KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands of tonnes of cargo and up to 100,000 people can be carried each day on the Seremban-Port Dickson railway when it is ready.
Rail operator KTM Bhd said plans to revive the 39km line – closed since 2008 – included a possible cargo hub to serve Malaysia’s southern regions.
Part of the planning is that a southern inland cargo hub can be developed along the Port Dickson line corridor.
KTMB president Datuk Sarbini Tijan said that the plan was to upgrade the line from a single track to a double system, giving it both a high freight and passenger potential.
Sarbini did not say how much cargo could be carried on this line, but noted that it could serve the town’s two refineries, and containers coming in from Indonesia.
The track upgrade was announced to be carried out under the 11th Malaysia Plan and is linked to the Malaysia Vision Valley project.
Covering 108,000ha of west Negri Sembilan, Malaysia Vision Valley is intended to complement the Klang Valley’s development.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai previously said the line would help to boost both the area’s economy and tourism.
Liow said the project would be carried out this year although he did not say exactly when that would be.
Sarbini, however, said the jetty where the rail line ended in Port Dickson was not deep enough for cruise liners to dock at.
Aside from the railway, he said the town’s port infrastructure needed to be upgraded as well to cater for these services.
He said some 100,000 people could use it each day, with commuters heading out of the coastal town and tourists coming in from either Kuala Lumpur or the south.
As for the rail line’s price tag, Sarbini estimated that it might cost RM2bil and could take two years to build.
“In our planning, we want to have it well before 2020,” he said.
He said no extra land needed to be acquired to upgrade the line to a double track, adding that it could all be done within the current corridor.
Passenger train services on the line ended in the mid-1970s.
TheStar Online – 18 February 2016 | Patrick Lee