In a significant milestone, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, accompanied by Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, presided over the official installation of the first track of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project. The momentous ceremony took place at the Section 10 ECRL station site in Gebeng, marking a historic step in the progress of this ambitious infrastructure endeavor.
The distinguished event witnessed the presence of key dignitaries, including Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook, China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) chairman Wang Tongzhou. Additionally, the Menteris Besar of the East Coast states of Peninsular Malaysia, where the ECRL alignment is located, were also in attendance.
The ECRL is a colossal railway project spanning 665 kilometers, featuring a total of 20 stations, comprising 10 passenger stations and 10 combined passenger and cargo stations. Launched on August 9, 2017, with an estimated cost of RM50 billion, this transformative initiative is slated to commence operations in January 2027. Passenger trains are expected to travel at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour, while freight trains will operate at 80 kilometers per hour.
Chairman Wang Tongzhou highlighted the significance of this event, emphasizing that it signifies a new era in the construction of Malaysia’s ECRL mega train infrastructure. The installation of the track symbolizes the commitment to progress, innovation, and the integration of meaningful mobility connectivity. CCCC is dedicated to delivering excellence, safety, and community continuity, aiming to create a rail transport system that embodies Malaysia’s aspirations for a connected future.
The inaugural installation of the track marks the commencement of the 94-kilometer track from the Kuantan Port City (KPC) station in Gebeng to Dungun, Terengganu, a phase expected to be completed within three to four months. Subsequent track installations will encompass the route from KPC Station to Temerloh and the northern extension from Dungun to Kota Bharu, Kelantan, before concluding with the track from Temerloh to Jalan Kastam, Selangor.
The track installation process employs the CCPG500A track-laying machine in conjunction with 500-meter long welded rails and pre-stressed mono-block sleepers. This approach ensures a robust foundation while minimizing vibrations during train movement, enhancing passenger comfort. The modern equipment facilitates track installation at an impressive rate of 1.5 to 2.5 kilometers per day, a significant advancement compared to the conventional method, which averages 500 to 700 meters per day.
To support the project, six diesel locomotives measuring 22 meters in length and capable of reaching a maximum speed of 100 kilometers per hour were imported from China in late October. These locomotives play a crucial role in transporting materials and facilitating the efficient execution of the ECRL.
The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) stands as a testament to Malaysia’s commitment to enhancing connectivity, transportation efficiency, and economic growth in the East Coast states of Peninsular Malaysia. As the project advances, it promises to unlock new opportunities and pave the way for a more connected and prosperous future for the region.