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Rail links getting closer — and faster [20-02-2013]  
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Rail linkages between Malaysia and Singapore started on Sept 17, 1923, four years after the construction of the Johor-Singapore Causeway.

The first rail services saw trains ferrying goods, followed by passenger trains on Oct 1 the same year.

Before that, goods were transported by ferry from Woodlands to Johor Baru before being distributed by train all over the then Malaya.

The Tanjong Pagar railway station was completed on May 3, 1932 and was officially opened by then Singapore governor Sir Cecil Clementi.

The station was in operation for 79 years before it was closed on July 1, 2011. The decision to close the station was made after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong agreed in May 2010 to move the Tanjong Pagar station to Woodlands.

The Tanjong Pagar station is now the Singapore Railway Museum.

Currently, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) runs three KTM Intercity trains between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur daily.

Plans for a high-speed rail project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore had been mooted by YTL Corporation since the late 1990s but it was repeatedly shelved due to several factors such as its high cost (estimated to be over RM8 bil) and the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis.

It was reported that the high-speed train could cut travel time between the two cities to 90 minutes compared with five hours of driving and seven hours by rail currently.

In Sept 2010, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the rail project was back on as part of the Government's high-impact projects under the Economic Transformation Programme.

Several companies including Gamuda Bhd and YTL expressed interest in taking part in the project.

A detailed feasibility study was taken to determine its viability and the estimated project cost.

Source:THE STAR
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