Is Malaysian train system the fastest in Southeast Asia?


©RichVintage | GettyImages

Be it intercity or intracity, an efficient rail network plays an important role in a country’s progress – but have you ever wondered how our train system speed compare to our neighbours’?


As Malaysia embarks on the journey of building our largest infrastructure development yet, the launch of MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line late last year has created quite a buzz. Complimented by 112 feeder buses that operates on 25 routes from all 12 stations, it has been lauded as the solution to the city’s burgeoning traffic woes and the key to reaching our goal in transforming into a world-class city.

The final key to this transformation is the impending MRT 3, also known as the circle line due to its circular track that is due for completion in 2025, two years ahead of schedule. Line 3 will connect and integrate with the existing MRT1 Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) rail line, MRT2 Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP) line as well as other light rail transits and the monorail systems.

By default, this would obviously improve connectivity with the existing urban rail network and spur a domino effect: accessibility to most area would improve which would simultaneously becomes a catalyst for development and boost economic activity. In order to achieve all these however, train system has to be efficient in terms of frequency, connectivity and of course, speed.

You can read more on the MRT line here:  MRT Line 1: The good, the bad & the Ugly.


©toonman |123rf

Take the Seoul Metropolitan Subway for instance, it consists of 21 rapid transit, light metro, commuter rail and people mover lines located in northwest South Korea, that serves most of the Seoul Metropolitan Area including the Incheon metropolis and satellite cities in Gyeonggi province. It’s high-speed rail system, KTX operated by Korail, is the world’s fourth after Japan, France and China that runs a high-speed train running on conventional rail above 420 km/h.  Talk about speed.

Even the regular Gyeongbu Line – one of the most heavily traveled rail line in South Korea – operates at 150 km/h, serving a total of 90 stations. The continuous improvement of their Seoul Metropolitan Subway, has caused a dramatic change in people’s lifestyle, and has had a significant social, economic and cultural impact. Similarly, in Malaysia, the MRT Line 3 that covers prime areas such as Ampang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Tun Razak Exchange, Bandar Malaysia, KL Eco City, Pusat Bandar Damansara, Mont Kiara and Sentul is also expected to speed up the transformation of Greater KL.

Since a faster train equals greater travelling time reduction, it plays a big role in the development of the economy which is why the other countries in the region have also recently begin stepping up their rail game. Just for the sake of comparing, let’s zero in on our neighbours’ rail networks to see our how train  speed measure.

And the winner is: Bangkok!  

The more sophisticated, and faster Bangkok Red Line that connects Bang Sue in Bangkok with Rangsit to the North is expected to solve the congestion problem and reduce air pollution by having a daily ridership of 194,000 by 2030. Way to go neighbour!

RELATED : 5 Klang Valley rail updates you need to know

ALSO RELATED: 10 things you didn’t know about the MRT


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