Metro Manila's future metro hub
KL's Bandar Malaysia project on hold, Singapore's Cross Island Line, and more construction and transport news in Southeast Asia
Hello from Ho Chi Minh City, where we are continuing our pandemic lockdown. This week I continue looking at future railway stations around Southeast Asia.
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Unified Grand Central Station (UGCS) is a new urban rail transit station in Metro Manila. The station gets its name for the fact that it will unify two separate lines - LRT Line 1 and MRT Line 3. This however is one of the frustrating things about this station. Instead of being a through-line, the two lines will meet and passengers change to a new train line.
There had been proposals to unify the lines completely. The two lines are standard gauge and run on the same voltage, but they are operated by two different companies.
The station construction was delayed for several years after the station location was moved and then the move was disputed. Another problem has been the naming rights, of which the government allowed a second party to pay for naming rights after the naming rights were already paid by another party. It’s also going under the name of North Triangle Common Station, and the final name isn’t settled yet.
Last week I covered the new grand central station of Bangkok, which is by far the largest railway station in Southeast Asia.
This made me think about what is the biggest metro station. In this instance, I am referring to urban rail transit only, so no multi-system transit hubs like KL Sentral or the future long-distance rail hub of Manggarai in Jakarta.
I’ve been wondering this ever since I wrote about the under-construction Ben Thanh Station in Ho Chi Minh City. This will be one of the biggest metro stations in Southeast Asia, and it’s the first station to pre-build platforms for three lines. Dhoby Ghaut MRT station in Singapore has three lines, but it didn’t build them all at once.
Kuala Lumpur has some metro stations with three lines, though they include LRT lines 3 and 4 which share the same line.
This brings me back to UGCS. There will be four lines converging here, but does that make it bigger than Dhoby Ghaut or Ben Thanh?
UGCS has LRT1-MRT3 which meets to form a broken single line. Then there is the new MRT Line 7 which terminates at UGCS. Then there is the future Metro Manila Subway line, which is the only through service. That means there are really only 2.5 lines here, so can it be called the biggest metro station? The future largest metro station in Southeast Asia will have to be determined by passenger numbers and floor space.
“It is back to the drawing board for the mammoth multi-billion ringgit Bandar Malaysia project, which experts believe will be resuscitated at a later date.”
Added to Bandar Malaysia
“Amid Myanmar’s COVID-19 spike, the developer of the controversial China-backed Shwe Kokko new city project near the Thai border in Karen State has been recruiting staff, prompting fears over a rise in cross-border crime.”
Added to Shwe Kokko New City
“Among the nine new routes, the top priority is given to the North-South high-speed railway project with a plan to build a double track railway of 1,435mm size, stretching over 1,545km.”
Added to North–South express railway Vietnam
“China was ranked first in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) equity inflows to Cambodia in the first half of this year, at about $2 billion, according to the Chinese ambassador.”
“Construction cost could amount to around $18bn amid 'debt trap' concerns.”
“For now, Malaysia remains committed to maintaining public displays of friendly relations with China while handling any differences quietly. But the difficulties and pressures of keeping the friendship real, alive, and substantive are greater than ever.”
“Any decision by the government to terminate a mega project or the contractor of a mega project will have serious repercussions on local companies in the long run, a transport expert said.”
“The project, reported to cost P23 billion, will give rise to malls, condos, business hubs, etc. but will also put Dumaguete’s marine life in danger, say environmentalists.”
“The soft opening of the Red Line commuter train services will go ahead as planned on Aug 2, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob insisted, amid rumours on social media that the launch ceremony will be postponed due to the rising Covid-19 infections in the capital.”
“Vietnam Railways (VNR) on July 20 added a new rail freight link from Vietnam to Belgium, with the first train departing from Yen Vien station, Hanoi, and expected to arrive at Liege City in Belgium.”