Chinese-Malaysia Locomotive Deal Opens Way for High-speed Rail Criss-crossing All Southeast Asia

December 3, 2014

China's CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. has been awarded the contract to supply high-speed trains for the planned 200-km link between Kuala Lumpur and the city of Ipoh in the north, it was announced Tuesday. By the end of next year, the world's fastest inter-city bullet trains will be running between those cities, China Daily celebrated.

This is not some one-shot rail deal., the English-language website of China News Service (CNS), reported the broader plans underway.

The 200-km stretch is just the first stage of a plan to build a 900-km railway between Johor Bahru on the southern tip of Malaysia, and Padang Besar on the Thai border, according to CSR ZELC. And while the first 10 trains for this route are being produced in China, the company is already building a new manufacturing and maintenance base in Malaysia, to supply the other trains needed, for Malaysia, and for other countries in Southeast Asia planning to build high-speed rail, according to CSR president Zhou Qinghe. He projects that Southeast Asian countries could need 1,100 new rail cars, and refurbishment facilities for another 700, over the next five years.

CSR ZELC will help its Malaysian partners on everything from financing, construction of transportation facilities and other turnkey (i.e., fully-constructed) contracts, and transfer of advanced technology and management methods, Zhou said.

These plans by Malaysia and Singapore, to build high-speed rails,

"mean countries in Southeast Asia can expect to have as sophisticated a network as Europe, for instance, which could in the future connect to China's Yunnan province of Guangzi Zhuang autonomous region,"

Zhao Jian, professor of rail transportation at Beijing Jiaotong University, told Ecns.

CRS is the subsidiary of the world's largest manufacturer of electric locomotives, China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co.