US firm gets Singapore rail nod

Aecom’s design for the Jurong East terminus. Source: Aecom

US engineering firm Aecom, which has worked with the Singaporean authorities on several MRT lines, has been appointed to design Singapore’s infrastructure for the high-speed rail (HSR) link to Kuala Lumpur, the city-state’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced.

The 350km, eight-station Kuala Lumpur-Singapore link aims to cut travel time to 90 minutes by 2026 at a cost of around US$10 billion.

Aecom will provide architectural, civil, electrical, mechanical and other design services, including working out the alignment of the tracks inside the Lion City.

The design of the terminus in Jurong East, tunnels and the bridge to Johor, including controlling noise and vibration issues, are part of the deal.

An engineering study is expected to take about two years.

The LTA posted on Facebook: “Selected through a highly competitive tender process, Aecom has extensive experience in international high-speed rail projects.”

Aecom’s other projects have included Beijing South Station, the planned high speed link between Birmingham and London (HS2) and the West Kowloon Terminus in Hong Kong.

It also worked with the LTA to design the Circle, Downtown, Thomson-East Coast and the Tuas West Extension lines in Singapore.

Aecom is completing an engineering consultancy study for the Rapid Transit System link between Singapore and Malaysia’s Johor Bahru.

The Los Angeles-based firm, which reportedly has 87,000 staff in 150 countries, was originally due to have completed the RTS Johor Bahru link by 2018 but this was pushed back to 2019 when Singapore decided to lengthen the Thomson-East Coast Line.

There has since been limited progress reported on the 4km-5km extension, with the Singaporean authorities saying it was waiting for Johor to pick a site for its terminus.

Five other firms put in bids, including UK consulting engineers Arup and Mott MacDonald, Australia’s Meinhardt, Canadian consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff and Singapore’s state-owned consultant Surbana Jurong Infrastructure.

Other contractors already appointed for the project include three British-based companies, architect Farrells, landscape designer Grant Associates and property agent CBRE. Farrells also worked on Beijing South and is designing Old Oak Common for England’s HS2.