Chinese experiences, technical know-how boost confidence in construction of joint rail project: Malaysian official
The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), Malaysia's mega rail project being built by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), benefits greatly from the solid experiences and technical know-how of the Chinese company, Malaysian Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said Thursday.
This has guaranteed progress in the project despite the technical challenges, Wee told a press conference following a visit to a section of the railway near Bentong in Pahang state.
The highlight of the visit is the massive Chinese-made tunnel boring machine (TBM) being deployed to spearhead the excavation works for the 16.39 km twin-bore Genting Tunnel.
"I believe MRL (Malaysia Rail Link) and CCCC will be able to complete this job given the technical know-how especially when we have the very experienced EPCC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning) contractor, they have the experience doing such jobs, similar jobs in China and elsewhere so to us it is not a big problem and they can complete in time," said the minister.
"For example we need to bring in the experts for the drilling, the TBM machine, we need these people to handle the job, especially to lead the local teams," he said.
The state-of-the-art machines, made by CCCC Tianhe Mechanical Equipment Manufacturing Co Ltd, are custom-made for use in hard rock condition and equipped with four torque cylinders. Together with its back-support system that houses the control room and substation, it weighs some 1,600 tons and measures 266 meters in length.
Wee was joined by other officials including from the MRL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia's Ministry of Finance and the owner of ECRL project.
MRL Chairman Mohd Zuki Ali, when speaking prior to the press conference, said the use of the TBM represents a shift in technology, moving from bloating and drilling towards high tech excavation machines.
"MRL is optimistic that the high-technology TBM will be able to take on geological and engineering challenges excavating across the Titiwangsa mountain range," he said. "MRL is confident that ECRL staff members have the experience to handle the TBM to build the longest rail tunnel in Malaysia."