoh said he is confident that agreement on a rail link to Singapore could be reached in two years, but said political wrangling between Malaysia and Singapore on issues such as the location of Malaysia's Customs, Immigration and Quarantine facilities and land owned by Malaysian state railway Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) would likely complicate matters.

Analysts said it would be a huge feather in YTL's cap if it can pull off the project - but noted that carriers serving the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route could be affected. Mr Yeoh said he plans to offer these carriers and other parties like KTM and the operators of Changi Airport and KLIA stakes in the rail project.

It is not clear how the Singapore government will react to the idea, but YTL would need its agreement if new rail tracks are to be laid. There is considerable two-way traffic between both countries. Singaporeans are the biggest visitors to Malaysia, with over nine million arrivals last year.

Malaysia's National Physical Plan recommends a high-speed rail system that connects all the state capitals be built as part of a proposed integrated national transport system.

Copyright © 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 05:35 AM   #16
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YTL in Talks for Rail Link Between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore


July 4 (Bloomberg) -- YTL Corp., which owns the railway from Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport to the capital city, said it's in talks for a rail link to Singapore which may produce an agreement in two years.

The company plans to take the rail unit public to raise between 6 billion ringgit ($1.6 billion) and 8 billion ringgit to fund the project when it gets the concession for the new rail link to Singapore, an island-state at the southern tip of Malaysia 188 miles (300 kilometers) from Kuala Lumpur.

A share sale to fund the project ``will excite the capital market. I have got indications from a lot of fund managers around the world looking at it and saying it's a no-brainer,'' Francis Yeoh, managing director of YTL, said in an interview on June 30. ``This is one project that everybody knows can work. Our government is very serious about this and they're encouraging us to look at it.''

The project comes amid warmer ties between Malaysia and Singapore since Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as prime minister in October 2003. Both countries were part of a union until Singapore was expelled four decades go, and the two have disagreed over issues from the price of water from Malaysia to the site of a railway immigration checkpoint in the city-state.

The rail tracks into Singapore were set as early as 1913, the government's Malaysian Railway Web site showed, when both countries were under British rule. A direct rail link between Kuala Lumpur to Singapore would increase the convenience of commuters, as the current train takes about seven hours between both cities, almost twice the four-hour drive on the highway.

`Viable Business'

The flight time between both cities takes less than an hour. A total of 31 flights travel between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur daily, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

``The traffic between the two countries is huge, so if you talk about the dollars and cents, there's a viable business to be done,'' said Scott Lim, who helps manage the equivalent of $273 million at CMS Dresdner Asset Management Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur. ``It's just whether there's a political will to make that happen.''

Relations between the two Southeast Asian countries suffered a setback in April when Malaysia decided to end talks for a new bridge linking the two to prevent both sides from becoming ``embroiled in endless political bickering and legal disputes.'' Malaysia argued the bridge was needed to relieve congestion on the existing causeway. Singapore said it wasn't cost-effective.

`Political Wrangling'

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has also criticized his successor for the decision, saying Malaysia had the legal right to build the bridge and scrapping the plan has cost the country billions of ringgit. The bridge or causeway may hurt plans for the proposed rail link.

``It's a little tricky with the causeway and the extra political wrangling in Kuala Lumpur, and how these would play into that,'' said David Cohen, an economist at Action Economics in Singapore. ``It just makes it a little more complicated and I wouldn't look for any quick resolution.''

Yeoh said he's optimistic because of the economic links between the two countries. He also plans to draw so-called cornerstone investors from both countries to take a larger stake in the project, including Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Malaysian Airline System Bhd., as well as the two cities' airports, which he says should not see this as a threat.

Investment

``The economic integration between Malaysia and Singapore and ASEAN as a region is very real and very necessary,'' he said. ``The moment we can have a project in place and there's an agreement by both governments to move ahead, we will list the company and we'd want to share the future with as many people as possible with vested interest.''

