Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Malaysian Station in Singapore

If you are going to (or from) Singapore by train, you may need to check where and how you get on the train and where you go through immigration.

Malaysia's customs, immigration, quarantine facilites will move to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint near the Singapore-Malaysia border by July 2011. These facilities are still within the borders of Singapore, and they may move again in 2018 if planned improvements to Singapore's internal rail system are built.

Some businesses near the new station are looking forward to business from commuters, although some people think that the area is not upmarket enough to attract outsiders. There was very little near the old station.

This resolves a longstanding dispute concerning land owned by Malaysian Railways within the border of Singapore. Previously, Malaysia enforced border controls at a station that was much closer to downtown Singapore.

And you have to go through immigration before getting on any train to Malaysia. This limits the ability of these trains to connect different areas within Singapore.

The disputed land is along the old tracks. Two private teams will jointly own and develop six parcels of the disputed land, one from Malaysia and one from Singapore. Having people from both Malaysia and Singapore jointly own the land solves the issue of the Malaysia owning land within Singapore.

In addition, the teams may trade any the parcels of land for parcels of equal value in a couple of other areas in Singapore. That part may be a giveaway to the developers.

Update: According to the official agreement, the current station is going to be preserved and will the centerpiece of the areas new development. Another disused station has also been give historic protection as part of the agreement.

Links to an in depth new story and the official announcement can be found through the Cycling in Singapore site as well as discussion of ways to turn the Malaysian Railways corridor into a bike path.

A more scholarly discussion of the agreement can be found at the Reinventing Urban Transport site.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another link to a good post about a station in Japan

sleepytako writes posts that I consistently like. In particular, he has written a beautiful post about the station at the end of the Nishi-Shigi cable car line at

I hope that all of my readers will click on the link. sleepytako expresses a very Japanese way of feeling in a way that is accessible to people who have never been to Japan.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

More on Taiwan

Click the link for a photo guide from one of my Multiply Buddies about how to take the metro in Taipei, Taiwan.

The Daejeon subway also uses round tokens. It is kind of weird putting a coin on a subway.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Taiwan's High Speed Line Sees Increase in Ridership Since Public Takeover

Recently someone forwarded an interesting press release from Taiwan's main news agency to a rail-oriented Yahoo group that I belong to. Apprently, the past year has been the best ever for ridership on Taiwan's high speed line. Currently, the one line serves 3 million passengers a year.

What is interesting about this is that the line has basically been nationalized over the past year. Previously, the private owners were constantly complaining that they couldn't make any money. That ticket sales and other sources of revenue only covered 97% of their operational costs.

The fact is that for a piece of infrastructure to cover 97% of its own costs is unusual. Roads and airports in particular require massive subsidies.

So various government entities allowed private interests to abandon the line to them, and then they lowered prices. Because it is always less of a subsidy for people to take the train than for them to drive. Or fly. And with the volume this line gets, it is less of a subsidy than if those people took the bus.

And of course now that they don't have to make a profit, the line is considered wildly successful.

Shanghai Metro - longest in the world?

Currently, Shanghai claims that with the opening of line 10 last month, Shanghai Metro became the longest such system in the world.

Of course, that depends on what counts toward that total.

Not including portions run by Korail and Incheon Subway, Seoul's Metropolitan Subway system runs 314 km. However, that is counting some track that runs outside of the boundaries of the city of Seoul, and does not include some that is actually within the city's boundaries. So 314 km is too short. Counting every line that could possibly be considered part of the system, the subway is 755 km long. Of course, that ends up trips that never even enter the province where Seoul is located and that are between towns of less than 100,000.

So Shanghai runs a lot of trains that I hear are clean and fast, and you can probably go anywhere you might want to on them. But not necessarily any better than in, say, Paris, which strictly defines what is the metro and what are the suburban commuter trains.

(Also, the maglev to the airport is cool, but very few people take it because the maglev is more expensive than some airplane tickets and the ordinary subway is fast and comfortable enough for most people.)