A cross-border MRT link that will connect Singapore and Johor Baru in Malaysia is slated to begin passenger service by the end of 2024, ministers from the two countries announced today.
It was also announced that Singapore rail company SMRT and Malaysia’s metro operator Prasarana Malaysia Berhad will be exploring having a joint venture, which is an operating company to help design, build, finance and operate the trains, tracks and systems for the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link.
These were disclosed today during the 13th meeting of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia (JMCIM), held in Iskandar Puteri, Johor Baru. The committee was set up in 2007 as a collaboration between the two countries, and the meeting this round was co-chaired by Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.
The RTS Link will connect Woodlands in Singapore and Johor Baru via a high bridge across the Straits of Johor, with a connection to Singapore’s upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line.
Once the RTS Link starts passenger service, the Tebrau train service run by Malaysian railway operator KTM Berhad will cease operations.
The link is expected to carry up to 10,000 passengers per direction per hour.
On the operating company for the RTS Link, the panel said that it would be directly appointed for the first concession period.
Singapore and Malaysia will each be appointing an infrastructure company to fund, build, own, maintain and upgrade the civil infrastructure and stations within their own countries.
Earlier last year, it was reported that the link will adopt the systems of Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast Line, including its signalling system, communication system and integrated supervisory control system.
The terminus for Singapore’s side of the RTS Link will be at Woodlands North station, along the Thomson-East Coast Line. Malaysia has also chosen Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru as its main terminal for the link.
At the meeting, the JMCIM noted the “substantiative progress” achieved by the High Speed Rail (HSR) Work Group in planning the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR project. With the signing of the HSR bilateral agreement by the respective ministers on Dec 13 last year, the work of the HSR Work Group has been officially completed.
A HSR Bilateral Committee, led by senior government officials from both countries, has since been formed to oversee matters which may affect international services as well as other issues detailed in the bilateral agreement.
As for the upcoming HSR Assets Company tender, which will be called by the end of this year, interested parties were engaged on the tender parameters and procurement approach at a July industry briefing involving 165 entities from both countries and overseas.
The HSR Assets Company will be responsible for the design, build, finance and maintenance of rolling stock and operations of all rail assets, including network operations.
The JMCIM noted that the industry briefing was “well received” and also signalled the “continued strong interest from the market” on the project.
It was announced in July that six Singapore firms were teaming up to bid for projects related to the HSR. They are Clifford Capital, DBS, Sembcorp Design & Construction, SMRT International, Surbana Jurong and Singapore Technologies Electronics (ST Electronics).