Port Klang-Kota Bharu
East Coast Rail Line
 ECR 
CJ6-0601@BCR (20170328163813).jpg
CRRC Zhuzhou CJ6-type EMU proposed for inter-city rail line passenger services.
Overview
Native nameLaluan Rel Pantai Timur Pelabuhan Klang-Kota Bharu
StatusRevived, under construction [1]
28.57% as of 13 April 2022 [2]
OwnerMalaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd
LocaleSection A : Kota BharuPasir PutehJerteh - Bandar PermaisuriKuala Terengganu
Section B : DungunKemasikChukaiCheratingKuantan Port CityKotaSASGambangMaran
Section C : TemerlohBentongGombakSerendahPuncak AlamKaparNorthport/Westport
Stations20
Websitemrl.com.my
Service
TypeInter-city rail & Rail freight transport
Operator(s)Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd & CCCC Joint Venture
Depot(s)Kuantan Port City
Rolling stock6-car set EMU
Ridership5.40 million by 2030 (estimated)
History
Planned opening2027
Technical
Line length665 km (413 mi) Double Tracking Line on Double Tracking Formation.
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Electrification25 kV AC, 50 Hz Overhead line
Conduction systemWith driver
Operating speed160 km/h (passenger train)
80 km/h (freight train)
East Coast Rail Link
Proposed network
ECRL 1.0 (2017)
Pengkalan Kubor
Wakaf Bharu
KTM Intercity
MRL Kota Bharu
Jelawat
Tok Bali
Kelantan
Terengganu
state border
Kampung Raja
Penarik
Kuala Terengganu
Kuala Telemong
(proposed)
Pengkalan Berangan
Dungun
Bukit Besi spur line
Kerteh
(proposed)
Kemasik
Kemaman spur line
Chukai
Terengganu
Pahang
state border
Cherating
Kuantan Port City
Kuantan Port City spur line
Kota SAS
Kuantan Sentral
(proposed)
Gambang
Maran
Mentakab
KTM │ MRL
KTM Intercity
Bentong
Bentong Tunnel (
18 km
11 mi
)
Pahang
Selangor
state border
Gombak Utara
Gombak
Integrated Transport Terminal Gombak 5
Serendah
Puncak Alam
(future)
Kapar
(future)
KTM Jalan Kastam
Northport and Westport

ECRL 2.0 (2018)
MRL Kota Bharu
Pasir Puteh
Kelantan
Terengganu
state border
Jerteh
Bandar Permaisuri
Kuala Terengganu
Pengkalan Berangan (Future)
Dungun
Kemasik
Chukai
Terengganu
Pahang
state border
Cherating
Kuantan Port City
Kuantan Port City 2
Kota SAS
Gambang
Maran
Temerloh Interchange to Mentakab via spurline
KTM Intercity
Kemasul (Future)
Pahang
Negeri Sembilan
state border
Klawang
Nilai Sentral (Nilai Arab Industrial Park)
 ETS  1
Putrajaya Sentral
Jenjarom
Westport

ECRL 3.0 (2021)[3]
MRL Kota Bharu
Pasir Puteh
Kelantan
Terengganu
state border
Jerteh
Bandar Permaisuri
Kuala Terengganu
Pengkalan Berangan (Future)
Dungun
Kemasik
Chukai
Terengganu
Pahang
state border
Cherating
Kuantan Port City
Kuantan Port City 2
Kota SAS
Gambang
Maran
Temerloh Interchange to Mentakab via spurline
KTM Intercity
Bentong
Genting Tunnel (
18 km
11 mi
)
Pahang
Selangor
state border
Gombak Utara
Gombak
Integrated Transport Terminal Gombak 5
Serendah
 ETS  2
Puncak Alam
(future)
Kapar
(future)
KTM Jalan Kastam
Northport
Westport

The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) (Malay: Laluan Rel Pantai Timur) is a standard gauge double-track railway link infrastructure project connecting Port Klang on the Straits of Malacca to Kota Bharu in northeast Peninsular Malaysia, connecting the East Coast Economic Region states of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan to one another, and to the Central Region of the Peninsular's west coast.[4]

The railway link infrastructure project would carry both passengers and freight from the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia to its East Coast and vice versa. Construction began in August 2017.

On 3 July 2018, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) instructed China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) to suspend all works under the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract (EPCC) of the ECRL project. The suspension was then lifted few months later after signing of a supplementary agreement between MRL and CCCC in April 2019 on the revised construction cost and realignment of the southern route of the rail link.[5][6][7]

Project proposal

Infrastructure

The project provides for the double tracking and standard gauge railway line. The infrastructure includes spur lines, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, depots, stations and a signalling system.

