Malaysia’s New MRT line has a length of 56km – Putrajaya Line updates commuter travel

The second section of the “MRT Putrajaya Line”, which has been developed in the Klang Valley area including the city of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, and its suburbs, has opened on March 16, 2023 (Thu), and started commercial service in the entire length of 56.2 km.

Hyundai Rotem 4-car train operating on the MRT Putrajaya Line (Wei Kakurai/CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Hyundai Rotem 4-car train operating on the MRT Putrajaya Line (Wei Kakurai/CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

A long route taking 82 minutes with 36 stations

The Klang Valley MRT project is being planned as a national project with the aim of resolving chronic traffic congestion. The first route, the Kajang Line (then Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line) partially opened in December 2016, and the full line opened in July 2017.

The Putrajaya Line is the second route, connecting Kwasa Damansara Station, a new residential development in northwest Kuala Lumpur, to Putrajaya Central Station, in the new administrative center in the south. The government gave final approval to the plan in October 2015, and construction began in September 2016.

The first section, between Kwasa Damansara and Kampong Batu (17.5km), opened on June 16, 2022. This time, the remaining Kampong Batu to Putrajaya Central (38.7km) has been opened, and commercial operation of the entire line has started.

13.5 km of the city center are underground tunnels and the rest are elevated tracks. There are 36 stations in total, 10 of which you can transfer to existing lines such as Malaysian Railways (KTM) and LRT lines. In addition, five interim stations are being built that are scheduled to open in the future.

The cars for the Putrajaya Line were manufactured by a consortium of South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem and Posco Engineering and Malaysia’s Apex Communications. 49 trains were newly built with a maximum capacity of 1,200 passengers in a 4-car train. Completely unmanned operation is carried out by central operation management.

By the way, it takes about 85 minutes from the starting to the ending stations, which is quite a long route for an urban railroad.

The design of the stations pursues timeless simplicity, and compared to the elevated station on the Kajang Line, you can feel a sense of friendliness and openness, such as the decorative pillars that protrude from the elevated stations. The concept is based on the veranda “Serambi” in a traditional Malaysian house, and various concepts including Japanese “Zen” are also incorporated (See the chart below for details such as the transit map and transfer lines of the MRT Putrajaya Line).

[Chart] such as the transit map and transfer lines of the MRT Putrajaya Line

Delayed development along the line weighs heavily

With the opening of the entire Putrajaya Line, the government hopes to raise the share of public transport usage in the city center, which is currently said to be around 20%, to 40%. In fact, there are park-and-ride parking lots at 17 stations along the line, which is calculated to reduce the number of commuters who drive into the city center by about 6,400 cars.

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At the planning stage of the Putrajaya Line, it was assumed that the population would increase due to development along the line, so it was expected that the number of passengers per day would exceed 100,000. However, due to the deterioration of the market environment and the impact of the COVID-19, it is not expected to be used as planned at this time.

For example, in the southern part of Kuala Lumpur, there is a development plan called “Bandar Malaysia,” which is said to be the largest in Malaysia. A contract was signed with a Chinese company through a government tender in 2015, but the contract suddenly came to nothing in 2017, and development has yet to begin. Two new stations on the Putrajaya Line are scheduled to be built on the premises, but the opening date is unknown.

There are also plans for a third MRT “Circle Line” in the Klang Valley. The project will proceed with the goal of opening the entire line in 2030 while making more cautious forecasts of passenger numbers.

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