MRT Update: A comparison of MRT & LRT train lengths is in order (Update #2)

  • Updated with a new image including the 6-carriage KTM Komuter trains!
  • Updated with a new image showing LRT & MRT trains from Malaysia only!

TRANSIT has taken note of various comments & reports showcasing the advantages of the MRT over the LRT – as well as recent articles highlighting surveys by the Go-MRT group showing 93/95% support (depending on which article you read) for the MRT project.

When we see anecdotal comments such as these, we often wonder if the people who comment are really taking the time to understand the issue or simply responding to ‘themed’ questions in those surveys that can direct people towards certain answers (and therefore, direct the survey to certain results).

In other words, perhaps these surveys are ‘loaded’ because people do not really understand what the actual differences are.

This is the most dangerous sort of situation, where the public give their nearly-unconditional approval to projects (the more ‘mega’ the better) based on the assumption that the ‘investment’ is an improvement on what already exists.

Sometimes the differences are a lot smaller than people would think.

A few weeks ago, TRANSIT asked our favourite illustrator @Bukhrin (who has done some wonderful Klang Valley route maps for us) to help the public compare the MRT to the existing LRT system. @Bukhrin came up with this image shown below, which does a wonderful job of comparing the lengths of the six L and M “RT” trains that have operated or are proposed for the Klang Valley:

  • Klang Valley MRT 4-carriage (proposed for “MRT” lines);
  • ADtranz 3-carriage articulated EMU train (operating on Ampang Line);
  • ADtranz 2-carriage articulated EMU train (operated on Ampang Line)
  • Bombardier ART Mark II 4-carriage set (operating on Kelana Jaya line);
  • Bombardier ART Mark II 2+2 carriage set (tested on Kelana Jaya Line);
  • Bombardier ART Mark II 2-carriage (operating on Kelana Jaya Line).
Comparison of MRT & LRT train lengths, carriage combination & door structure - including the existing LRT trains and proposed rolling stock for the Sg. Buloh - Kajang MRT line. Image courtesy of @Bukhrin.

Click here for a larger version of the image above.

More information after the jump!

Explanation:

The first train is the proposed rolling stock for the Sg. Buloh – Kajang line. This train has 4 carriages and is 89100 mm (89.1 m) in length. The width is 3.1 m

The next train is the Ampang Line LRT train. This train is formed of 3 articulated (meaning one bogey is shared between two segments) carriages and is approximately 84000 mm (84.0 m) in length. We will update the image once we have the most accurate information.

A smaller version of the Ampang Line LRT train was formed of 2 articulated carriages and was approximately 56000 mm (56.0 m) in length.

Finally, the image shows the LRT trains for the Kelana Jaya line. First, the new 4-carriage LRT train, which is 67100 mm (67.1 m) in length.

The second Kelana Jaya line train is a 4-carriage trainset formed of 2 units of 2-carriage (2+2) Kelana Jaya LRT trains, which is 67400 mm (67.4 m) in length. This type of train does not operate in revenue service (carrying passengers) on the Kelana Jaya line but such a train can be formed if necessary, such as this 4-carriage train from Vancouver’s Skytrain (which uses the same ART Mark II trains as the Kelana Jaya line in Kuala Lumpur).

Finally, we include the basic 2-carriage Kelana Jaya LRT train, the Bombardier ART Mark II at 33700 mm (33.7 m) in length.

All ART Mark II trains are 2.65 m in width.

What about KTM Komuter trains?

@Bukhrin also sent us this new image, showing a new 6-carriage KTM Komuter train alongside the MRT & LRT trains. We might even get some more images from him if we ask nicely!

In case you are wondering, the KTM Komuter train is 138600 mm (138.6 m) in length. That is the same length as a ‘typical’ MRT train – so this diagram shows us what our 4-carriage MRT will look like in comparison to a ‘typical’ 6-carriage MRT.

Comparison of KTM Komuter, LRT & MRT trains which are operating or will operate in the Klang Valley. Image courtesy of @Bukhrin.

If you cannot see any clear images, click here for a larger version of the image above.

The Original Image:

@Bukhrin’s original drawing compared an Alstom C830 Metropolis train, currently being used on the City Circle Line in Singapore, with the proposed MRT and existing Kelana Jaya LRT line trains.

The Alstom Metropolis train has 3 carriages and is 70100 mm (70.1 m) in length.

Click here for a larger version of the image above.

