The Kuala Lumpur–Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) is a planned railway from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Singapore via a high-speed rail line. This would be a new line on a different route to the current KL-Singapore railway.
The high-speed railway would travel at a speed of 320km/h over 350 kilometres, with a travel time of 90 minutes for the express service. There would also be a service stopping at six stations between Singapore and KL.
Kuala Lumpur–Singapore high-speed rail history
Plans for a high-speed line were proposed after the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, and was revived in 2010. In 2013 the leaders of the two countries agreed to go ahead with the project. Planning continued for the project over the next few years, and by the end of 2106 a bilateral agreement for the development was formally signed by the two countries’ Prime Ministers.
Work was due to begin on the project in 2108, but then in May 2018 a new government was elected in Malaysia, sweeping out the party who had been in power since Malaysian independence in 1959. Within a month of the election, the new government announced it would cancel the project. It later backtracked and said the project would be postponed pending investigation of costs. A decision on the project is due at the end of May, 2020.
An alternative to flying
There is perhaps no other city pair in the world that is more ideal for an international high-speed train service than Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
In 2018 Singapore – Kuala Lumpur became the world’s busiest international flight route. It’s only about 30 minutes of flying time, but time is lost by clearing immigration and getting to and from the airports.
For the train service, immigration proceedings of both countries’ would be done at the point of departure (similar to how Eurostar operates). That means you can walk straight off the train with your bags and onwards to local transport. For point-to-point travel the train would be faster than flying.
There will be eight stations in total, with seven in Malaysia and one in Singapore. The two terminal stations will be incorporated into urban redevelopment projects in each city. They will be new central business districts that plan to capitalise on their location near the terminals.
Location: Bandar Malaysia
The high-speed railway will be at a new station and not the current main train station (KL Sentral). Bandar Malaysia is at the site of the old airport and former air force base (Sungai Besi Airport). The site is close to the city centre, presenting an opportunity to design a terminal station around a new city, and integrate it with the new metro line. Read more about the Bandar Malaysia project.
Location: Kampung Abu Bakar Baginda
Seremban is the only station that intersects with a town on the KTM line. It’s not mentioned if there is an interchange or if the stations are in different parts of the city.
Location: Ayer Keroh, Melaka
Melaka is one of the biggest tourism drawcards of Malaysia, but it doesn’t have a railway line. The station would be about 13km from the Melaka old town area, so shuttle buses timed with arriving trains would make an easy day trip from KL or Singapore.
Location: Bandar Universiti Pagoh
Location: Pura Kencana, Sri Gading
Location: Gerbang Nusajaya
Location: Jurong East
Singapore used to have a central railway station, but that closed down in 2011 and the line was decommissioned.
The Singapore terminal will be in a new urban area in Jurong East. There is a plan to develop a second CDB here known as Jurong Lake District. If they get this right it might become a destination in its own right.
Jurong East is on the East West MRT line, which connects the city centre to Changi Airport.
High-speed railway will boost our growth – [07/06/20]
“A decision was taken to defer till the end of the year the high-speed rail (HSR) project linking Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor with Singapore. This will be the last extension for Malaysia and Singapore to finalise technicalities before the project’s launch.”
Singapore, Malaysia defer high speed rail project – [02/06/20]
“Singapore has agreed to Malaysia’s request for a seven-month extension to the High Speed Rail (HSR) project suspension, till year-end.”
Govt urged to roll out three mega projects to spur post-Covid-19 economy – [20/04/20]
“Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim said the three multi-billion ringgit projects — the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) and National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) — could spur the sleeping economy and repair the economic damage left behind by the pandemic.”
Construction in Malaysia threatened by PM’s resignation – [27/02/20]
“Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has resigned in a surprise move that threatens the ruling coalition, as well as major construction projects and the country’s 2020 GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth.”
Fitch unit sees KL-Singapore High Speed Rail back on track soon – [13/02/20]
“Malaysia and Singapore are likely to revive the suspended high-speed rail link between the two countries in the “short term”, Fitch Macro Solutions Research predicted.”
