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Malaysia and Singapore have announced a joint agreement to deliver the 4km Rapid Transit System (RTS) link between Singapore and Johor Bahru in southern Malaysia.

Singapore Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan signed the agreement with Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, at the eighth Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat. The service aims to transport up to 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction, a significantly higher figure than the 300 passengers carried by the existing Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) shuttle service.

Until the project is completed in 2024, the KTMB shuttle will run more frequently than its current 26 daily trips.

“I really appreciate the decision by the Singapore government to allow the KTM shuttle service to be increased,” said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. “It has increased now to 26, and there’s a proposal for it to go up to 31 in the near future and certainly this will be helpful.”

The RTS link will run over the Straights of Johor over a 25m-high bridge linking both stations. The service will take advantage of the technology used in the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), expected to open in Singapore in 2019, which includes trains, signalling systems, communications and an Integrated Supervisory Control System (ISCS). An ISCS coordinates separate subsystems used on trains, such as passenger information systems and CCTV cameras, and presents data to train operators.

Day-to-day operation of trains will be the responsibility of the SMRT corporation, a privately-owned Singaporean public transport operator that will also manage the TEL.

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By GlobalData

The development was first announced in 2010 and is scheduled to be completed in 2024, making the project a significant long-term initiative. Both nations will appoint an operating company to “own, design, build, finance, operate, maintain and renew” the design periodically, according to Channel News Asia.

The project is not the two countries’ first attempt to establish a permanent transport link across the Straits of Johor. The KTM West Coast Line, which was completed in 1932 and closed in 2011, linked Johor Bahru to Singapore’s Woodlands station; and the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail service, which was agreed upon in 2013, recently attracted Japanese investment in what Paul Tan’s Automotive News has called “South East Asia’s largest ever infrastructure project.”