The first of the 6-car Class 93 ETS Intercity EMUs built by CSR ZELC has finally entered service last Friday 3 September 2015. ETS 201 began service by operating the 5AM service from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur Sentral (EG9301). The ETS then operated the 9.30AM KL Sentral to Padang Besar service (EG9208).
The new ETS sports (some) facing seats with tables, a Muslim prayer room, disabled toilet, electrical convenience outlet and ceiling-mounted Passenger Information System (PIS) screens. Arrival at stations are automatically announced by male and female voices which sound familiar. The trains are also equipped with LTE-enabled WiFi throughout but at this stage it has not been turned on yet.
Below are some internal shots of the new trains.
KTMB has just released a statement today announcing the commencement of the existing Ekspres Langkawi service to and from Johor Bahru. The overnight service, which currently serves between KL Sentral and Haadyai in Thailand, will begin running from Johor Bahru come 1st September 2015. It will therefore be possible for passengers originating in Singapore to take a through train from Johor Bahru in south of the country all the way to Haadyai in Thailand. The Northbound service will leave Johor Bahru Sentral (JBS) daily at 5pm, reaching Haadyai the next day at 11:40am (Thai time – 12:40pm Malaysian). The southbound service will leave Haadyai at 5:45pm (Thai time – 6:45pm Malaysian), reaching Johor Bahru the next day at 4:25pm.
In the same press release, KTMB also announced the addition of two new ETS services to / from the north starting on the same date. The Kuala Lumpur – Butterworth sector will now get its own dedicated service, which leaves Butterworth for Kuala Lumpur at 7AM daily, reaching the capital at 10:50AM. The return trip to the North leaves at 8PM, reaching Butterworth at 5 minutes to midnight. This is certainly great news for those in the North to do a quick day trip to Kuala Lumpur, though some may find the departure from and arrival in Butterworth times slightly inconvenient. We think this may have to do with the availability of the new Class 93 EMU ETS for service, of which at least one is expected to be released into service very soon after completing a shakedown test run. We have no doubt however that as more of the new Class 93 ETS sets are released into service, the times will be improved as will be the choices.
KTMB will also be resuming shuttle services in the East Coast between Kemubu and Tumpat, come 31 August.
Amid the excitement of the newly launched ETS services to the North, KTMB is also introducing extra services using locomotive-hauled coaches to Padang Besar. The poster below, taken from KTMB’s website, details availability of the service.
The service utilises one of the two recently launched INKA second class coach rakes. Each rake is made up of six (6) Airconditioned Second Class coaches (ASC), one buffet car (ABC), and one Power Generating Car (PGC). Each ASC could accommodate sixty (60) seated passengers.
This service stops at a limited number of stations between KL Sentral and Padang Besar (eight); compare this to the newly launched ETS services at thirteen. Travel time with the INKA coaches is about one extra hour when compared to that of the ETS.
We just got word that effective tomorrow the ETS direct service to Padang Besar (direct as in not entailing change of trains) will commence. The service will leave KL Sentral at 0930 in the morning, stopping at 13 stations and reaching Padang Besar at 1500hrs. It would effect the return journey an hour later, reaching KL Sentral at 2115hrs. For fares and stations, refer to the photos below, courtesy of Mr Zainal Rashid Zakaria via Facebook
What is not clear is whether this service replaces the earlier non direct services between Ipoh – Butterworth – Padang Besar, or if it’s an addition. We will update this entry once we get the information.
EDIT: We can now confirm that the service is in addition to the one launched a day earlier. Just like the earlier service, this service will also utilise the older Class 91 EMU
The local press reported yesterday the commencement of ETS service from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar which began today. The news was greeted with a stream of congratulatory messages to KTMB and the mood among people who have been looking forward to it is generally an ecstatic one.
