China starts building Malaysia’s East Coast Rail Link

A Chinese company has begun building Malaysia’s $13bn East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), with Prime Minister Najib Razak (pictured) urging it to finish before 2024.

Razak said the ECRL, which will connect the east coast of peninsular Malaysia to its west coast, was a game and mindset changer at the groundbreaking ceremony on 9 August, Channel News Asia reported.

Earlier this year the government of Malaysia unveiled the route of the new service, which is planned to have 23 stations starting at Port Klang on the west coast near Kuala Lumpur, ending at Kelantan near the Thai border.

The ECRL is meant to cut the journey time between the two termini from a 12-hour drive to a four-hour train ride when complete in 2024.

The scheme is being mostly financed by China and built by China Communications Construction Company.

The ECRL is expected to create 80,000 jobs, and about 5.4 million passengers and 54 million tonnes of cargo are expected to use the service annually by 2030.

Image: Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak (Firdaus Latif/Wikimedia Commons)

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