Malaysia starts building its rapid rail link to Singapore

Malaysia kicked off construction of the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link to Singapore yesterday (22 November) with a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the planned Bukit Chagar station in Johor Bahru on the Malaysian side of the Johor Strait.

The 4km railway was suspended last year by Malaysia’s then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad owing to its cost, but the new government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin revived it in July.

With just two stations – Bukit Chagar and Woodlands North in Singapore – the link will carry some 41,400 people a day over the strait in around six minutes to ease congestion on the Johor-Singapore Causeway, when services begin at the end of 2026.

"The RTS Link project is a rail project which is fast and efficient to facilitate more convenient travel between Singapore and Malaysia, especially for the comfort of Johor residents," said Mr. Mohd Zarif, chief executive of Malaysia Rapid Transit System (MRTS), the owner of the Malaysian section of the link, reports Channel News Asia (CNA).

The total cost of the link is estimated at approximately US$2.445bn (RM10 billion), reports CNA.

Singapore and Malaysia agreed to spit the cost 61:39, with Singapore carrying the bigger share, leaving a bill for Malaysia of some US$953.8m

Work on the Malaysian section is expected to be carried out by local contractors, Malaysian company Adil Permata appointed to do early work, said CNA.

"The RTS Link project will expand the supply chain and develop the rail technology industry in Johor and provide jobs with the depot in Wadi Hana," said Mohd Zarif.

Image: Illustration shows the alignment of the RTS Link, with a bridge carrying trains over the Johor Strait south to Woodlands in Singapore (MRTS)

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