TRANSIT Says:

So what can we learn from all of this?

Well, we at TRANSIT were surprised to learn that our MRT trains would only be 4 carriages in length as we were expecting that with all the hype, the MRT would be something quite different from the existing LRT trains.

To many Malaysians the phrase “MRT” refers to what they see in other countries, namely Singapore (our nearest neighbour with an urban rail system).MRT or Mass-Rapid Transit (also referred to as “subway” in North America, “metro” in many European countries, and interestingly enough, “MTR” – for Mass-Transit Rail – in Hong Kong) to most people refers to trains composed of 6 or 7 carriages (usually 22-24 meters in length) with total train length of 135-140m.

For information on common passenger-rail terminology click here.

The image designed by @bukhrin shows very clearly that there is little difference in terms of length between our existing LRT trains and the proposed Sg. Buloh – Kajang MRT rolling stock. In some cases, the difference in width is not that great either.

Which begs the question, what is the big deal about the MRT anyways? And why do we have to pay so much more for it?

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26 thoughts on “MRT Update: A comparison of MRT & LRT train lengths is in order (Update #2)”

    1. Longer trains do make a difference, but this MRT will not be a 6-carriage MRT train.

      The 4-carriage MRT is not that much longer than the Ampang LRT (5m difference) and is similar in width but the cost of MRT is that much higher.

      That worries us.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

    1. @Bukhrin

      If you can, add the article name, date & page number so there is an ‘official’ reference. You could look at scanning it later – we could add a link to the article to our post.

      Cheers, m

  1. Didn’t you know our government cronys have to earn tonnes of money out of this project?? It cost so much because of our government close one eye and let the cronys do whatever they want simply because a lot of big shots government officials are smart and more intelligent now. They are in cahhots with the cronys companies and they really know how to “wipe their mouth really clean” after they enjoyed the “sumptious meal”. It’s not so easy to find concrete evidents and nail them in nowadays. I went to Prasarana in Dayabumi that day, I also questioned the two officers there about the length of the train, in fact they couldn’t provide any proper answers too. I asked them three main questions about the length of the train:

    1. I asked them why our MRT train is so short compare to Singapore or Hong Kong?? Yet we still need so much money to purchase the train.

    2. In the 1980s, Singapore only had 3 million in populations, if they can have to foresight to see the future needs for MRT and purchase a 6 or 8 freight trains but why not Malaysia?? Because our metro stations are so packed now and in dired needs for a much bigger capacity and size train. In fact, our present Klang Valley population is already approaching towards 6 million.

    3. Then one of the Malay officers with moustache I forgot his name he claim that each coach is 22 metres long with 4 doors, so what???!!! It is still not enough handle a large population/passengers especially when our population in Klang Valley will reached a whoppy 10 million by 2020 or even more.

    None of them, literally none of the officers there are able to provide a satisfactory and logic, rational answers to all my questions about the length of the train. This haven’t include their incompetency of failure in answering all my other questions on MRT related issues/matters.

    In fact, I would like to suggest all Prasarana officers to be totally revoked and changed to somebody who is really competent and well versed in public transport matters. I know Teoh Beng Hock Royal Commission Enquiry case has nothing to do with this issue, but when the chairman of the royal commission questioned one of the MACC officers whether he joint MACC because of a high salary or because of other reasons, because this MACC officer was so incompetent and useless when it comes to answering questions in the commission, he is either forget or don’t know.

    So I hope the officers in Prasarana/SPAD can be changed to a really and GENUINE COMPETENT AND WELL-VERSED (USEFUL) OFFICERS ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSPORT MATTERS.

    I think SPAD and Prasarana just assume that they will never expect they will come across Malaysians who are knowledgble enough to ask them professional and complicated questions, so they just “senang-senang” and “lenang-lenang” simply find a person who can so called fill in the post and serve as the officers there whether they are genuinely competent or not.

    Well, it’s time for your ALL lousy government officers to wake up, we the new generation and more well educated Malaysians are here. We are no more going to be cheated and pushed by all the lame and corrupted, useless and retarded government officials anymore!!!

  2. As for your information, MMC-Gamuda another very obvious and typical government crony and other government cronys will only consider three things when they build a subway/metro lines:

    1. How to maximise/optimise profits by marking up the construction price tags?? Instead of how to maximised the mrt with minimum money.