However, what was not clearly conveyed in most publications is the fact that it is not, at least not yet, a direct service from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar, or Butterworth for that matter. A glance at the released timetable and fare would tell you that the services are in fact Ipoh-Butterworth vv and Butterworth -Padang Besar vv. One would have to ‘hop’ trains in order to realise a trip from Kuala Lumpur to the North. To make matters slightly complicated is that the timing of the service makes it impossible for one to arrive in Ipoh in time to catch the connecting train to the North from KL. The train starts from Ipoh at 0500hrs, reaching Butterworth slightly under two hours later at 0650. The first train from KL would not reach Ipoh until 0820.
The train from Ipoh, having reached Butterworth, would then continue as another service to Padang Besar at 0730, reaching the latter at 0915. It would effect the return service at 1400hrs, reaching and leaving Butterworth at 1545 and 1700, before terminating in ipoh at 1850hrs. It is therefore possible currently for people from Padang Besar to get to KL via ETS (the last service of the day from Ipoh to KL leaves at 2000hrs) but there is no such connection from the other direction.
This whole arrangement is affected by the use of one of the older Class 91 EMU ETS, not the newer CSR ZELC Class 93s. At least not yet. And for the upcoming Hari Raya KTM is offering another service, direct to Padang Besar, using locomotive hauled coaches – the brand new INKA coaches.
Ticketwise we have been informed that ETS tickets will have to be bought separately for the separate sectors, though we imagine this is something you can do at any one station. For fares and time table, see images below (COURTESY OF MR ZAINAL RASHID ZAKARIA via Facebook)
This arrangement is temporary, however, we are sure you’ll be glad to hear. As more of the Class 93 ETS EMUs come online after successfully completing testing and commissioning, a more direct service will be introduced. Currently two sets are under testing, with the whole new fleet of ten expected to be in service by January 2016.
The Star reports that the planned resumption of KTMB passenger services on the East Coast line for Hari Raya may not come to pass due to unsatisfactory progress in ensuring the line is safe for operation. The line, which had been battered by unusual heavy floods last December, is in precarious state and KTMB has been working to restore the line. However, the Malaysian Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) says its approval for resumption of services is conditional upon KTMB restoring the line to meet safe operating conditions. SPAD quoted, in particular, the sleepers and stretches of ballast needing replacement, for which KTMB had only so far done a small amount of replacement works.
The Straits Times of Singapore today reports the commencement of the Johor Bahru Sentral (JBS)-Woodlands (Singapore) shuttle service. The service, which currently uses locomotive-hauled coaches, is known as the Tebrau shuttle. A one way trip from JBS into Woodlands costs RM5 while the one in the other direction is S$5 (RM14). There are seven return trips a day. This train service is expected to be a boon for daily commuters between JB and Singapore.
The Star today reported the Malaysian Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) as saying in a statement that it is not satisfied with the testing done on the brand new ETS (Class 93) slated for the service to Padang Besar.
It states that the new trains have yet to fully comply with conditions it must meet in order to ensure safe operations. It did not however elaborate what the conditions are. It instead recommends that KTMB uses the existing five Class 91 ETS EMUs.
Local paper Sinar Harian today quoted the Chairman of the Malaysian Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, as saying that the recently announced ETS service between Kuala Lumpur and the border town of Padang Besar cannot as of yet go ahead.
This is because, he is further quoted, that the process of train and track inspection for the service has not yet been completed. SPAD will approve the operation of the route once it is satisfied that public safety will not be compromised while using the new train (referring to the new Class 93 CSR Zhuzhou built 6-car intercity EMUs). He adds that KTMB has been informed to postpone the service pending the completion, of which the failure to do will force SPAD to take action.
Last week the Malaysian Ministry of Transport (MOT) and KTMB announced that the ETS will be ready for services to Padang Besar in time for Hari Raya.
KTM is launching a trial of the Johor Bahru – Woodlands (Singapore) shuttle service today, as a promotion for the full-fledged service which is expected to commence on 1st July. There is going to be one return journey per day, increased to seven by that date. When the service is launched in full, long distance intercity passengers to the North or Singapore will have to exchange trains at JB Sentral, as all train services will start and terminate at that station.