The development of a well-maintained transportation network is becoming synonymous with a country’s economic growth and competitiveness
This article looks at aspects of Malaysia’s investment in rail transportation from a supplier perspective as an important factor in achieving economic growth.
Shift in modal connectivity
Private cars are a convenient, popular mode of transportation in Southeast Asia but create increased road congestion and pollution which is worsened by rapid urbanisation. Faced with these issues, trends in public policy have been shifting towards more sustainable forms of public transport to improve mobility and services, also supporting growth and competitiveness.
Malaysia is one country at the forefront of developing its integrated public transportation network to provide a people-centric, reliable and sustainable system, including through a high level of investment in rail.
Malaysia’s transformation programme
The government of Malaysia has foreseen that developing urban mobility will support its ambition to transform the country into a high-income economy by 2020. Its Government and Economic Transformation Programmes, announced in 2010, include plans to develop the country’s urban transit network and boost rural connections.
This has been driven since then by the Land Public Transport Commission (known as SPAD) with one part of its long-term vision to increase public transport modal share in urban areas to 40 per cent by 2030 (according to SPAD). In addition, major investment is underway to improve public transportation infrastructure across the densely-populated and growing Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL)/Klang Valley area including through rail projects such as the new Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) and expansion of existing monorail and light rail transit lines.
Fast forward to today and this investment in rail is starting to have an impact. The capacity and reach of the KL’s LRT has been increased through new extensions and investment in the vehicle fleets and in 2017, full operation started on Line 1 of the new KVMRT. And Bombardier Transportation, with its well-established presence in Malaysia and range of global solutions, is playing a significant part to boost this connectivity.
Partnership for sustainable transportation
Bombardier’s role in Malaysia began in 1992 as lead supplier for the 27-kilometre Kuala Lumpur Sri Petaling and Ampang Lines, formerly known as Sistem Transit Aliran Ringan (STAR) and now operated by RapidKL, which started revenue service in 1996.
In addition, the BOMBARDIER INNOVIA APM 100 transit system has run at Kuala Lumpur International Airport since 1998 and, in 2004, Bombardier delivered 20 Blue Tiger Locomotives, for freight and express trains, to the Malaysian National Railways KTMB.
During the 1990’s, the 29-kilometre Kelana Jaya LRT, Malaysia’s first fully-automated, driverless metro entered service in time for the1998 Commonwealth Games, linking the western and eastern suburbs with Kuala Lumpur’s downtown core.
A Bombardier Consortium supplied an INNOVIA ART 200 advanced rapid transit system for the line which included all of the electrical and mechanical equipment, vehicles and services.
According to Prasarana Malaysia Berhad, responsible for upgrading Malaysia’s public transport services, the line had become the busiest line on the KL network by January 2017, moving up to 254,854 passengers daily, with passenger demand expected to surge further. As a result, enhancements are being implemented to the line which have included an LRT extension programme to connect the Kelana Jaya and Ampang Lines as well as upgrades to the fleet.
Bombardier continues to support Prasarana, delivering 14 additional vehicles to the Kelana Jaya Line since 2009 and a latest order for 27 INNOVIA Metro 300 trains to be delivered by 2022. Operating with the new trains, the line can carry up to 30,000 passengers per-hour, per-direction, and ridership has increased by 26 per cent since early 2017, after the first new vehicle started operation.
Whilst the INNOVIA Metro 300 trains are designed and largely constructed in Kingston, Canada, interior fit-out and final completion is carried out in Malaysia, at the Westport facility of the Bombardier Hartasuma Consortium.
Further to support the rising ridership due to extension of the line, Bombardier is also adding value to the life cycle of the train fleets by refurbishing the original trains. The Bombardier Hartasuma consortium is converting the original two-car trains to a four-car configuration with inter-car walkthrough which will increase passenger capacity and comfort, to be completed by 2020.
Spanning the value chain
Kuala Lumpur is not stopping at upgrading existing lines and the new Klang Valley MRT is one of the largest transport infrastructure construction projects in Malaysia, adding three new lines to KL’s network to connect new areas of the city.
Bombardier, working with local partner Global Rail, is equipping the first two new lines of the system with its fully-automated, driverless CITYFLO 650 communications-based train control (CBTC) technology.
The 51 kilometres Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) Line 1 began full operation in July 2017 serving a corridor of an estimated 1.2 million residents. The system features a centralised control centre system and advanced radio-based communications. Driverless trains operate with a peak-time frequency of less than three and a half-minute intervals and at speeds of just under 100 kph and passengers can cross the capital in under 90 minutes. With a final targeted ridership of 400,000 passengers, the new line has the potential to remove 160,000 vehicles from the road.
Since 2016, Bombardier and Global Rail are also equipping the 52.2 kilometres Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP) Line 2 with the solution.
Reflecting its range of rail systems in 2012, Bombardier provided its onboard signalling technology for KL’s existing ‘KTM Komuter’ cross-city routes which initially started service in 1995. The BOMBARDIER EBI Cab 2000 solution was installed on 52 new six-car EMU trains, which are being gradually rolled out to upgrade services on the two commuter lines that connect major residential and shopping areas across the metropolitan area.
Of course, Bombardier’s product range extends further with its solutions ranging across monorail, heavy metro, automated people mover, light rail and advanced rapid transit vehicles and systems, as well as commuter, regional, intercity and high-speed trains and locomotives. All of which can integrate seamlessly into a multi-mode transport infrastructure, ready to address continuing demands for efficient and eco-friendly transport.
Focus on infrastructure management
In addition, as operators become more forward-looking, there is an increasing demand to use digitalisation to boost performance of existing and aging rail infrastructures, as many networks are being stretched to the limit. This is an area where suppliers will continue to add benefit, as seen by Bombardier’s growing portfolio of technologies designed to provide new tools to increase overall infrastructure management and efficiency.
With the latest BOMBARDIER OPTIFLO rail control services solution, Bombardier can capture real time information and big data from railway signalling systems for analysis. The EBI Tool Maintenance Diagnostic Centre is designed to allow real time prediction of failures among rail assets and helps identify improvement opportunities in system performance.
With the ORBITA Fleet Monitor, data can be collected and evaluated on the use of individual vehicle components, thus significantly improving life cycle costs. All these tools offer customers various modules to maintain their entire infrastructure across the entire value chain.
Building the future together
With the ever growing demand to deliver integrated and reliable mobility solutions to better connect people, public rail transportation has a vital role to play. In addition, the value of a long-term and well established partnership between rail system operators and system suppliers can be seen.
Malaysia has the vision to see the benefit of an integrated rail network to support economic development and Bombardier Transportation can contribute along the value chain to ensure truly integrated mobility, helping Malaysia to meet its plan to ensure enjoy a seamless journey by 2030.