Malaysia starts new electric train service

(From left) Perak state executive council member Mah Hang Soon and Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai join KTM president Sarbini Tijan as he checks out the new electric trains.
(From left) Perak state executive council member Mah Hang Soon and Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai join KTM president Sarbini Tijan as he checks out the new electric trains.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA KANGSAR • Malaysia yesterday started its first electric train service (ETS) linking Kuala Lumpur to the town of Padang Besar at the Thai border.

A one-way trip will take four hours and 45 minutes, and cost RM81 (S$29), officials say. A trip by car from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar, located in Perlis state, would take at least two hours more. The regular train ride between the capital and Padang Besar takes 10 hours.

The new service will cover 28 stations along its route, including Ipoh. The trains can travel at speeds of up to 160kmh.

The ETS project by national railway company Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) - started in August 2010 - has linked KL and Ipoh, the capital of Perak state.

A KL-Ipoh ETS trip takes two hours - at least an hour less than a journey by car.

"We expect to receive positive public response for its faster and more comfortable service," Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai was quoted by Bernama news agency as saying on Thursday, referring to the KL-Padang Besar service.

Over the next week, there will be two KL-Padang Besar trips a day and two Padang Besar-KL trips a day, according to KTM's website - ahead of the Hari Raya celebrations, during which tens of thousands of people will travel back to their hometowns.

KTM is also constructing a southern line for the electric train, all the way to Johor Baru, according to previous reports.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'Malaysia starts new electric train service'. Print Edition | Subscribe