China’s state planning commission earlier held a forum in Singapore on Friday (Nov 17) where the Chinese signal their intent to bid for the Singapore – Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail (HSR) project.
The symposium at Shangri-La Hotel held by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) was intended to promote the country’s expertise in high-speed trains.
Representatives of Singapore’s Ministry of Transport, including Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, were seen in the event.
The 350 km-long HSR line will cut off the travel time from Malaysia to Singapore from 4 hours drive to just 90 minutes in a train travel. It will travel at a top speed of 300km/hour. The terminus in Malaysia will be at the site of a former air force base in Kuala Lumpur, Bandar Malaysia, while the one in Singapore will be at Jurong East.
Construction is planned to start in 2018 and the HSR is targeted to be up and running by 2026.
Mr Ning Jizhe, NDRC vice-chairman said, “We are actively preparing to participate in the tender.”
Mr Ning stated that the Chinese HSR network and system boast of the highest levels of safety, comfort, speed and energy efficiency.
He said, “China has experience with the running of HSR in tropical climates, and has the world’s only tropical round-island HSR,” referring to the high-speed train service around southern Hainan Island.
Mr Ning stressed that this allowed China better understanding of how to run and maintain the service in Singapore’s local climate, adding that the Chinese proposal will be less expensive than rival proposals from Japan and Europe, at about 60 per cent of the required construction costs.
The Chinese representatives also listed Singapore and China’s strong trade relationships as an additional motivation for the two to work together on this project.