Electrified Double Tracking Project to Subang Skypark Terminal

KTM Berhad Logo
KTM Berhad Logo

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.

Source: KTM Berhad Official Website

KTM Komuter Derailed Near Rawang Station

A KTM Komuter train was derailed at Kilometer 354.88 new Rawang Station on November 1st, according to a BERNAMA news source.

Since KTM services share the same trackage, other services such as KTM Intercity and ETS are also affected. However, like previous incidents, KTM Berhad was quick in terms of response time. Passengers were then transported using shuttle buses, continuing their journey to their respective destinations.

New KTM ETS Schedule, effective October 1st 2013

KTM ETS
KTM ETS Logo

Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) has released a set of new schedules for ETS, effective October 1st 2013. The move is necessary in order to ensure KTMB can provide better service to the customers. The frequency of ETS trains are changed to fit the user’s needs better. you can read more froma news article by Bernama here.

With the completion of electrified double track railways, we do hope that the government will assist KTMB further in rolling stock procurement because we don’t see the point of having state-of-the-art railway system without making use to its full potential.

October 12th 2013 Update: We have updated our ETS Schedule.

About ETSKTM ETS (Electric Train Service) is a relatively new train service from KTMB. The first commercial run was done on August 12th 2010, after several times of postponement. For the time being, ETS plies the route between Ipoh and Seremban.

KTM ETS Food Service Quality

KTM ETS
KTM ETS Logo

Recently, I came across an article in The Star complaining about food service quality onboard ETS train. According to the author, one of the crew members responded rudely when he was asked about the food. Apart from rudeness, complaints can also be seen about unavailability of staff to take care of the orders placed at Food and Beverage counter in ETS’ Food & Beverage coach.

As a service provider with dedicated coach for food and beverage service, KTM Berhad should look into this problem seriously. While there are currently many KTMB staff who can behave appropriately and responded timely with customers’ complaints, there are also some of the ‘rotten eggs’ who smear the overall image of KTM Berhad.

The article mentioned above is about six months old (as of June 2013) but we are hoping that KTM Berhad has conducted a thorough investigation about this problem and rectified it in whichever way necessary. This is important to ensure customer satisfaction is taken up to a higher level.

ETS service is a prime choice of commuters traveling between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur. If the service quality (in terms of staff and on-time performance) can be improved, quite a number of people would not mind paying extra compared to public bus as long as they can have a comfortable ride between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur.

We are hoping that KTM Berhad will continue to look into ways to improve ETS service because it has clear advantage over bus service, which is the ability to circumvent through traffic jams (they use railroads!)

Update on July 27th 2013: Dead link

New Business Model for KTMB Freight

KTM Berhad Logo
KTM Berhad Logo

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.

KTM YDM4 Diesel Locomotive
KTM YDM4 Diesel Locomotive

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.

LANDASAN

 

KTM Berhad handed over plots of land in Kuala Sepetang to locals

KTM Berhad Logo
KTM Berhad Logo

After living next to the country’s first railroad network for about 100 years, a number of Kuala Sepetang families can live better life with less worry as KTM Berhad has agreed to transfer the land ownership to them.

Initially, KTM Berhad asked the state government a RM35 million ringgit payment in return. However, after negotiations with state government, they have agreed only to transfer the land to the villages without anything in return.

KTM Berhad has a lot of underutilized land asset in Malaysia. We hope that KTM continues to try their best to ensure the plots of land are being used at their maximum potential, yielding more revenue for KTM. The added revenue can further be used for proper maintenance of trains and also buying new trains. Throughout the years we can see how the lack of adequate fleet of trains has hurt KTM Berhad operation efficiency. Therefore it is hoped that KTM Berhad tries its best to ensure best customer experience for its customers..

Source: The Star – KTM land given to Kuala Sepetang folk, published on May 4th 2013 [link]

Kit Siang, meter gauge is enough for the time being.

Kit Siang's Blog Screenshot
Kit Siang’s Blog Screenshot

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) [2]. 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).

 

Footnotes

  1. Inter-city rail service in Malaysia uses 1-meter long narrow gauge while most other parts in the world
  2. 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.

KL Sentral is failing?

KTM Komuter Platform Area (KL Sentral)
KTM Komuter Platform Area (KL Sentral)

KL Sentral was developed to be the iconic intermodal transportation hub for Kuala Lumpur. The early phase of its mega-scale development stage is the KL Sentral station itself. The 700 ft x 515 ft station that opens in 2001 is now facing some of the problems that become a nuisance for commuters and tourists.

One of the problems highlighted is the abundance of stalls selling small items such as souvenirs and headscarves. As long as the stalls are carefully placed around the station that should not be a huge problem. Small stalls can also be seen around other transport hubs such as Port Authority Bus Terminal and Grand Central Station, both located in Manhattan, New York City, United States.

Another problem highlighted is the poor integration of bus system with the station, resulting in inefficient usage and confusion among travelers. As said in my previous article, in order to build a transport hub, we need to have a robust plan, make it future proof and have excellent integration across services.

In general, KL Sentral has already been doing its job greatly as rail transport hub. However, it needs to improve on its way of handing bus and taxi service.

Read more here:

  1. [The Star] – Traffic consultants highlight KL Sentral’s failure as the bus hub for Klang Valley
  2. [The Star] – Commuters have difficulty navigating KL Sentral’s haphazard layout