Railway electrification in Malaysia
Railway electrification in Malaysia is a relatively recent development of rail transport in Malaysia. While the first railway in the country dates back to 1885, it was not until 3 August 1995 that the first electrified railway service, KTM Komuter, began operations.
The term "railway electrification" mainly refers to the project to electrify the Keretapi Tanah Melayu's West Coast Line from Padang Besar to Johor Bahru, combined with the duplication of the single-track line. As of November 2012, the stretch between Ipoh and Seremban has been completed, with two electrified train services operating on the stretch: the KTM Komuter and the ETS.
- 1 Systems
- 2 Completed sections
- 3 Current and future projects
- 4 Other railway sections
- 5 References
- 6 External links
The double-tracking and electrification of 179 km of the main West Coast line enables KTMB to run trains at a maximum speed of 160 km/h between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. KTMB plans has introduced a rapid intercity service between KL Sentral and Ipoh, running 16 services a day initially and ultimately 32 services a day. This project, which has been beset by problems and delays, was completed in early 2008 and full services commenced in 2010, it has cut the journey time of KL-Ipoh to 2.5 hours. This project has also enabled KTMB to extend its KTM Komuter service to Tanjung Malim. The infrastructure works component of the project was originally awarded to DRB-Hicom Berhad in 2000 for a value of RM2,579,920,005.00, while Mitsui of Japan was awarded the electrification and signalling component of the project worth RM1.9 billion supported by its principle sub-contractor, Siemens-Balfour Beatty Consortium. The contract between DRB-Hicom and the Malaysian government was signed on 2 April 2001. The original completion date for DRB-Hicom was December 2003. Four main subcontractors were appointed: Emrail Sdn Bhd for trackwork, Perspec Prime (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd for civil works, IJM Corporation Berhad for the construction of stations and UEM Construction Sdn Bhd for the construction of bridges. The project however suffered problems which caused numerous delays, resulting in the government terminating the contract with DRB-Hicom and appointing UEM Construction Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of UEM (Malaysia) Berhad, to take over the project from 1 June 2005. At that stage, DRB-Hicom was said to have completed 88% of the work. DRB-Hicom said one of the main causes of the delays was a dispute over a variation order and losses and expenses with the government. Although there were threats of litigation, the matter was submitted for arbitration and was finally settled in May 2006 with the government paying DRB-Hicom a sum of RM425 million. The company added that it was still in negotiations with the government over issues pertaining to liquidated ascertained damages and release of the performance bond. Mitsui has also submitted a claim for compensation for being unable to carry out the electrification part of the project because of the delays to civil works with the government settling on an undisclosed sum in December 2006.
On January 17, 2008, the double tracking project between Rawang and Ipoh was officially completed, marked by an event officiated by the Transport Minister. New train sets which will service the Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur route are expected to arrive in mid-2009 and will feature five stops between the cities. Fares is expected to be in MYR 30 to 40 for the complete trip. Meanwhile, KTM is considering using refurbished EMUs for the Ipoh-Kuala Lumpur rapid train service until the actual EMUs arrive. KTM is using diesel locomotives for revenue service.
Sentul-Port Klang extension to Batu Caves
The 7.2 km extension to the Batu Caves branch line started at the end of 2006. The project - which will cost RM515mil - will include electrification, double-tracking and refitting the existing old track, signalling, communications, as well as construction of new stations at Sentul, Batu Kentonmen (English: Batu Cantonment), Kampung Batu (English: Batu Village), Taman Wahyu and Batu Caves. Sentul is currently the terminus for KTM Komuter's Sentul-Port Klang Line and the extension will enable the commuter train service to be extended to Batu Caves. Proposed during the 1990s, the project was initially given to DRB-Hicom Berhad and a letter of intent was issued by the Transport Ministry to the company on 13 April 2001. No letter of award was however issued and there was no movement until 2006 when site possession was given to contractor YTL Corporation Berhad on November 17, 2006. The project was completed on August 2010. The Sentul station is part of the Sentul Raya masterplan development under YTL Corporation Berhad.
