Letter: RAIL LINKS: Waiting for an easy ride

This letter in the NST caught our attention.

RAIL LINKS: Waiting for an easy ride

2009/02/06

IN June 2007, the former transport minister proudly announced in the press that the rail double-tracking from Rawang to Ipoh was 98 per cent completed. He also said the commuter service from Tanjung Malim to Rawang would commence on Jan 1 last year.

Unfortunately, the commuter service from Rasah to Kuala Kubu Baru only started on Jan 5. It was later announced by KTMB that the service from Tanjung Malim would only begin on June 8, but again, nothing happened. Later a July 2008 deadline was mentioned.

However, at the end of last year, it was announced that the commuter service from Tanjung Malim would begin only in July this year due to a shortage of trains.

I wonder if the service to Tanjung Malim will indeed begin in July. It has become KTMB’s habit to keep postponing the dates by six months. We have a university (Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris) in Tanjung Malim attended by more than 15,000 students, and with the growing demand from other sectors, an efficient rail service is necessary. It is only 10 minutes by train from Tanjung Malim to Kuala Kubu Baru.

I also hope KTMB will be able to bring forward to next month the date to start the Tanjong Malim-Seremban service, without making passengers get down at Rawang station, get across the platform via a steep pedestrian crossing and join the queue there to board another commuter train to Seremban.

TRANSIT says:

The extension of the KTM Komuter service to Tanjung Malim is one of the interesting questions – chief among them being, “Is this a worthwhile extension?”

The answer is, in general, this extension is not worthwhile. Tanjung Malim is located on the Selangor-Perak border. It is relatively equal in distance between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur – a perfect place for a stop on a Ipoh-KL long distance intercity train – but not the ideal place for a KTM Komuter train – which services the Klang Valley.

On the other hand, Seremban is served by KTM Komuter – so why not Tanjung Malim? Well, Seremban is a larger and busier town as well as a major transport centre. Tanjung Malim is not.

Another factor that must be considered is the effect on KTM Komuter services if the line is extended to Tanjung Malim.  There will be more delayed trains since KTMB does not have enough Komuter trains operating for the Kajang-Kepong Sentral stretch.  Extension to Tanjung Malim will mean that waiting time between Komuter trains will increase.

KTMB’s current solution of using shuttle trains to Rawang is (unfortunately), the best one available for the Komuter service right now. In future there may be a truncated KTM Komuter service, with Electric Multiple Unit trains from Sg. Buloh to Kajang, with the service from Rawang to Tg. Malim and service in Negri Sembilan using diesel trains.

If the government had purchased the trainsets for the KL-Ipoh High Speed Rail service, then it would be serving Tanjung Malim. Sadly, these trainsets will not arrive for a few more years.

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