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.

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