(File pix) Railways continue to play an important role in the development of many countries. Archive image for illustration purposes only

DURING the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, railways played a vital role in moving goods and people across England and Europe. Without railways to transport goods, raw materials and coal, the Industrial Revolution would not have gain-ed pace.

Railways continue to play an important role in the development of many countries. India for example, is embarking on massive railway development.

In the 1970s, the Japanese government built the Shinkansen rail network to connect Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe and other cities to spur economic growth.

The Shinkansen allowed people to live in the outskirts and work in the cities.

For example, people who live more than 100km from Tokyo could travel to work in the city via the rail link.

Similarly, people who live in Tianjin commute to Beijing as there are efficient and frequent high-speed train services between the cities.

Houses in Beijing are expensive, so people prefer to stay in Tianjin, 50km from the city.

The Mass Rapid Transit network in Hong Kong transformed underdeveloped areas in the outskirts, like Tsuen Wan and Shatin, into vibrant housing estates.

This eased congestion in central Hong Kong and provided affordable housing to people.

The East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project will spur economic growth in the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

It will enable affordable houses to be built on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Similarly, the High-Speed Rail (HRS) link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will bring economic benefits to both countries.

HSR will spur the development of townships along the route.

Affordable houses will be built in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

As such, it is imperative that the ECRL and HRS projects are implemented without delay.

Inflation will lead to higher costs, so any delay will result in an increase in the cost of construction.


THOMAS FOO

Subang Jaya, Selangor

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