KTM Komuter, the suburban commuter service by KTM, will be launching its Northern services come this Friday 11th September. The new service will be using three of the older three-car EMU (Class 83 – two in operation, one on standby), plying between Kamunting in Northwestern Perak, Butterworth in Penang and Gurun in Southern Kedah.
However, unlike the Klang Valley KTM Komuter service where one will find the trains operating at intervals as short as 15 minutes, this service will be more like that plying between Rawang and Tanjung Malim, i.e. a “shuttle” service. Trains will be running at 3-hour intervals, with an end-to-end journey in each direction taking slightly over two hours. Trains from either direction will go into Butterworth before resuming their journey.
The trains will be calling at all stations between Kamunting and Gurun, namely Bagan Serai, Parit Buntar, Nibong Tebal, Simpang Ampat, Bukit Mertajam, Bukit Tengah, Butterworth, Tasek Gelugor, and Sungai Petani. As to why the services start and end at Kamunting and Gurun rather than the more common sense Taiping and Sungai Petani, we speculate that this has to do with the fact that neither Taiping nor Sungai Petani has an immediate passing loop where trains could be stabled for the return journey. Still, for Gurun especially we opine the Komuter service will be a godsend. This will also undoubtedly be great news for those who wish to commute daily to Penang for work but live outside the state.