Cross-border investments have increased since Abdullah became prime minister. The Singapore government's investment holding company Temasek Holdings Pte has invested in Malaysian companies, including 5 percent of Telekom Malaysia Bhd., the nation's biggest phone company, which it bought for 1.6 billion ringgit.

Likewise, Telekom and parent Khazanah Nasional Bhd., the Malaysian government's investment company, also became the biggest shareholders of MobileOne Ltd., one of Singapore's three cellular-phone companies. Yeoh is counting on those ties and his bet on consumer needs to push his plan forward.

``I'm sure there's demand for it,'' said Gerald Ambrose, a fund manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, which manages more than $1 billion of Malaysian stocks. YTL's 57-kilometer express rail from the airport to the Malaysian capital ``is extremely efficient, and everybody would be happier getting a fast link from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.''
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Old July 6th, 2006, 07:02 AM   #17
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Malaysia-Singapore Bullet Train

JUL. 5 5:45 A.M. ET Malaysian conglomerate YTL Corp. has proposed building a high-speed bullet train link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to cover the 325-kilometer (200-mile) journey in 90 minutes, a top executive said Wednesday.

YTL, one of Malaysia's biggest business houses, is already in talks with the two governments for the project, managing director Francis Yeoh told The Associated Press.

"We anticipate that in about two years time we should get approvals," he said. "The construction should take less than three years and it should all be up and running in less than five years" from now, he said.

The New Straits Times daily, which first reported the news on Wednesday, said the estimated 8 billion ringgit (US$2.2 billion; euro1.7 billion) venture would be the largest under the "private finance initiative" encouraged under Malaysia's latest five-year development plan.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 07:33 AM   #18
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Would you pay to take a ride on the bullet train to Singapore? If so, how much would you be prepared to pay for the service? Give your comments below.

If not mistaken, an hour and half bullet train trip in Tokyo cost about RM500.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 09:07 AM   #19
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I am sure not using maglev technology its too expensive.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 09:31 AM   #20
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Firstly I would like to point out that the graphics by the New Straits Times are factually wrong because Tan Sri Francis Yeoh did not mention anything about Maglev trains. Furthermore a Maglev train system would be prohibitively expensive and I don't think 8 billion RM would be suficient even to construct a quarter of the rail link

In fact I would think that they might be using a similar rolling stock as the Express Rail Link that currently connects KL Sentral to KLIA.

Here are some quotes from the article and from Tan Sri himself:

Quote:
Yeoh said the KL-Singapore fast rail link could be an extension of the Sentral-Kuala Lumpur International Airport train service that is currently operated by YTL majority-owned ExpressRail Link (ERL).


Under the YTL proposal, a new standard gauge railway line would have to be built across the southern states to accommodate trains with wider wheels that can travel at a speed of up to 350km per hour.

The metre-gauge railway lines currently used by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) can only accommodate trains with a smaller wheel size and a maximum speed of 140 km per hour.


And this strenghtened my theory:

Quote:
A high-speed train would take two hours or so to cover the 300km between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Today's rail service takes seven hours.

Well.......I am not a mathematician but a simple calculation based on the time taken to travel from KL Sentral to KLIA using the current ERL, I could conclude that a slightly more than two hours journey could be made by the current rolling stocks of the ERL. Perhaps they might consider using newer trains from Siemens

Personally I would prefer to take the train than to fly because flying short distance is quite a hassle. IN fact I would love to see a city centre to city centre rail connection as a transfer at Kranji would defeat its purpose

ON the overhead pantographs, I am very sure the Singaporean Govt wouldn't be approved over it. I've read the documents on the water supply dispute and one of the subject is the 'ugly overhead wires'. The Sg Govt proposes to have an underground tunnel that goes all the way to Tanjong Pagar so that the land at-grade would be of use but the construction cost had to be borned by KTM. KTM disagree citing the high cost. Then the rail connection to Kranji was proposed until the high-speed rail connection proposal failed to take off
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