Japan awaits Malaysia’s decision on Shinkansen HSR proposal – [08/02/20]
“Japan is enthusiastically awaiting Malaysia’s response to the proposed Shinkansen high speed rail (HSR) project, connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. International High-Speed Rail Association chairman Masafumi Shukuri said that he expects a firmer decision to be made after certain specifications are finalised by May.”
KL-Singapore HSR should not cost more than RM30bil – [04/01/20]
KL – Singapore high-speed review to be completed this year – [28/06/19]
“Malaysia High-Speed Rail Corporation (MyHSR) says it is on course to complete a review of proposed changes to the Kuala Lumpur – Singapore high-speed project by the end of the year after appointing consultants to carry out the evaluation.”
Malaysia gears up for restart of high-speed rail project – [10/05/19]
“The Malaysian government is seeking a consultant to help update the business case for a proposed high-speed rail link to Singapore in order to be ready for project preparations to resume next year.”
Malaysia to restart $34bn Kuala Lumpur development with Chinese partner – [23/04/19]
“The government of Malaysia has said it plans to resurrect Bandar Malaysia, the country’s biggest ever real estate development, which it terminated in May 2017 after a dispute with a consortium made up of Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC).”
KL-Singapore HSR not necessary; priority is to improve existing rail network: Mahathir – [16/04/19]
“A high-speed rail project connecting Kuala Lumpur to Singapore is not necessary at the moment for Malaysia, who should focus its efforts instead on improving the quality of its existing railway services, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday (Apr 16).”
‘BN govt didn’t reveal hidden costs of HSR project’ – [19/07/18]
“The previous Barisan Nasional government did not reveal the hidden costs of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said. Speaking at the Dewan Rakyat, Azmin said this could be seen in the actual cost of the project, which was RM110 billion, and not RM55 billion as announced by the BN administration.”
Cheaper alternative to KL-Singapore high speed rail will cost $6b instead of $20b – [18/06/18]
“An alternative proposal to have a railway link to Singapore by upgrading the present infrastructure will only cost the government RM20bil (S$6.76 billion) – much lower than the high speed rail (HSR) project which will cost between RM60bil and RM70bil (S$20 billion to 23 billion).”
Report: KL-Singapore rail link could be RM50b cheaper – [18/06/18]
“Plans for a rail connection between Malaysia’s capital and the city-state of Singapore can still proceed without Putrajaya paying a penalty for calling off the High Speed Rail (HSR) project.”
HSR project postponed, not scrapped, Dr M tells Japanese media (updated) – [12/06/18]
“Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad seemed to have walked back from an earlier decision when he told a Japanese publication that the high-speed rail project had been merely postponed, not cancelled.”
Joint tender called for KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project – [20/12/17]
“Malaysia and Singapore called a joint tender on Wednesday (Dec 20) for the company that will design, build, finance and maintain the trains and rail assets of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR).”
Four high speed trains per hour for KL-SG HSR – [08/12/17]
High speed rail station concepts inspired by culture, people and identity – [24/10/17]
“Architectural design concepts for the stations on the Malaysian section of the future Kuala Lumpur – Singapore high speed line were unveiled at the MyStations – Transforming Malaysia event on October 17.”
PM Najib unveils concept designs for KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail stations – [17/10/17]
“Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday (Oct 17) unveiled the concept designs for the seven new stations along the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) in Malaysia.”
Developers lobby for KL-Singapore high-speed rail station in Forest City – [14/10/17]
“If Country Garden’s proposal is adopted, it will likely take the form of a spur line – or a short branch line – on the transit service in Malaysia, leaving the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur express route unaffected.”
Why are Chinese and Japanese firms eager to throw US$10.5 billion in Bandar Malaysia? – [10/08/17]
“Bandar Malaysia is seen as a crucial stepping stone to the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) link.”
Kuala Lumpur – Singapore design consultants appointed – [03/04/17]
“Promoter MyHSR Corp has selected a mix of international and domestic firms to work as Reference Design Consultants on the Kuala Lumpur – Singapore high speed line project, the company announced on April 3.”
