PETALING JAYA: The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) passenger train will travel at a maximum speed of 160kmh upon the commencement of commercial operations in January 2027, says Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL).
MRL, the project owner of the ECRL pointed out that its rail infrastructure including foundation works, rail track, rail signalling system and rolling stock have been specifically developed based on a design speed of less than 200kmh.
"Since its inception in August 2017, the ECRL Project has planned, managed and implemented its rail infrastructure on the premise of a fast train for passengers and not a high-speed train which industry standards dictate a running speed of at least 250kmh.
"The ECRL Project’s rail alignment has also been designed with horizontal curves and cants (superelevation) and gradient that is not on par with high-speed rail track.
"This is considering a sizable section of the alignment in the East Coast states is built on sites with poor soil condition, cutting through hilly terrain and traverse wide river crossings,” it said in a statement on Saturday (Nov 18).
MRL issued the statement to clarify prominent Chinese scholar Victor Gao’s views that the ECRL could increase its speed to 351kmh instead of 160kmh.
Gao, the chair professor at Soochow University and vice president of the Centre for China and Globalisation, had said the ECRL could be completed ahead of time and increase its speed to 351km/h to outdo Indonesia’s high-speed railway project.
MRL also highlighted that the ECRL was primarily designed for cargo transportation, with the revenue ratio during operations projected to be 70% freight and 30% passengers.
"Therefore, the ECRL passenger service that has been added is largely constrained by the design requirements for its freight trains.
"The ECRL alignment, although using standard gauge (1.435m) tracks, will also cater to the operation of its freight locomotives and wagons that will travel at a maximum speed of 80kmh only," the statement read.
MRL said the ECRL passenger train could also link Kota Bharu in Kelantan to the Integrated Transport Terminal (ITT) in Gombak, Selangor in four hours.
The 665km-long ECRL would traverse the East Coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang before linking the Klang Valley on the west coast of the peninsula.