On January 7, 2008, the government of Malaysia announced that the Indian company, IRCON International won the USD1 billion (MYR 3.45 billion) contract to build a double track from Seremban to Gemas. The 100 km Seremban- Sungei Gadut double tracking project is scheduled to be completed by 2010 and to Gemas by 2012. The track involves 64.85 km stretch in Negeri Sembilan, 27.84 km in Melaka and 1.45 km in Johor. A 1.8 km tunnel and 9 bridges will be built in the process
On May 23, 2008, a joint venture between IJM and Norwest won a MYR 490.12 million contract from IRCON to construct, commission and maintain infrastructure works for the electrified double-track project. The construction period is 21 months.
On May 27, 2008, a joint venture between Loh & Loh Corporation Bhd and Pasti Abadi Sdn Bhd won a MYR RM273.01 million contract to construct, commission and maintain infrastructure works. The contract include site clearance, demolition and relocation works.
On January 26, 2010, Chief Minister of the state of Malacca, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said the work on the dual-track railway was 32.81% completed and it was expected to be operational by August 2012. Once completed, the travel time between Malacca and Negri Sembilan will be shortened and new six-coach trains capable of carrying 350 passengers at 140 km per hour will be used.
Part of the project, from Seremban railway station to Sungai Gadut Komuter station was completed in April 2011, and from Sungai Gadut Komuter station to Gemas railway station has been completed on 31 July 2013. The line is energised in stages starting from Sungai Gadut - Rembau stretch in April 2013, Rembau - Batang Melaka in early July 2013 and finally Batang Melaka - Gemas section in late July 2013. The line was completed on 30 October 2013.
Current and future projects
This project was proposed in 2002 as a continuation of the Rawang-Ipoh double-tracking and electrification project. Initially awarded to two consortium. The 329 km "Northern section" between Ipoh and Padang was to be handled by a consortium made up of the Indian Railway Construction Company (Ircon), DRB-Hicom Berhad and Emrail Sdn Bhd while the "Southern section" between Seremban and Johor Bahru was to be handled by a consortium made up of the China Railway Engineering Corporation-China Railway Telecommunications Corporation (CRET), DRB-Hicom Berhad and Hikmat Asia Sdn Bhd. However, on 21 October 2003, a letter of award was issued to a 50:50 joint venture between Gamuda Berhad and Malaysian Mining Corporation Berhad. The change in contractors was based on the fact that Gamuda-MMC lowered the project cost to RM14.448bil, compared with over RM44bil by the two foreign contractors. Members of the two previous consortia were invited to be sub-contractors and were given the first right of refusal but the invitation was not taken up.
On 17 December 2003, not long after taking over from Dr Mahathir Mohamad, new Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that the Malaysian government had decided to postpone the project. The government revived the project in 2007 when on March 16, Deputy Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak announced that the Cabinet Committee on Public Transport had decided to revive the shelved Northern section double tracking project. On 21 April 2007, Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy confirmed Ircon's participation in the "revived double-tracking project" and that the company will undertake the Seremban-Gemas portion of the Seremban-Johor Baru.
On 6 June 2007, Gamuda Berhad announced to Bursa Malaysia that it had received a letter from the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister's Department that the Malaysian government had agreed to Gamuda-MMC's proposal to implement the "Northern" section of the project on a private financing initiative basis. It added that negotiations on the formal agreement would begin as soon as possible. Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy said work on the Northern section will begin by the end of 2007 and is expected to be completed by Jan 2013.
On December 14, 2007, Gamuda announced that it together with MMC had received a letter of acceptance dated 13 December 2007 wherein the Malaysian Government accepted the proposal by the Gamuda-MMC joint venture to carry out the Electrified Double Tracking Project from Ipoh to Padang Besar on a design and build basis for a lump sum price of RM12.485 billion. The works comprises the design and construction of the infrastructure and system works in respect of the project which is to be completed within 60 months from the commencement date. The project cost has escalated due to rise in oil prices and building materials. The group managing director, Datuk Lin Yun Ling, added that the company will undertake only 20 percent of the whole project while the rest of the construction will be out sourced to various companies around the country. The project will be implemented as a construction contract with progressive payments, instead of private finance initiative envisioned earlier. The design and build contract between the joint venture company and the government of Malaysia is formally signed on July 25, 2008.
