KL-S’pore high-speed link proposal to be made soon
PETALING JAYA: A proposal for a high-speed train from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore using the magnetic levitation (maglev) technology will soon be submitted to the Government, industry sources said.
The sources also said the Government would soon appoint an international consulting firm to study the various proposals for the high-speed rail link to Singapore.
The maglev is the train system that links Shanghai’s Pudong airport with its financial district and was the first installation of its kind in the world.
The journey of 30km takes about seven minutes. The maglev train in Shanghai can reach speeds of up to 350km per hour in two minutes, although new generation trains being developed on this technology can go even faster, it is understood.
The maglev proposal will be competing with that of the conventional high-speed rail network, an idea first mooted by the YTL Group. Its technology partner then was said to be Germany’s Siemens, a global expert in high-speed rail technology.
The YTL proposal however did not get the green light, due in part to the high costs involved. But the concept of a high-speed rail link from KL to Singapore recently surfaced again. It was cited as a proposed “high impact” project in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) that was unveiled last month.
While there is no indication on costs involved, maglev’s proponents argue that it is a more suitable technology as it requires less maintenance, is safer and faster. The maglev system uses more electronics and essentially involves “non-contact electromagnetic levitation”. It has been operational for the last eight years in Shanghai and carried more than 20 million passengers without any accident.
“The technology is mature and commercially tested. Malaysia is in the market for alternative railway technology and could be the catalyst for maglev on the global map,” said a party familiar with the proposal.
According to maglev’s proponents, the technology has yet to take off in a big way in Europe where there is a wide rail network of conventional train systems.
“The huge existing track network of those countries, and parties that represent those vested interests, continue to support the 150-year-old wheel-steel technology,” said a source, adding that the conventional train technology had its limitations.
“The enormous weight of conventional trains is borne by its wheels.
“This requires precise routine maintenance, which is costly and requires tremendous skill and labour, which is not necessary in maglev trains, which are highly automated and do not even use wheels,” the source added.
By The Star Online