Johor Bahru–Singapore rapid transit system is a new 4km-long rail link connecting Malaysia and Singapore. Credit: PAM + MRT Corp.
The construction of the RTS Link Woodlands North station began in January 2021. Credit: PAM + MRT Corp.
Singapore and Malaysia held a ceremony for the resumption of the project in July 2020. Credit: Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia Official Website.
The rail link will cross the Straits of Johor over a 25m-high bridge. Credit: Land Transport Authority of Singapore.
The cross-border rail project is expected to be completed by the end of 2026. Image courtesy of Land Transport Authority of Singapore.

Johor Bahru–Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) link is a new 4km-long cross-border rail project that will connect Malaysia and Singapore.

The railway project is being developed by Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Malaysia Mass Rapid Transit Corporation.

The new RTS rail link will be operated by RTS Operations, a joint venture (JV) formed by Prasarana Malaysia and Singapore’s SMRT Corporation, for a period of 30 years. The JV agreement was signed in July 2020.

Construction of the new railway line will commence in the first quarter of 2021 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.

The rapid transit system aims to improve connectivity, people-to-people relations, and also boost economic growth in both nations. It will have the capacity to serve approximately 10,000 passengers an hour in each direction, reducing congestion along the Johor Causeway.

Johor Bahru–Singapore RTS background

Initially announced in 2010, the development of Johor Bahru–Singapore RTS link was agreed upon in 2013.

Malaysia and Singapore signed the RTS link bilateral agreement at the eighth Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat in January 2018. The agreement outlines the technical, safety, financing, procurement and regulatory frameworks related to the project. The project was suspended in April 2019 as Malaysia requested for time to review it.

In July 2020, work on the cross-border RTS Link resumed between Woodlands and Johor Baru. The two governments agreed on new changes to the project which were unveiled at the ceremony to mark the resumption of work.

Under the new agreement, the RTS Link will serve as a separate light rail transit (LRT) system and not use the same trains and systems as that of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) in Singapore. It will also not use the current TEL depot at Mandai.

The ground-breaking ceremony of the RTS Link Woodlands North station was held by the Singapore’s LTA in January 2021.

Johor Bahru–Singapore RTS details

The Johor Bahru–Singapore RTS is an international link that will mainly offer high-volume, fast and efficient transportation between the two countries. It will also be well integrated with public transport systems to provide passengers with alternative transport options.

The RTS rail link will include two stations, one at Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru city, Malaysia and the other at Woodlands in Singapore. A new depot will be built at Wadi Hana, Johor Bahru, as part of the project.

The new railway link will cross the Straits of Johor over a 25m-high bridge which will link the two stations. New co-located customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) facilities will be built at Bukit Chagar and Woodlands North.

To be built at a maximum depth of 28m, the underground Woodlands North station will be a three-storied building. The station will connect to the CIQ facility through an underground linkway and feature two basement levels.

Contractors involved

Penta-Ocean Construction received a S$932.8m ($697m) civil contract for the construction of the RTS Link Woodlands North station, tunnels, and the CIQ building in Singapore, in November 2020.

Aecom secured a $42m contract to conduct architectural and engineering consultancy study for the project. The study was aimed at determining the technical parameters and exploring options for a convenient and cost-effective RTS link system.