Board of directors

Chairman: Tan Sri Mohammad Zuki Ali

Director: Dato’ Sri Fauzi Abdul Rahman

Services

According to the first realignment, the inter-city passenger trains will use 6 car-train sets for EMUs travelling at 160 km per hour, cutting travel time from Kota Bharu to Putrajaya and Port Klang to around four and six hours respectively. The freight (cargo) trains use electric locomotives running at 80 km per hour.[8][9]

Meanwhile, for international freight service from China to Europe via Malaysia, the original alignment of ECRL is expected to help reduce the shipping time by as much as 30 hours.[10][11]

Stations

Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap  Download coordinates as: KML

The project provides 20 stations, comprising 14 passenger stations, 5 combined passenger and freight stations, and 1 freight station.[12]

Project background

The project forms part of China's Belt and Road Initiative. On 15 March 2016, Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD) and East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), conducting a marketing exercise to gauge market interest, and seek views and ideas for the ECRL via a Request for Information (RFI).[14][15]

In November 2016, a framework finance deal and construction agreement, valued at USD13.1 billion, was signed by the Malaysian Government and the state-owned China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC). The deal was criticised by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed as being lopsided. “When it involves giving contracts to China, borrowing huge sums of money from China, and the contract goes to China, and China contractors prefer to use their own workers from China, use everything imported from China, even the payment is not made here, it's made in China ... that kind of contract is not something that I welcome”.[16]

Starting 8 March 2017, the plan is opened for public inspection for three months at Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) head office and 38 other locations including district offices.[17]

The 3-month Public Inspection for Phase One of the ECRL received some 95 percent approval from 17,000 respondents across 15 east coast districts.[18] SPAD had granted approval for Phase One of the ECRL railway schedule on 23 June 2017 which covers about 600 km of track. An Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the ECRL has also been completed and endorsed by the Department of Environment on 20 June 2017.[19]

On 9 August 2017, then Prime Minister Najib Razak presided at the groundbreaking ceremony in Pahang state, marking the beginning of construction. He said "The construction of this rail link is in line with the government's initiative for efficient national infrastructure as well as connecting towns and upgrading public transport in the rural areas of the east coast."[20]

Upon the change of government due 2018 Malaysian general election, the newly-elected Pakatan Harapan government initially decided to cancel the project citing high cost as the main factor.[21] However, instead of cancellation, the ECRL route was then realigned with major changes made on the Section C route between Port Klang and Mentakab, Pahang.[22]

After the fall of Pakatan Harapan government due to Sheraton move, the new Perikatan Nasional is planning to revert the ECRL route back to its original alignment.[9]

Railway alignment

Original alignment

Phase 1

The proposed alignment for Phase 1 of the railway features 22 stations running along a 600.3 km route. The new rail link is projected to connect passengers from Kota Bharu in Kelantan to ITT Gombak in Selangor in less than four hours.[23]

It will start north of Kuala Lumpur at the Integrated Transport Terminal Gombak (ITT Gombak), the future interchange with the Kelana Jaya Line and main long-distance bus terminal. From the Klang Valley the line will run east through the state of Pahang, serving the towns of Bentong, Mentakab, Maran and Gambang, KotaSAS before reaching the state capital, Kuantan where there will be two stations namely Kuantan Port City 2 (freight) and Kuantan Port City 1 (passenger).

From Kuantan, the line will turn north to Cherating before entering the state of Terengganu, where it will serve the towns of Chukai, Kemasik, Kerteh (Provisional), Dungun, Pengkalan Berangan, state capital Kuala Terengganu as well as via Telaga Papan and Kampung Raja area.

The ECRL will continue north into Kelantan, serving stations at Tok Bali and Jelawat, before ending at Kota Bharu.[24]

The rail link includes a total of 50 km of tunnelling and underground alignment. The tunnelling works will be carried out along the Gombak-Bentong area where the single-longest twin hill-tunnel spanning 18 km will be built under the Titiwangsa Mountains. There will also be several underground lines, including in the heavily populated Gombak area near the Kuala Lumpur city centre.[25]

Phase 2

Phase 2 of ECRL will have an estimated length of 88 km. This phase will cover the stretch from Gombak North to Port Klang (Jalan Kastam) through Serendah and two more future station located at Puncak Alam and Kapar. As well, a further extension between Kota Bharu and Pengkalan Kubor will also be built. The cost of construction for this section of the ECRL is RM9 billion. With Phase 1 and Phase 2 combined, the total length of the entire line is about 688 km and the construction cost amounting to RM55 billion.[26][27]

First realignment

Due to the change of government in 2018, the new Pakatan Harapan government initially planned to cancel the project but instead decided to realign the route especially on the Section C between Port Klang and Mentakab, Pahang.[21][22] This realignment would add extra two hours of travelling time between Kota Bharu to Port Klang from the original four hours to six hours.[9]

Below are the new changes made due to the realignment.[28]

and the following stations were shifted to another place or new stations:

Second realignment

Due to another change of government from Pakatan Harapan to Perikatan Nasional in 2020, the Perikatan Nasional government is planning to revert the ECRL route back to its original alignment.[9]

In March 2021, the second realignment is confirmed with the reversion of the alignment to its original alignment with added improvement by passing through Serendah and linking Port Klang with West and North Port. The decision was said to enable the construction of a meter gauge bypass line from Serendah to Port Klang for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) to be included into the new ECRL alignment. Section C alignment from Serendah - Port Klang will be on dual gauge (MRL - 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in), KTM - 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in)). The bypass line will make the KTMB rail services more efficient as it serves as a significant freight relief line to the KTMB which currently faces bottlenecks when traversing Kuala Lumpur's central business district (CBD) and relieves the concerns for public safety as KTMB cargo containing hazardous materials need to go through KL Sentral, Bank Negara and several other stations due to the freight congestion.[29]