The project will consist of two sections, a 171 km stretch from Ipoh to Butterworth and another 158 km stretch from Bukit Mertajam to Padang Besar. It is expected that the Ipoh-Butterworth section will given a higher priority as it is a continuation from the Rawang stretch, and will eventually shorten the travel time between Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth to three hours. The project will also feature a 3.3 km tunnel in Perak, which will become the longest rail tunnel in South East Asia.
The government has announced on January 18, 2008 that site possession has been given to Gamuda MMC on January 8, 2008. Work on the site is expected to start immediately thereafter and completed by 2013. It is also noted that the tracks will have the design speed of 160 to 180 km/h although the operator is expect to use only 140 to 160 km/h 
On July 8, 2008, The joint venture company has announced that electrification and power supply contract has been awarded to Balfour Beatty group with a contract value of GBP 160 million. Work is expected to start immediately and complete by January 2013. On the same day, the signaling and communication package has been awarded to Ansaldo STS. The contract is expected to be worth Euro 135 million.
On March 2009, the project reached the 20% milestone and three months later, it completed 25% overall. According to the developer, the project is on schedule with expected completion by January 2013.
On December 2009, Gamuda, one of the main contractors of the project has announced that the government have extended the deadline to complete the project by 11 months to December 2013. This is due to late approval of the design and late hand over of lands from the authorities.
Construction has completed on October 2014 for the entire stretch.
The MYR 8 billion contract is expected to be tendered out by end 2008 pending a mid-term review of Ninth Malaysia Plan. The project includes building over 200 km of parallel railway tracks, including stations, depots, halts, yards and bridges and cover systems such as electrification, signaling and communications. This include realignment between Pulau Sebang, Melaka to Gemas section.
On May 2009, Global Rail Sdn Bhd, a relatively small contractor and its Chinese partner, China Infraglobe submitted a proposal to the Government to build and upgrade tracks from Gemas to Johor Baharu at a cost of MYR 5 billion. According to them, the project will be on a Private Finance Initiative basis and the plan submitted to the Finance Ministry later in June 2009 was conditional upon signing over mineral rights in Johor State.
On January 29, 2011, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said that The Gemas-Johor Bahru double-tracking and electrification project is expected to start this year. He added that the Government hoped to appoint the contractor for the project this year and Malaysia is still in the midst of talking with China Railway Construction, but nothing is confirmed yet. Kong said two consultants had been appointed, a design consultant and an independent checker, to monitor the project. The construction of the 197 km of tracks, at an estimated cost between MYR 6 billion and MYR 7 billion, would take three years.
Construction finally started on the Gemas - Johor Bahru stretch on September 2014.
Subang Jaya-Sri Subang-Subang Skypark-Sg. Buloh
The Electrified Double Tracking Project consists of two phases. Phase 1 is between Subang Jaya to Subang Skypark which has been awarded to Skypark Link-Lion Pacific and phase 2 is between Subang Skypark to KTM Sg. Buloh to relief rail cargo traffic bypass city centre of Kuala Lumpur.
The phase 1 between Subang Jaya and Terminal Skypark was funded by the Government through Ministry of Transport to provide rail based public transport especially to connect the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (SAAS) Airport Terminal and the vicinity area with the existing railway. The phase 1 line will be completed by 2016.
Generally, the project consists of two main section i.e. at grade section in between Subang Jaya and old Sri Subang spur line for the length of 4.09 km using the existing railway reserve previously funded by Petronas to transport fuel to the airport and also the new section in between new location of Sri Subang for the total length of 4.067 km which is elevated rail track along the existing Sungai Damansara river reserve and till end up at car park nearby Terminal Subang Skypark.
Other railway sections
As a legacy of the British colonial era, Singapore is the southern terminus of the KTM rail network. The existence of a Malaysian railway in Singapore has been challenged by Singapore. As per agreement between the two countries, the railway service to Singapore was already phased out, and the new terminus will be based at Tampines. However, it is likely that the section is a new track and will be electrified.
East Coast Line
Currently there are no plans to electrify or double track the KTM East Coast Line.
Sabah State Railway
Currently there are no plans to electrify or double track the Sabah State Railway.
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