KUANTAN: Everything is set for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) ground-breaking ceremony at Kota Sultan Ahmad Shah (KotaSAS).
The site for the ceremony today is a kilometre from the planned ECRL KotaSAS Central Station.
Workers were seen setting up canopies and putting finishing touches for the event.
Excavators, cement trucks and other vehicles are ready to start construction as soon as the green light is given.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to be at the ceremony with Chinese state councillor Wang Yong, the special representative of President Xi Jinping.
The ECRL is a 688km electric railway system which will link the east coast states to the Greater Klang Valley.
Starting from Wakaf Bahru in Kelantan and ending in Port Klang, it will have 23 stations.
Passengers will be able to complete the journey, which currently takes 12 hours by road, in less than four hours.
It will connect townships such as Port Klang, ITT (Integrated Transport Terminal) Gombak, Bentong, Mentakab, Kuantan, Kemaman, Kerteh, Kuala Terengganu and Kota Baru.
Najib recently said the ECRL will boost the gross domestic product growth of the east coast by 1.5%.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said this is possible through the connection of Kuantan Port to Port Klang via the railway.
“Further to that, the ongoing expansion of Kuantan Port into a deep water port will accommodate more cargo. The ECRL will connect both ports and more cargo can then be dispersed easily through West Port.
“We are confident the ECRL will open a new chapter in public and cargo transport,” he said recently.
Liow added that the ECRL will not only increase economic growth but develop Pahang as well.
“Each station in Pahang will become a focus for development. Towns like Bentong, Men-ta kab and Kuantan are expected to see rapid development with the ECRL passing through them,” he said.
Liow said the ECRL is a double track railway but will start as a single track first.