Gathering speed to get ahead

Gathering speed to get ahead :South Korea has made clear its plan to bid for a slice of the HSR (high-speed railway) project stretching from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

In a highly-visible demonstration of its intent, it has spent handsomely to create a lavish showroom of high-speed railway technology on the first floor of Nu Sentral, Kuala Lumpur.

The effort was spearheaded by state-owned Korea Rail Network Authority (KRNA), which is leading a consortium of 50 enterprises to land the project estimated to cost RM40bil.

The 157sq m showroom was unveiled last week in a simple ceremony attended by KRNA chairman and chief executive officer Kang Yeong Il.

KRNA Malaysian regional director Kim Chung Gi said the battle for the prestigious project would likely be a three-cornered fight with the Chinese and the Japanese.

The showroom, open from 10am to 10pm daily, presents clearly the argument for the KL-Singapore HSR in a concise manner, detailing the breakdown of time needed to move along the 340km-line that will also feature five stops between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

To its credit, the exhibits are not just about showcasing Korean prowess in rail and civil engineering as it also presents a broader view of the prevalence of HSR elsewhere in the world.

There is a global map, as well as detailed map of peninsular Malaysia, in relation to how it can be transformed by HSR.

The most sophisticated draw of the showroom is the 4D theatre that is aptly built into the shell of a HSR locomotive.

There are only six seats inside the experiential theatre that airs 20 shows daily, first show at 10.30am, last show at 9pm. Each show is about five minutes long, and 3D glasses are supplied free.

South Korea is the fourth country in the world to have constructed HSR (after Japan, France and China) capable of exceeding 420kph on conventional rail.

KRNA had participated in the recent request for information exercises conducted by the Malaysia Land Public Transport Commission and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority last month.

Currently, South Korea operates the 417.4-km Gyeongbu HSR and the 182.3-km Honam HSR, while the Suseo (61.1km) and Wonju-Gangneung (120.7km) HSR projects are still under construction.


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