As most would know by now, KTMB has received the first of 5 Electric Multiple Unit trainsets which will be operated on the Ipoh-KL-Seremban route. The handover ceremony for the first train was yesterday (15 December) at Kuala Lumpur station, followed by an open house (open train?) until 5pm.
Today (16 December) the train is at Ipoh Railway station from 9am-5pm.
TRANSIT was graciously invited to the handover by KTMB staff and we expressed our thanks to them at the ceremony.
Ironically, the train arrived on time but the Minister of Transport was 1 hour late. But that did not matter too much as it gave those present time for an enjoyable rehearsal.
Enjoy the video & photos and weblinks.
- Article: KL to Ipoh in less than 2 hours (NST);
- Article: KL-Ipoh train service likely to see 20,000 more passengers per month (The Star)
- Article: On the fast track to Ipoh (the Star);
- Article about KTM’s current KL-Ipoh shuttle service.
Many more images can be found online
We were happy to be at the handover and launching for the ETS trainset because it represents the hope of KTMB staff and customers for newer, better quality of KTM services.
While at the event, TRANSIT took the time to speak to a number of important parties and asked some questions of the Minister of Transport during the media Q & A session.
TRANSIT spoke to Azizullah, who is in charge of ETS Sdn. Bhd. (a KTMB subsidiary) about his plans for the ETS service, the branding of ETS, and plans for expansion.
We also spoke to Dr. Aminuddun, the President of KTMB, about the ETS service. It was a pleasant surprise to hear him say that the ETS was 2 years late and that KTMB would have to work hard to catch up.
We discussed his plans for the restructuring of the company which will see the various divisions (Komuter, Intercity, Freight) become separate companies under the KTMB group structure, and purchase of more ETS trainsets and 38 additional EMUs for the KTM Komuter service.
Dr. Aminuddin also talked about the possibility of selling track time to other interested companies who might like to operate train services along the KTM rail lines. We discussed the advantages, disadvantages and issues experienced in some countries that introduced railway deregulation (especially the UK). Dr. Aminuddin also invited TRANSIT to a dialogue about ways to improve services.
TRANSIT also spoke to Hider Yusof, manager of KTM Komuter services. We discussed the number of available trains and the progress of the overhaul. TRANSIT was told that the target is to return 1 train to service each month and that the Komuter division would have 30 trains operating by March 2010. The current hybrid trains would then be reactivated as Electric Multiple Units.
Hider also mentioned efforts to improve KTMB staff’s customer service training, and TRANSIT will give feedback on our observations and some issues that concern the public.