BAHAU: The Transport Ministry will undertake a study to expand the rail double-tracking and electrification project from Gemas to Tumpat after the completion and commissioning of the Padang Rengas-Johor Baru project.
Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said expansion work would be a reality if the study indicated sufficient passenger traffic on the 530km east coast route.
“Although we have not made a decision, I am certain that it is a matter of time before we look at the east coast line. I am also certain that if we improve the rail service, more people will travel by train,” he said after visiting the site for the new Bahau train station near here.
Kong said the priority was to complete the west coast railway double-tracking and electrification project, with the Ipoh-Seremban stretch already completed while the Seremban-Gemas and Ipoh-Padang Besar stretches are due for completion by year-end and the middle of next year respectively.
He said the ministry was now fine-tuning the design for the 200km Gemas-Johor Baru stretch costing between RM7bil to RM8bil, with tenders to be called soon.
He said at present KTM provided six train services along the Singapore-Gemas-Tumpat routes. “We are also upgrading the Gua Musang, Kuala Krai, Pasir Mas and Tanah Merah stations to keep up with the times,” he said, adding that the Jerantut station was upgraded in 2006.
Kong said his ministry had decided to build a new station in Bahau as the existing one built 70 years ago could no longer serve commuters. “The station is not only very small but is located along the busy main road which is a flood-prone area. In fact, there are no facilities such as a canteen, parking or even toilets,” he said.
Kong said the new station, expected to cost between RM5mil and RM6mil, will be built some 500m away from the existing station and will have various amenities as well as be disabled-friendly.
“Work on the new station should begin in June and will be completed within 15 months,” he said, adding that the contractor would also have to realign the tracks in the area. On a separate matter, Kong said the Implementation and Coordination Unit of the Prime Minister's Department has approved a RM716,000 allocation for the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the Seremban-Gemas double-tracking project near Batang Melaka in Gemencheh.
SOURCE : THE STAR | APRIL 25, 2012