East Coast Rail Link back on track after cost reduction agreement

Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRLSB) and China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) signed a supplementary agreement which paved the way for the resumption of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project. In addition, both parties agreed to form a 50/50 joint-venture company to manage, operate and maintain the ECRL rail network.
The agreement covers the first two phases of the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the ECRL at a reduced cost of USD 10.7 billion (RM 44 billion). This represents a 32.8% reduction or USD 5.22 billion (RM 21.5 billion) from its original cost of USD 15.9 billion (RM 65.5 billion). The improved ECRL will cost USD 16.7 million (RM 68.7 million) per km compared to USD 22.2 million (RM 95.5 million) per km under the original agreement.
Under the agreement, CCCC will participate in the operation and maintenance of the ECRL through the JV to be set up. CCCC will provide technical support and share the operational risk after the project’s completion. This arrangement will ease the financial burden on Malaysia, which previously was to bear the entire cost of the operation and maintenance.
ECRL double-track line will have a total length of 640 km served by 20 stations, linking the East Coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang to Negeri Sembilan, Selangor and Federal Territory of Putrajaya. Initially, the line was designed to cross 4 states, but under the improvement agreement, it will now pass through 5 states and WP Putrajaya. The new Southern alignment will also provide a direct land link from Kuantan Port to Port Klang, serving as a land bridge between the two ports.
The new alignment will leverage on the existing KLIA Express Rail Link (ERL) as well as the future MRT2 Sungai Buloh–Serdang–Putrajaya line with an interchange in Putrajaya Central.
The passenger trains will travel at 160km/h, allowing for a more comfortable traveling experience between the East and West Coasts.
Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak said that the construction works will be launched in May.
2026 is the new ECRL’s completion date, extended from original 30 June 2024.

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