KUANTAN, Dec 11 — The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah officiated the installation of the first track for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project here today.

His Majesty was accompanied by the Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah at the ceremony, which was held at the Section 10 ECRL Station Site in Gebeng here.

Also present were Transport Minister Anthony Loke, China’s ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujin, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) chairman Wang Tongzhou and the Menteris Besar from the East Coast states, which are the alignment of the ECRL.

The CCCC is the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contractor of the ECRL, which involves a 665-kilometre (km) railway line with 20 stations, including 10 passenger stations and 10 combined passenger and cargo stations.

The mega project, which was inaugurated on August 9, 2017, at an estimated cost of RM50 billion, is scheduled to start operating in January 2027, with the passenger trains travelling at a speed of 160km per hour and the freight trains at 80km per hour

Meanwhile, Wang Tongzhou said in a statement, which was distributed to the media, said the launch also marked the realisation of a new era in the construction process of the ECRL mega train infrastructure in Malaysia.

“The installation of the track signifies our commitment to present Malaysia with progress, innovation and the integration of meaningful mobility connectivity.

“We will continue our efforts by strengthening our dedication to excellence, safety and community continuity. Our inspiration is to create a rail transport system that embodies Malaysia’s aspirations for a connected future,” he said.

Today’s inauguration is also the key starting point for the installation of the 94km track from the Kuantan Port City (KPC) station in Gebeng to Dungun, Terengganu, which is expected to take about three to four months to be completed.

The next track installation will involve the KPC station to Temerloh, near here, and heading northward from Dungun to Kota Bharu, Kelantan before the final one from Temerloh to Jalan Kastam, Selangor.

The installation process uses the CCPG500A track laying machine, together with the 500m-long Long Welded Rail (LWR) and pre-stressed mono-block sleepers to ensure a solid foundation, in addition to reducing vibration when the train is moving for the comfort of passengers.

The equipment can also enable the track installation to proceed at a rate of 1.5km to 2.5km per day, which is a significant increase compared to the conventional method which is at a rate of between 500m to 700m a day.

Six diesel locomotives measuring 22m in length and with a maximum speed of 100km per hour were brought in from China at the end of October to help with transporting materials. — Bernama