SINGAPORE: The prospect of dinner in Kuala Lumpur's Jalan Alor, supper in Malacca's Jonker Street and a return to Singapore before clubbing hours is looking more likely, going by published details of the planned high-speed rail (HSR) link between KL and Singapore.
According to Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission, the rail service is proposed to have stops in Seremban, Ayer Keroh (Malacca), Muar, Batu Pahat and Nusajaya in Johor, not far from a motorsports hub being built by Singapore tycoon Peter Lim.
Passengers will take 2 1/2 hours to go from KL to Singapore, said the commission. This includes time for waiting, transfers and immigration clearance, and is shorter than the five hours by car and four by plane.
Actual travel time between the two cities is estimated at 90 minutes.
Besides an express service, the line will also have transit trains that stop at the cities in between.
With stops, travel time could be one to two hours longer.
The commission estimated that the HSR will carry up to 49,000 passengers daily by its 10th year of operation, giving rise to an annual ridership of 17.9 million.
It predicts that annual ridership will hit 251 million by 2060. In comparison, the HSR link between Taipei and Kaohsiung - about the length of the Singapore-KL link - has an annual ridership of 44.5 million.
In 2011, the southern corridor, which the proposed KL-Singapore HSR will ply, accounted for 7.45 billion trips by car, bus and plane, according to the commission.
A spokesman for the commission said it may be able to share more details in September.
The Straits Times understands that the Singapore and Malaysian governments have been meeting once a month on the project.
In Singapore, the LTA called a tender in April for a feasibility study on possible locations of the HSR's terminus in the Republic.
Three possible sites have been raised: Tuas West, Jurong East and the city centre.
The authority said the tender has not yet been awarded, but it has received inquiries from several countries which are keen to take part in the project. These include Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Like many on both sides of the Causeway, Barry Kan is excited about the line.
The chief executive of FASTrack Autosports, a Singapore-led company that is building a race track in Nusajaya, said: "We heard there will be a station near our circuit, but there's been no official confirmation.
"If there is one, it will be more convenient for Singaporeans for sure. But even if there wasn't a station, I think enthusiasts will still come to the track."
In an interview with The Star last month, Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission chief executive Mohamad Nur Ismal Kamal said train fares will be comparable to budget airline fares. - The Straits Times
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