Monday, October 4, 2010

A high-speed railway dream

Oct 5, 2010

THE Tanjong Pagar Railway Station must be preserved for future use as the terminus for the high-speed rail service to Kuala Lumpur, and beyond to China.


The smaller metre gauge tracks, like those used in old tin mines, will have to be changed at Tanjong Pagar. But we are not just thinking of convenience for passengers, railways are viable only if they carry freight.

[Sounds like additional work for no change in the situation.]

China is planning to build its track down from Yunnan through Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia to Singapore. It needs another access point for the vast hinterland of central China. Its eastern railheads on the Pacific coast are choked with too much freight and cannot move any faster. Hence, the need for this more southern bridgehead.

[So why Tanjong Pagar? Why can't the station start at say... Woodlands? Or better yet, Johor Bahru?]

It is up to the South-east Asian nations to grasp this opportunity to help themselves as well as China. In very many ways, all will benefit.

There will be revenue from the faster nocturnal cargo traffic and daily high-speed passenger traffic direct from our city centre next to Tanjong Pagar station to Kuala Lumpur and then further to Bangkok.

The Chinese railway is expected to also connect through Xinjiang and Urumchi/Kashgar to the European rail network via Iran and Turkey.

From Tanjong Pagar, one would, in effect, be able to buy a ticket through to London.
With engineering and architectural ingenuity, the station at Tanjong Pagar could be preserved and stay alive within a modern high-rise complex.

George Yuille Caldwell

[Nice letter. Doesn't grasp the point about addressing the point of a railway line that cuts thru half of Singapore, tying up valuable land. Yes, we can have a high-speed train to serve voracious China. But it doesn't have to start at Tanjong Pagar station. It would work just as well if not better from Woodlands or even across the causeway.]

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