Foremost in the agreement is the projected start date of HSR operations by 2026. Construction is expected to take place between 2018 and 2025, and a year of testing will be undertaken before service formally starts. Advanced engineering studies are to take place to look into factors such as track alignment and architecture before construction begins.
Tracks will stretch 350km in total, 335km of which will be in Malaysia. Eight stations will service the line, namely Singapore, Iskandar Puteri, Batu Pahat, Muar, Ayer Keroh, Seremban, Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur.
The HSR, set to boast trains with top speeds of 300km/h and a capacity of around 1000 passengers, is expected to cut travel time between Singapore and the Malaysian capital down to about 90 minutes from the current 11 hours via existing rail services.
Malaysia and Singapore will each be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the civil infrastructure and stations within their own countries, specifically MyHSR Corporation and the Land Transport Authority respectively.
An assets company, to be appointed through international tender, will provide and maintain HSR trains and its associated systems such as power, signalling and telecommunications.
There will also be two train operators appointed, one to run the international routes (the 90-minute nonstop Singapore-Kuala Lumpur express service and the 15-minute Singapore-Iskandar Puteri shuttle service) and another to run a domestic service within Malaysia.
Plans are also in place to co-locate customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) facilities at three locations – Singapore, Iskandar Puteri and Kuala Lumpur – so that international-bound passengers will need to undergo CIQ clearance by both Malaysia and Singapore authorities only at the point of departure, and not at the point of arrival, thus requiring passengers to go through checks only once.
A legally binding agreement for the development of the HSR is set to be signed at the end of this year.