Thursday, June 23, 2011

It’s a four-car MRT

Exclusive: It’s a four-car MRT

New trains can carry 50 per cent more passengers than LRT, says Prasarana

By Shahrim Tamrin
Monday, June 20, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: THE RM36 billion Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system in the Klang Valley will have four-car train sets which can carry up to 1,200 passengers for each trip.

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana) group managing director Shahril Mokhtar said the four-car train set was to accommodate a projected 1.2 million commuters along the proposed 51km line with 35 stations.

“The rolling stock tender for the new four-car MRT trains will be opened early next year. We are looking at having four-car trains which can accommodate 50 per cent more passengers per trip, to cope with the projected increase in commuters."

Currently, the four-car train sets at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Kelana Jaya line has a capacity of 800 passengers per trip.

During peak hours, the frequency of the MRT trains would be increased to one every two minutes, if there was enough trains to cope.

When asked if the new trains would be auto-pilot or driverless, Shahril said: "We have yet to decide on that."

An industry insider familiar with the MRT, the country’s biggest infrastructure project, said Prasarana was considering having fully-computerised driverless trains like the SkyTrain system at Vancouver, Canada.

It is learnt the dimensions for the higher-capacity MRT trains would be between 20m to 22m per car, 3m to 3.2m and 3.7m for length, width and height respectively. The insider said these specifications were similar to those elsewhere around the world.

The new four-car trains will have six bays for wheelchair-bound passengers, with one bay each in the first and fourth cars and two each in the intermediate cars.

“In principle, Prasarana is following the heavy-capacity MRT trains commonly used in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan and Sao Paulo in Brazil,” said the insider.

The first phase of the MRT, which involve three lines, will be launched on July 8 with a ground-breaking ceremony by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, followed by construction work from Kajang and Cheras in November.

The project, part of the government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), will link the city’s suburb and district commuter lines that are not served by the LRT systems, as announced by Najib last December.

The final MRT alignment is expected to be announced this month, following three months of public dialogues with various stakeholders that concluded last month.

Taipei MRT

Train is computer-controlled with on-board operator
Builder: Three-car train set Kawasaki C371
Length (per car): 23.5 m
Width: 3.2 m
Height: 3.6 m
Speed: 90 km/h (max)
Maximum capacity: 1,104 passengers (368 people per car, seated and standees)

Singapore MRT

Automatic train control supplemented with automatic train operation
Builder: Six-car train set Kawasaki-Nippon Sharyo C751B
Length (per car): 23 m
Width: 3.2 m
Height: 3.7 m
Speed: 90 km/hour (max)
Maximum capacity: 1,920 passengers (288 people per car, seated and standees)