Malaysia considers Korean-built maglev for city transport
Image credit: Holger Kleine, Dreamstime
Malaysia’s transport minister has confirmed that a maglev system is being considered for the country’s administrative capital, Putrajaya, where a previously abandoned scheme for a monorail is now being revived.
In an official statement posted on Facebook, Dr Wee Ka Siong said he had been given a presentation on the plan during a recent courtesy visit from senior representatives of several major South Korean businesses, including Hyundai Corporation and train-maker Hyundai Rotem, electrical equipment manufacturer EP Korea and Maglev MKC.
Dr Wee was accompanied by the CEO of Malaysia’s principal railway operator, KTMB, and the transport ministry’s rail director.
He said the briefing on plans for a maglev system for the Putrajaya area was given by EP Korea’s railway senior MD Yoo Jai Tark.
South Korea has practical experience of the technology, as Incheon International Airport is served by a 6km maglev line that opened to the public in 2016, using ‘Ecobee’ trains built by Hyundai Rotem.
Development of Putrajaya began in 1995 to ease overcrowding in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. It is now the seat of the federal government and the judiciary, though not the head of state or the parliament.
Putrajaya’s only railway station is on a commuter line between Kuala Lumpur International Airport and the capital, though it would also be served in future by the proposed Kuala Lumpur–Singapore high-speed rail line. Work on a monorail system was abandoned in 2004 after bridge construction had already begun, but the idea was revived in 2020, though no firm plans have been announced.
Following this week’s briefing, the Ministry of Transport “will be holding further discussions soon with the Ministry of Federal Territories on developing such a monorail system for Putrajaya, particularly on its integration with other rail systems and transportation systems,” Wee said.
The meeting also covered wider areas of railway cooperation between Malaysia and South Korea. The statement noted KTMB’s “long and fruitful” relationship with Hyundai Rotem, saying its continued use of the firm's Class 83 and 91 trains was a testimony to their durability and reliability, with great support and service from Korea.
Malaysia now hopes for more localisation of Korean technologies in order to develop Malaysian talent in rail. KTMB currently has staff undergoing training in Korea, with more trainees to be sent soon.
The transport ministry is also in the process of bringing on more knowledge and content partners for the National Rail Centre of Excellence, and is working out the details of how to collaborate with the Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) to enhance training in railway and highway speed technical knowledge.
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