    2. The present Malaysian government will consider how to make sure the mrt lines will go through areas that will produce the most supports and votes for the next national general elections?? Instead of the lines going through areas that are really in dire needs of good public transport systems.

    3. How to make things look good (hide up every flaws, incompetency and mistakes) for the whole construction process (marketing and packaging) so that the rakyat (people) will minimised complaint and the extra work of handling our (rakyat) so called “disturbing/more work” complaints, suggestions and opinions. You think I don’t know that.

    No doubt the government had setup all kinds of websites and channels for us to voice out, this is because they are “forced” to do so. Let say if nobody makes a hoo hah and everybody keep quiet, I can 100% DARE TO TELL YOU that the government will not bother at all to set up all these communications channels and “things”.

  3. Well done Bukhrin and Transit for the informative illustration. If my memory serves me right(correction welcomed), Kelana Jaya Line was built with RM1.2 billion for a 35+ KM line completed in 1998. If you break it down perKM basis, it costs about RM35mil/km.
    Just take a rough 3-4% inflation every year multiply by 11 years = 33-44%, ie the maximum cost per km as of now should be around RM50mil/km.

    The MRT, by massive in name, cost us RM36bil (and counting) and its approximately a massive RM720mil/km!!!

    And despite the hoohah, seemingly the rolling stocks are no any superior or wider than the current LRT’s carriage…. makes NO SENSE!

  4. you are seriously got to be kidding me.

    4 carriages and not 6?

    it’s not rocket science to foresee that 4 carriages is definitely not enough.

  5. Even 8 carriages wasn’t enough..hehe

    I think Bombardier win again to bring their China-made MOVIA to our shore…

  6. Is it just me or does MRTs have bigger wheels than LRTs, anyways does that translate to more speed and better acceleration?

    @Beekay
    RM720mil/km

    If this were true, I am just lost for words. But I think they said something about 3 MRT lines to total of 130km or something.

    BTW, they have cleared a plot of land next to kajang station. Are they suppose to start construction before the end of 3 month public display or after? Or may be I am confused with some other non-related site.

  7. Maybe the SPAD and PRASARANA thought although populations increased but the size of the people will shrink. 4 carriages or 6 are definitely not enough if the Klang Valley population really soars to 10 million (or even more) people by 2020. But the government just can never accept people’s opinion. When I was a Prasarana in Dayabumi tower, one of the officers told one coach can handle 1200 people. It’s more than enough, let’s just wait and see, whether our words are right or the Prasarana stupidity/idiotic will prevail.

  8. @Jeffrey

    Klang Valley is a wide area and much of the places is yet to be developed. So if it soars, I suppose people would be spread out away from cities to live in a sub-urban kind of setting, and hopefully by then tele-working would really start to take shape, or certain commercial centers will be relocated outside of the city, thus reduce the need of everybody to converge on to KL.

    As for the short trains, they will first face the problem of low ridership, and then as maintenance catches up with it, they will face overcrowding, but don’t assume that all residents will want to commute on this line as this line does not go to the only place where people work.

    Nor would students, Malaysian transport planning does not really look into the viability of serving schools instead of the usual business area, tourist area or residential area.

    I do know that there are some schools that are situated next to train stations, but those are few and soon to be relocated.

    As someone posted here before, when the MRT comes, land value will increase, and when that happens so will inflation,low income people are expected to leave such areas or be made to leave by the hardship installed upon them.

    There are no real plans to build flats for low income people to capitalize on MRT. Instead thought is given to those who may “afford” the pricing of MRT. Thus, the richer neighbourhoods are currently served.

    The government should take the initiative as was done in Singapore and make a low-income area that is integrated with MRT and fed by several feeder bus, as is the case in Woodlands. Also, future schools should be made close to stations such that young people may be nurtured to use public transport

  9. @Sam

    I don’t know how old are you, but anyone who lives and survives in this country long enough for at least a quarter century in their adult life, they will learn one very important thing. The government will only know and able to “do work” after they lost a by or general elections. They will only respond to rakyat “genuine grievances/complaints” properly and accurately after the people have shown top boiling agitation/anger motions like street demonstrations that happened in 1990s and when they lost a few states after in the general elections in few years ago. I don’t think that what you said will likely happened if we (the rakyat/people) did not show our true colours, frustations and anger. It’s very unfortunate for me to say that but it is too true to be true, it is the genuine truth/methods about how things work in our country. Eventhough nowadays about “beloved” Prime Minister YAB Mohd Najib said from now on the government will really listen to the grievances and needs of the rakyat, unfortunaetly, everytime when you trying to talk or bargain to any government officials nowadays they are still very defensive although we use facts and reasons to convey our messages. Sometimes before you managed to finish any sentence they’ll try to refute back already. It’s very sad to know that but it’s VERY VERY TRUE, I went through that many times already. On the surface, yes, they make the packaging very nice as if they really willing to listen to the rakyat. But when you are really taling to them face to face, it’s another very different STORY AT ALL 100% DIFFERENT!!!

