The future of Railways in Malaysia?

TRANSIT came across this posting at and would like to share it with you.  It describes some potential improvements to the railway system of the east coast as part of the East Coast Economic Region project.

ECER railway system

Malaysia’s national petroleum company Petronas owns a railway line which links its oil refinery complex and the nearby town of Kerteh, Terengganu, with the petrochemical complex in Gebeng, Kuantan and Kuantan Port near Kuantan, Pahang.

The line is mainly used to transport petroleum products, but has recently been opened up for general freight transport, with operation being conducted by KTM.

There have been proposals to extend the line to connect with the KTM line at Mentakab, and even suggestions to go as far as Kuala Terengganu and Tumpat


Now, say what you want to say about the politics behind these growth corridors. But do consider that the East Coast of Malaysia is an economic region strung along 5 major “pearls” namely, Kuantan, Kertih, Kemaman, Kuala Terengganu and Kota Bahru.

Connecting these “5 K’s” with passenger rail and freight rail will improve the growth of this economic region.

Connecting this region to KL and Penang on east-west rail corridors will complete the rail network and bring economic growth throughout the country.

An efficient railway system is deemed as an economical mass mover and a necessity for any developing country to achieve develop status.

In the ECER, several proposed initiatives are :
Feasibility study
To conduct a feasibility study for upgrading of the ECER railway system, focusing on :

Phase 1 – To connect railway line from Mentakab – Kuantan – Kuala Terengganu – Tanah Merah/Pasir Mas

Phase 2 – To connect railway line from Tanah Merah/Pasir Mas – Butterworth and Kuala Lumpur – Mentakab

Train Station upgrades

To upgrade the facilities at various train station in Tumpat, Tanah Merah, Kuala Krai, Gua Musang, Merapoh, Kuala Lipis & Jerantut


The improvements to the Malaysian railway are going to be a very vital part of improving the transportation networks in this country.  While most of the attention of the government and the public has been on increasing the Light-Rail Transit network, major improvements to the KTM railway have been taking place.

The electrification and double-tracking project will bring significant improvements to KTM freight and passenger service.

But TRANSIT wishes that the original double tracking project had gone from Seremban to Butterworth.  This would have created not only a fast train link between KL and Ipoh, but also a link between KL-Ipoh-Butterworth and possibly a KTM Komuter Utara to serve Malaysia’s second largest economic region.

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