Halcrow helped to deliver one of the world’s longest driverless metro systems, taking it from concept to commissioning in only four years.
Kuala Lumpur's LRT Line 2 (Putra) is a key part of this capital city's infrastructure linking the commuter areas in the north to the vibrant city centre and out again to the commuter towns in the west. The line runs for a length of 29km and serves 24 stations, five of them underground. It links commuter areas in the north and west with the city centre, and has the capacity to carry 30,000 passengers an hour in each direction.
The new line incorporates 24km of viaducts, including 870 individual bridges, the longest of which has a 68m span. The remaining 5km of track runs in tunnel under Kuala Lumpur’s crowded city centre. This was the first major tunnelling project in Malaysia, and involved overcoming complex ground conditions – including limestone and caustic caves covered by mining slurry – as well as tunnelling under a river.
Halcrow was the lead member of an international joint venture acting as consulting engineer for the project, and was responsible for planning, design, coordination, supervision of construction and systems installation, and for commissioning and certification of the completed system.
We were involved in the design of 22 of the 24 stations, including the five that are underground, and in incorporating the system into two existing stations. Safety is a major factor in the station design: all the underground stations are fitted with platform screen doors and intrusion sensors, and all stations were designed to have platform gaps of less than 50mm to allow easy access for disabled people and wheelchair users.
The system incorporates state of the art communication systems and automatic fare collection, utilising a contactless smart-card system. Halcrow managed the implementation of linear induction motor technology, used to ensure operating noise was kept to a minimum, and the Alcatel SELTRAC vehicle control system, including safety checks, phased roll out of the system and testing and commissioning. We also undertook the approval and acceptance of the rolling stock from type testing and factory acceptance through to testing, commissioning and trial running.
Construction was managed in two phases, and involved 32 different contractors. Phase one, consisting of nine stations, was completed in time for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and the remainder of the route - including the underground section - was opened in June 1999, less than 4 years after PUTRA received the concession contract to develop and run the new line. Halcrow continued to provide maintenance support to the operator until summer 2000.
The client subsequently commissioned Halcrow to undertake feasibility studies on a proposed 16km extension to the system serving 12 new stations. The scope of this study included specialist systems engineering and procurement services including operational/maintenance aspects, together with management of the technical interfaces with the civil, structural and M&E designs.
The £1,200 million PUTRA LRT is one of the most advanced rapid transit systems in the world, and at the time of construction was the world’s longest driverless metro.