This latest realignment will add 25 km more of rail tracks totaling to 665 km.[29]

The alignment was confirmed on 2 December 2021 after the Selangor state government agreed to having the original southern alignment known as Section C. The project cost remains unchanged at RM50.27b, with supplementary agreements signed to formalise the alignment.[30][31]

Fleet

Passenger EMU

Passenger services will be operated by a fleet of 11 sets of six-car CJ6-type EMUs, each accommodating up to 440 passengers. The EMUs will be eco-friendly and produce less noise than other EMUs.[32]

Rail freight locomotive

One electric locomotive is capable of haulage up to 45 wagons with 3500 tonnes cargo. A fleet of 18 sets locomotives features container wagon, box wagon & open wagon.

Owner and operator

The ECRL will be owned by Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL), a special purpose vehicle wholly owned by the Minister of Finance (Incorporated) (MoF Inc).[33] It will be jointly operated and maintained by a 50:50 joint-venture between MRL and CCCC.[34]

References

  1. ^ "ECRL construction progress ahead of target". Malaysiakini. 22 December 2020. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Progression of ECRL construction at 28.57pc, says MRL CEO". Malay Mail. 13 April 2022. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  3. ^ https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/ecrl-alignment-extended-665km-says-wee ECRL alignment extended to 665km, says Wee
  4. ^ "ECRL Project Information". mrl.com.my. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  5. ^ "MRL instructs CCCC to suspend ECRL works on grounds of national interest". The Edge Markets. 4 July 2018.
  6. ^ Anis, Mazwin Nik; Jr, Joseph Kaos; Carvalho, Martin. "Work on ECRL expected to resume next month - Nation | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Focus of new tenders in revised ECRL in south, says CIMB Research - Business News | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  8. ^ "FAQ For 2019 ECRL". www.mrl.com.my. Archived from the original on 17 April 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d "Newsbreak: ECRL could see change in alignment again". The Edge Markets. 13 July 2020. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Malaysia's East Coast Rail Line touted as a game changer". The Straits Times. 22 December 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  11. ^ "Pulau Indah's time to shine". Edge Prop. 14 January 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  12. ^ "MRL - Enriching Lives, Prospering The Nation". www.mrl.com.my. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  13. ^ "LAPORAN SECOND SCHEDULE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA) FOR EAST COAST RAIL LINK (ECRL) PROJECT, SECTION A (KOTA BHARU TO DUNGUN) – Enviro Knowledge Center".
  14. ^ "EAST COAST RAIL LINE (ECRL) PROJECT". SPAD. Archived from the original on 10 August 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  15. ^ "SPAD initiates RFI to gauge market interest for East Coast Rail Line". THE EDGE. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Mahathir: nothing to fear from China, but lopsided deals must end". 19 June 2018.
  17. ^ "ECRL project to boost GDP of three East Coast states by 1.5pc". 8 March 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  18. ^ Hidir Reduan (9 August 2017). "Najib lambasts those who criticise ECRL project despite massive benefits to rakyat". New Straits Times.
  19. ^ "ECRL To Bring Changes To Economic Development Landscape". malaysiandigest.com. Archived from the original on 10 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Malaysia breaks ground on East Coast Rail Link". 9 August 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Malaysia to cancel $20 billion China-backed rail project: minister". Reuters. 26 January 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  22. ^ a b "Mahathir explains why ECRL realigned to the south". malaysiakini. 15 April 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  23. ^ "BERNAMA - ECRL Project A Game Changer For Malaysia - PM Najib". www.bernama.com. Archived from the original on 21 August 2017.
  24. ^ "Malaysia unveils East Coast Rail Link alignment". Railjournal.com. 10 March 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  25. ^ "Gamuda and IJM set to gain from East Coast Rail Link project". The Star. Malaysia. 14 March 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  26. ^ "Najib witnesses signing of ECRL Phase Two construction agreement | Malaysia General Business Sports and Lifestyle News". New Straits Times. 13 May 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  27. ^ "M'sia inks second phase deals on ECRL and Malacca-Pengerang pipeline". Malaysiakini.com. 13 May 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  28. ^ "ECRL Key Facts". mrl.com.my. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  29. ^ a b "ECRL extension, two-port connectivity a significant move, says expert". The Star Online. 15 March 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  30. ^ Meng, Yew Choong (2 December 2021). "Selangor approves original ECRL northern alignment". The Star. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  31. ^ "ECRL project cost remains at RM50.27b, says transport minister". Malay Mail. 2 December 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2022.
  32. ^ "Projek Laluan Rel Pantai Timur (ECRL) – Menyatu Kehidupan, Memacu Pertumbuhan". 2 September 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2017 – via YouTube.
  33. ^ "MoF's MRL To Own And Operate RM55b ECRL". Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  34. ^ "MRL - Enriching Lives, Prospering The Nation". www.mrl.com.my. Retrieved 18 April 2019.