Moving forward by stepping back – the KL-Singapore HSL

There has been lots of criticism on the proposed high speed rail line between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore (KL-SG HSL) due to costs, alignment, station in Singapore and proposed responsibilities. However, it is probably globally one of the few truly high-speed projects that are economically and ecologically sound.

At the moment, over 84 flights are connecting the two cities daily, with over 10’000 passengers. The flight takes a mere hour, but the time due to boarding and unboarding, leaving and reaching the city center brings it to over 3 hours. In comparison, the trip by car takes about 4.5hours and the proposed KL-SG HSL would take it to 90 minutes.

In May, the new government under Mahathir announced to hold the plans to reevaluate its costs, budgets and procurement design. This has perceptively taken the project back by years, but now, after 2 months of deliberation, the project appears to move forward again but possibly with a slower pace.

After the talks over the last months, Malaysia stated that they would like to delay the envisaged year of commencing operation in 2026. On the other hand, Malaysia will issue a tender to appoint a joint development partner this Wednesday.

I would not be surprised if the new partner finds ways to either find different financing to the project (i.e. going for more private funding), make the project progress faster or find ways to make it way cheaper. Anyway, I am still looking forward to once take this new railway connection.

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