New business model is being proposed for KTMB Freight, the most profitable division in KTM Berhad as reported by Bernama.
The proposal, made by railway workers union, is championing the cause of rejecting Malaysian Mining Corporation (MMC)’s bid to invest up to RM 1 billion in KTMB Freight division. The main concern is if MMC takes over KTMB and suffer losses, employees would lose the benefits the they are currently enjoying such as bonuses, allowances, quarters and healthcare. Their proposal is to allow other private operators to use KTMB existing rail lines with their own rolling stock.
We think the step to attract private operators to use KTMB existing railroad network and paying tolls directly to KTMB will generate added revenue. Furthermore, the major constraint suffered by KTMB now is the limited number of rolling stock. In our opinion, we think the government should invest more in KTMB by providing them with reasonable number of rolling stock, in line with the ongoing double tracking project. KTMB’s current market share in cargo shipment of the country is really low with just about two to five percent.
With the promising progress of the double tracking project, we hope that KTMB will invest more on its cargo as well as passenger sector. This move will enable a more profitable KTMB and fulfilling the needs of commuters and commercial sectors.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) is proposing an Electrified Double Tracking Project (EDTP) on an 8.1 km spur between the existing railway track in Subang Jaya to Subang Skypark Terminal.
KTM Berhad did not mention explicitly how the spur is going to be used. However, we think that they will provide rail connectivity as a better method of transport between existing public transport system (KTM Komuter) and Subang Skypark. We have been to Subang Skypark several times before and the connectivity is quite limited. Currently, our preferred method of public transport to reach the terminal is by using RapidKL bus. That can be inconvenient for some users. Furthermore, the usage of RapidKL bus might be cumbersome during traffic rush hours.
For quick information, Subang Skypark is a small airport located in Subang, Selangor. It serves mainly turboprop aircraft and is currently a hub for Firefly Airlines.
Therefore, all members of public are invited to check on the proposal and give feedback to said parties in a document which can be found here.
Recent developments in railway atmosphere in Malaysia have enabled greater access to rail transportation, thanks to mega projects such as the Electrified Double Tracking Project (EDTP). Recently the government announced that EDTP will be extended to Johor Bahru. As of now, EDTP between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh is already in use. For Ipoh-Padang Besar stretch, EDTP is still in construction.
Newer technologies require new set of skills to be maintained. This is evident in Malaysia’s reliance towards foreign engineers in handling its sophisticated train system, such as the ones from United Kingdom. The usage of manpower from overseas is very expensive but it has to take place due to lack of engineers in Malaysian train industry.
Manpower is one of the problem that surfaces alongside recent development in railway industry. Other than that, we are also facing other problems such as rolling stock procurement and also the reliability of current rail tracks. The tracks need to be more durable and less subjected to failures, especially along routes usually taken by freight trains.
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal said a lack of manpower in the sector resulted in Malaysia using the services of foreign engineers, such as those from the United Kingdom, to smoothen tasks involving the use of new technologies in the train system.
Kit Siang’s attitude (via a post published on his official blog) towards Malaysian Electrified Double Tracking Project (EDTP) is skeptical. According to the post, it is not justifiable to spend about RM 9 billion on the project simply because our trains run on meter gauge rails and cannot move as fast as the ones on standard gauge rails.
His argument on inability of trains to move fast along meter gauge is flawed. He might forget about the terrain nature of Malaysia which prohibits the usage of standard gauge rails, especially around hilly areas. He might also overlooked the fact that turning the whole inter-city railroad service from narrow gauge to standard gauge is extremely expensive, especially this will also include the exorbitant cost of modifying, if not replacing our current narrow-gauge rolling stock.
He might also forget the fact that our trains also run through the border to Thailand, which also uses meter gauge. Changing to standard gauge will adversely affect our freight services, which accounts a significant portion of revenue to our national railway company, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) . Of note, meter gauge has been here for a long time and it is a de facto standard for Southeast Asia railway network. Decision to change our railroad system (which is currently connected to neighboring countries) cannot be made single-handedly. Easier said than done.
The standard-gauge-run Acela Express, the only high-speed train service in the United States has an awesome top speed, which stands at 240 km/h. However, its average speed is only at 110 km/h due to local regulations in some stretches of its route and also due to geographical and infrastructure limitations. High speed trains are possible if the railroads are made away from general population due to high noise produced. Given our current layout, which often crosses cities and villages, it is not feasible to have such a high speed rail network as an alternative to EDTP.
Malaysia is paving its way towards better railroad service. With the introduction of double-tracked railway between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, a new KTM service called ETS (Electric Train Services) was introduced, offering a premium service with comfy fleet of trains with various amenities. The service might not be as perfect as the ones offered in some other countries but we need to be aware that we are paving our way towards betterment. ETS has top speed of 140 km/h and offers only two-hour journey between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh (non-stop). This is actually faster than cars (did I mention it is safer?).
Let us not forget that we HAVE ALREADY BEEN USING STANDARD GAUGE in our newer rail systems, such as LRT (both Ampang and Kelana Jaya Line) and KLIA Ekspres. The reason why we stick to meter gauge for inter-city rail system is due to the integration of our freight and passenger services to neighboring countries. Therefore, we can see that the current administration is able to realize the benefits of having standard gauge railways for speed and stability.
The EDTP project might have its flaws but by simply complaining without even care to seek solution is worse. Reading their comments about. This is most probably not written by Kit Siang but I write this response because the post resembles his viewpoint, unless he states otherwise. The current government is not perfect at all but that does not indicate everything they are doing is wrong. Consider doing some homework before complaining (and not giving specific solutions).
Inter-city rail service in Malaysia uses 1-meter long narrow gauge while most other parts in the world
KTM Berhad depends a lot on freight services to ensure its sustainability in business. KTM Intercity service is best known for their extremely cheap rates. This does not simply happen because KTM is generous. It is a company. It spends money on maintaining trains and stations and it needs every cent of them, be it from government’s initiative or fare collection from its users. Since the fare system barely gives them profit, they need KTM Freight to survive.
Ipoh – Padang Besar Electrified Double Tracking Project (EDTP) is one of the nation’s mega project. It consists of several scope of work, among them are The idea of Ipoh – Padang Besar EDTP is revived back by the government in 2006 after it was shelved a few years ago to reduce Malaysia’s national budget deficit. As of now, the project is said to be going on track and will be completed somewhere in 2012.
comments from onetwenty: I’m glad that he also realizes the importance of having double-tracking project. It is my ambition to become part of KTMB as I want to contribute my bit towards Malaysia’s ‘Tunggak Pengangkutan Rakyat’. This project has been delayed for several years already. Now, we can see that it is being carried out slowly by the contractors. I wonder how much time they will take to finish this project. Lets see the developments so far:
Ipoh – Padang Besar EDTP by states
Scope of Work
Route: Overall Length – 329 Km Sector 1: Kedah Line 158 Km Bukit Mertajam – Padang Besar Sector 2: Mainline 171 Km (Butterworth – Ipoh)
www.2t.com.my official website for Ipoh – Padang Besar EDTP. It contains almost everything that you want to know about Ipoh – Padang Besar EDTP. The news related to Ipoh – Padang Besar EDTP also can be found there.