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High-Speed Rail (HSR) has been around been around for decades. High speed trains refer to passenger rail systems running at operational speed between 200 and 300 km/h.

Taiwan High Speed Rail

Taiwan High Speed Rail (Photo credit: jiadoldol)

The high speed train passenger system era truly originates from Japan with the Tokaido line, bridging Tokyo and Osaka, which began in 1964 with the Tokyo Olympics.

Today, this transport mode is perceived as an efficient alternative to highway and airport congestion.

Evidence underline that travel time is cut in about a half when a high speed service begins between two city pairs.

The setting of high speed train systems has accelerated around the world over the last two decades, particularly in China where since 2000 high speed rail corridors have been rapidly set.

Several countries, including the United States, are also planning for high speed rail corridors, but these projects tend to take decades to implement.

The first high speed train networks were built to service national systems, mostly in a linear fashion along main corridors.

For the case of Europe this development has reached a phase where integration between different national high speed systems is taking place. This notably involves Eurostar (Paris – Lille – London) and Thalys (Paris – Brussels – Antwerp – Rotterdam – Amsterdam).

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) has been highly anticipated ever since the Malaysian Prime Minister announced in September 2010 the instigation of the HSR connecting the two neighbours.

Initiated by YTL Corp Bhd way back in the late 90s and 2006. In April 2008 Government announce that the project was put on hold indefinitely due to high cost. The government said that the model that YTL corp. was proposing requires the government to borne a significant amount of financing.

But in 2010, in one of the ETP (Economic Transformation Programme) initiative the idea of a HSR system was brought back.

The two-hours travelling on a HSR between Kuala Lumpur-Singapore mega-project could easily exceed the estimated RM45 billion costs.

But the travelling time could be as short as 90 minutes, depending on the number of stops, as can be seen from Taiwan’s HSR system from Taipei to Kaohsiung which has a distance of 335.5km, similar distance between Kuala Lumpur-Singapore.

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) in 2011 was quoted as saying other considerations to weigh in looking at the HSR were the impact on other parallel transportation as well as the demand and supply.

Source : BERNAMA, The Star and The Edge


(this article written for 1BINA.my)