Sarawak is getting its own Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, covering Kuching, Samarahan and Serian divisions, according to Bernama. The construction of the state’s first ever LRT line is expected to start next year and the service is scheduled to be operational by 2024.
The Kuching LRT project will cost the state MYR10.8 billion and will be the largest single state-funded project. It will be managed by Sarawak Metro Sdn Bhd, a state government-linked company, and funded by the Development of Sarawak (DBoS).
A total of six lines are planned, however, three lines will be implemented first. Line One which spans 62.4km with 28 stations will connect Kota Samarahan, Sungai Batu and Damai.
Meanwhile, Line Two will serve Serian to Senari, spanning 82km with 26 stations.
Finally, Line Three will be the City Dispersal Line which serves the Kuching Centre and spans 10.8km across 13 stations. The Kuching city train will use an at-grade tram system which is deemed more pedestrian friendly.
The LRT will link dense residential areas, businesses, industrial areas, tourist hotspots as well as transit-oriented developments (TOD).
These population centres have almost one-million strong population, including 700,000 in Greater Kuching.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said that the aim of the LRT system is to realise efficient mobility in Kuching and to create economic opportunities, enabling trade and access to markets and services. It will help transform Kuching into a more dynamic and competitive city.
The first three LRT lines are expected to create over 20,000 new jobs once in full operation.
What’s cool is that the LRT trains will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells, an environmentally-friendly technology. It is said to be the first of its kind in the region. The trains are capable of a travel speed of 70-140kmh.
The hydrogen fuel cell trains are in line with the state government’s vision to develop a hydrogen economy, as part of its green initiative.
Aside from hydrogen-powered trains, Kuching will also be the first city in the country to have hydrogen-powered buses.
As announced late last year, the state capital will start operating hydrogen-powered buses on the road by July this year.
The project is part of the hydrogen R&D development programme by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB). It is said the hydrogen bus development project will cost the state government MYR10 million.