Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai (1st R) and guests pose for photos with the new KLIA Ekspres train at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, on March 13, 2018. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)
China's CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. Ltd (CRRC Changchun) and Malaysia's Express Rail Link (ERL) unveiled the new train that will be used for the Kuala Lumpur International Airport rail link service on Tuesday, concluding a deal signed in 2014 in which ERL agreed to buy six trains from CRRC Changchun.
With the launch of the new trains, ERL's total capacity will be increased by 50 percent, said Mohd Nadzmin Mohd Salleh, executive chairman of ERL. Train departures will also be improved during morning and evening peak hours from the current 20-minute intervals to 15 minutes.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, who drove the new train for a small section, said cooperation between ERL and CRRC have shown how national boundaries can be transcended to serve the needs of Malaysians.
"We hope that other companies will look to this partnership as an example of cooperative relationships that can transform lives for the better," he said.
Liow added that with the new trains, ERL is targeting a growth in its ridership of five percent this year, from 23,900 per day in last year.
Liow also highlighted China's massive achievements in building the world's largest high speed rail network, saying that Malaysia is also moving into high gear by building more railway lines, including the high speed rail connecting Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
"Hopefully we can complete by the year 2026, this first high speed rail line will connect Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, later they will connect from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok and to China using high speed rail. That will be the future," he said.
Each of the 6 trains has 4 cars and can operate at a cruising speed of 160 kilometers per hour. According to a press release, the trains have more seats onboard, longer seats pitch and higher ceiling. It also has 15 percent more air-conditioning capacity.
An Zhongyi, general manager of CRRC Changchun, expressed his hope that the train delivery can help usher in more cooperation with local partners and suppliers.