KUCHING, Aug 21 — The engineering run for world’s first prototype hydrogen-powered Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) smart tram is set to commence at the Isthmus here from September 4 until October 31, said state Transport Minister Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin.
In a statement, Lee said the test run will be carried out along the loop of Jalan Keruing passing Menara LCDA, Menara SEDC, Menara Sarawak Energy and Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).
“The engineering run is to identify any potential issues before the start of the Proof of Concept (POC) exercise in Samarahan,” he said.
Lee said the smart tram, developed by China’s CRRC Zhuzhou Institute Co Ltd, had been fully assembled over the past two weeks following its arrival at Senari Terminal here on August 5 from Shanghai Port.
“The hydrogen vehicle will be moved to Kuching Port Authority’s Pending Terminal where it will be stabled (parked) until the end of the engineering run period in October.
“Refuelling of the prototype ART hydrogen vehicle will be done at Pending Terminal because Mobile Hydrogen Refuelling Station will be based there,” he said.
He added that the ministry had engaged with industry players and government agencies who have their offices at the Isthmus, as well as with the relevant enforcement authorities during a special briefing last week.
“To prepare for the engineering run, works to close certain sections of the road in the area will begin tomorrow (August 23).
“The road closures will be advertised on Sarawak Metro’s social media platforms and in local newspapers from August 22. This initiative aims to notify residents and employees who work in the vicinity, enabling them to adjust their daily travel routines during the two-month period,” he said.
Lee also informed that the smart tram would next head to Kota Samarahan in November for a month-long POC exercise.
This second test run would commence on a 3km permanent dedicated lane built between two roundabouts along a section of the Kuching-Samarahan Expressway.
“The dedicated lane is near the Sarawak Heart Centre to the roundabout near SAINS. This POC exercise is conducted to gather data to evaluate the feasibility of the prototype for the final design of the ART to accommodate a maximum capacity of passengers,” he said.
However, Lee said passenger service will not be open to the public during both test runs, rather only selected stakeholders from the relevant public and private sector will be able to access the service.
“The main reason we are not opening this up to the public, in terms of riding on the ART, is due to the fact that this is still a prototype vehicle and the main aim is to test its performance here in Sarawak.”
He also informed that next month’s test run will be graced by Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg. — Borneo Post