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Penang Island-Mainland rail bridge will be the 2nd sea-crossing rail connection in South-East Asia

Penang Island-Mainland rail bridge will be the 2nd sea-crossing rail connection in South-East Asia

Penang is gearing up for a significant infrastructural leap with the proposed third link between Penang Island and the mainland – a railway bridge for the Mutiara LRT Line. Transport Minister Anthony Loke confirmed that the alignment for this light rail transit (LRT) has been finalized, featuring a railway bridge across the Penang Strait. This will be the second rail connection in South-East Asia to cross a sea, following the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System, currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2026.

The Mutiara LRT Line is expected to attract a higher ridership than initially anticipated, connecting mainland Penang residents to the island’s financial and industrial hubs. It will also provide a direct rail route from Butterworth to Penang International Airport. The mainland’s LRT station will be at Penang Sentral in Butterworth, an integrated transport hub for buses, interstate trains, and ferries. The train will then reach the island at the densely populated Macallum Street Ghaut area, covering a straight-line distance of just over 3 kilometers across the sea.

The construction of this railway bridge will be a notable engineering endeavor. South of Penang Sentral lies Penang Port’s deepwater wharf, bulk cargo terminal, vegetable oil tanker pier, and additional wharves and warehouses. Maintaining maritime traffic access to these port facilities presents a significant challenge for the engineers.

Minister Loke addressed reporters, stating that the cross-strait railway bridge will not feature a drawbridge or a tunnel beneath the seabed. “We will take into consideration all the engineering aspects, including Penang Port’s maritime traffic and future expansion plans. It will go through a detailed study before the design is announced,” he said. This announcement came during the national celebration of Day of the Seafarers and World Aids to Navigation Day.

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