SLA buys back Raffles Country Club site to make way for KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail – [04/01/17]
“THE Singapore Land Authority (SLA) on Wednesday gazetted the acquisition of the land occupied by the Raffles Country Club (RCC) along Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim.”
Kuala Lumpur – Singapore high speed rail agreement signed – [13/12/16]
“A bilateral agreement for the development of the 350 km Kuala Lumpur – Singapore high speed rail project was signed on December 13, when the two countries’ Prime Ministers took part in their annual retreat, which was this year was held at Putrajaya in Malaysia.”
Do Malaysia and Singapore really need a high-speed rail link? – [11/12/16]
“Tussle involving Japanese and Chinese firms puts high-speed rail contract under the microscope.”
China Railway Group plans “world’s largest underground city” in Kuala Lumpur – [27/10/16]
“The Kuala Lumpur terminal of the Singapore-to-Malaysia high speed rail line will be “the world’s largest underground city” and a “glittering gem on China’s rail corridor”, China Railway Group has said.”
Japan PM promotes Shinkansen ‘bullet’ train to Singapore – [28/09/16]
“Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe used a meeting with his Singaporean counterpart on Wednesday to promote Japan’s Shinkansen “bullet” train technology for use in a planned high-speed railway linking Singapore and Malaysia.”
HSR to serve as a growth catalyst for Malacca – [22/07/16]
“The state government of Malacca expects the High-Speed Rail (HSR) service from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore to be a catalyst for growth for Ayer Keroh and other nearby areas.”
A bridge more likely than undersea tunnel: Experts – [21/07/16]
“In connecting Singapore and Malaysia, will the planned high-speed rail (HSR) run across a bridge spanning the Johor Strait, or will an undersea tunnel have to be built for it? The decision will be made jointly by the governments of both countries.”
China, Japan jostle for lead role in Singapore-KL rail project – [12/04/16]
“Malaysia and Singapore have yet to iron out major elements that will shape the multibillion-dollar high- speed rail project that will link the island state with Kuala Lumpur. But that has not deterred the governments of China and Japan from pressing their influence on the two South-east Asian neighbours to position their home-grown engineering concerns advantageously, ahead of an international tender to be called in the first quarter of next year.”
‘Underground city’ plan for KL township – [01/01/16]
“The developers plan to turn this corner of Kuala Lumpur into the capital city’s central transport hub that features the Malaysian terminus for the proposed high- speed rail between Singapore and Malaysia.”
KL-S’pore high-speed rail won’t stop at Putrajaya – [27/12/15]
“High-speed rail (HSR) trains plying between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will not stop at Putrajaya, MyHSR Corp – a unit under the Malaysian Ministry of Finance tasked with undertaking the project – has confirmed.”
Five ways the high-speed rail will change Singapore forever – [06/05/15]
“Jurong East: It will transform the sleepy hollow of the Jurong Lake District, which is about the size of Marina Bay. PM Lee says it will become the next commercial hub outside the CBD and the new terminal station is likely to be built there.”
Singapore, Malaysia push back deadline for fast rail link – [05/05/15]
“Singapore and Malaysia have decided to push back an initial deadline of 2020 for the completion of a high-speed rail link between the wealthy city state and Kuala Lumpur, their prime ministers said today, citing the complexity of the project.”
Singapore-Kuala Lumpur distance ‘ideal for high-speed rail’ – [24/12/14]
“The estimated distance of 320km to 340km between Singapore and the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur is ideal for a high-speed rail, say experts.”
S. Korea keen on high-speed rail project – [26/11/14]
Singapore-KL high-speed rail link back on the drawing board – [26/02/13]
“First proposed before 1997 crisis, new line that would whisk commuters back and forth in 90 minutes could open by 2020.”
Kuala Lumpur – Singapore high speed railway agreement – [19/02/13]
“An agreement to build a high speed railway between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is included in the joint statement issued by the Prime Ministers of Malaysia and Singapore following their annual retreat on February 19.”
Transport operators all for high-speed rail link – [23/09/10]
“Major transport operators have expressed support for a renewed proposal to have a high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.”