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PUTRA (Second Light Rail Transit System)

Tunnelling work is now almost complete on Kuala Lumpur's second light rail system - the RM4.3bn ($1.4bn) Projek Usahasama Transit Ringan Automatik (PUTRA) LRT. The 29km system win run from the west to the north east of Kuala Lumpur serving the new central station and city centre.

The underground section is a relatively small part of the route at only 4.4km long, but ground conditions in Kuala Lumpur are extremely variable. Tunnelling has been carried out by Korean and Japanese contractors using a mixture of open-faced rotary backhoe and closed face earth pressure tunnelling machines.

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The bulk of the scheme will be elevated on precast concrete viaducts with just over 2km at grade. Initially the line will carry 16,500 passengers per hour per direction, but capacity will gradually double.

The project is being carried out under a design and construct contract by Malaysian contractors UEM and Ho Hup. Both are subsidiary companies of the giant Malaysian conglomerate Renong, which also fully owns concession company PUTRA. Rolling stock and M&E equipment are being supplied and installed by Canadian manufacturer Bombardier.

Tunnelling was due to be complete by the middle of this year and there are rumours the project could miss the Commonwealth Games deadline. But PUTRA insists it can claw back time. "We will definitely be finished by August 1998 in time for the Games," says a spokeswoman.

PUTRA win operate under a 60 year concession granted by the Malaysian government. The company claims that, when complete, the system will be the longest fully automatic driverless system

Above : Construction aggravates traffic congestion.

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Left : One of the city centre stations takes shape

lrt4.jpg (20254 bytes) Left : The completed viaduct, hugging the bend of the Sungai Gombak river

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