  10. I pity you, it must be so hard for you.Better migrate to Australia jeffrey before they make it more difficult..or Singapore is just perfect for you.

    Back to topic

    We are still missing many details. What is the max. train length for the MRT? Maybe the four coach trains are deployed when ridership is low just like the two car LRT trains during the intial years of the Putra LRT.

    But is is good we demand that the MRT could accommodate max. future ridership as much as possible and I agree a four car trains is not good enough. When I take LDP and MRR2 back home I can’t imagine how dense PJ/kelana Jaya/Damansara will be once those blocks of condos and aprtments get finished along the highway and I do not see many buses and the Kelana Jaya four car trains crawl pathetically along the gridlocked LDP.

    1. @forrestcat

      From what we have been told, the length of the stations (as proposed for the Sg. Buloh – Kajang Line) will only be enough to accommodate 4-carriage MRT trains – approximately 95-100m in length.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  11. Is just longer than the current 4-coach LRT by 25%. What a pity.

    The main reason they wouldn’t opt for 6-carriages longer train simply because they can’t afford to have longer (bigger) station (on some elevated station location as PBD, Sek 16, TTDI etc) due to the site-layout or road-layout, are not permissible.

    Normally, and for safety reason, MRT train, stop with all carriages in straight row. I have not seen any MRT station in the world, with a curvy platform (such as Rawang komuter station). But if the road or available-site underneath the MRT station has slight radius, there is a limit of how long the train/stations can go before the pillars could not found grounds..

    1. @Azmi

      Straight lines are ideal but not 100% mechanically necessary. There are a few MRT stations in different cities that have noticeable curves. London Underground and New York have stations that are notable for those curves. Of course, these are older stations in older systems.

      I suppose it would be fair to say that modern MRT systems are much more efficient with straight station platforms.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  12. Hi Moaz,
    Thanks for your additional info. SPAD should be made aware of this possibility hence not limiting the station’s size (platform length) which affecting the train’s length and it’s ability to carry more passengers.

    1. Azmi

      We agree that SPAD will have to be reminded that they are making a very important decision that will permanently impact the MRT.

      This important limiting factor (platform size) will have to be considered carefully.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  13. i seriously don’t understand. i am not a big fan of the government or the other way around, but how the figure RM36 billion came about?

    and people outside of this project of the first mrt line, are still unsure of the estimated cost for the rolling stock and fixed stock because cost varies over time.

    36 billion has been bandied for the first line but as far as i can remember, back in december najib announced the RM36 billion is the estimated cost for the MRT project.

    he didn’t say 36 billion for one line (kajang-sungai buloh). for the past two months, i have checked with few people including the government staff and politicians from both side of the divide and all of them didn’t know whether projected 36 billion was for one line or for all the proposed three lines (SBK, circle line and another line). i wonder how the some newspaper and news independent website reported that 36 billion is for SBK.

  14. I came across this newspaper article about the four-car train. Maybe it’s close to accurate or maybe it is based on latest information from the operator. Syarikat Prasarana claimed the four-car train will carry 50% more than current four-car LRT Kelana Jaya line train and there’s a possibility the MRT train will be driverless like the Vancouver SkyTrain.

    Have you seen this link? http://bit.ly/kcpNY7’s-fourcar-mrt

    1. @Ashville

      The link you posted appears to be broken. However, we are familiar with the article that you mentioned.

      The information in the article is not that much different from what we already posted about the MRT. We were told back in February (at the beginning of the public display) that the train would be 4 carriages in length and the train carriages would be 22 or 21m in length (depending on the carriage) for a total length of approximately 89m. We will not know the final details until the tender is actually awarded

      The claim that the trains can carry 50% more passengers than the LRT is not based on the Ampang Line trains, but rather, the Kelana Jaya line.

      As for the trains being driverless, this hardly matters. Automatic Train Operation will control the train spacing and speed whether there is a driver or not).

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

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