MALAYSIA: Kuala Lumpur airport rail link concessionaire Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd formally awarded on May 6 an Engineering, Procurement & Construction contract for construction of the 57 km line (RG 12.98 p826). The contract was signed by ERLSB Executive Chairman Dato' Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh and representatives of the SYZ Consortium.

SYZ is a joint venture between Siemens AG of Germany, Siemens Electrical Engineering Sdn Bhd and local civil engineering group Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd. Siemens will be responsible for the electrical and mechanical works, whilst the civil works will be undertaken by SPYTL.

The 160 km/h express service from KL Sentral to the new International Airport is scheduled to start revenue operation 32 months after ERLSB issues the formal Notice to Proceed. The non-stop trains will offer a journey time of under 30 min, compared to the current time of around 1 h by road. Trains will run every 15 min. Check-in and check-out facilities will be provided at the KL City Air Terminal. Two months later should see the introduction of commuter trains, serving stations at Bandar Tasik Selatan, Putrajaya & Cyberjaya and Salak Tinggi.

According to ERLSB, substantial work had already been completed prior to the signing of the contract, notably at KL Sentral and Putrajaya Wetlands. SPYTL is pushing ahead with earthworks, drainage, and bridges, including a 1·9 km bridge across Sungai Labu, near the airport. Work began in December 1998 on the site of the depot and Operational Control Centre at Salak Tinggi.

Total cost of the project is 2·4bn ringgits, financed by 500m of equity, a 940m loan from Bank Pembangunan dan Infrastruktur Malaysia Berhad, and facilities from the Export Credit Agency totalling DM665m.