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.
The Star today reports that CSR ZELC is working hard to meet a deadline set by the Malaysian Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to resolve issues that has delayed the release of the new Class 93 ETS EMUs.
The report states that the major problem affecting the trains is the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, which is supplied by Bombardier. While CSR denies its trains are inherently problematic, it was noted that other trainsets (Class 83/91), manufactured by Hyundai, did not experience the problem.
SPAD was also quoted as saying that while it realises the mounting pressure to release the new trainsets for use, it will not give the approval for the new trainsets to enter commercial service until the Land Public Transport Act requirements are met.
The Star today reports that SPAD will not compromise on the safety aspects of the new Class 93 ETS EMUs. It is stated as quoting this to explain why the brand new trainsets have not yet entered service. The ETS services launched to the North a few days ago utilise the older Class 91 EMUs.
The trainsets are being tested and commissioned according to internationally recognised standard, the IEC61133. According to SPAD’s statement, the first set, ETS201 had failed the Free Fault Running (FFR) shakedown test, which requires the trainset to clock 10,000km without a single major failure. Each failure while testing would reset the kilometrage clock back to zero. The Star report goes on to explain how each potential failure could affect safety of train operations.
We are aware that many people are ecstatic over the launch of the new service to the North, and SPAD has been at the receiving end of some harsh criticisms for “delaying” the use of the new trains. The Star article would hopefully clear the air.
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.
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.
The Malaysian NST (New Straits Times) Business Times reported on 22 April 2015 that a local Malaysian company has received an LOI (Letter of Intent) from the Ministry of Transport (MOT) Malaysia, on direct negotiations basis, to supply 13 units of 4-car DMUs to the national railway operator KTMB.
The DMUs will be used primarily on the East Coast line between Gemas and Tumpat, to replace existing loco-hauled local train services. The local company is proposing Diesel-Electric DMUs from China, specifically CNR Tangshan which recently won multiple orders to supply meter and standard gauge DMUs to Argentina.
This is the first time in about 30 years that KTMB will be using DMUs, the last being the shortlived Diesel-Hydraulic DMUs built by Ganz Mavag of Hungary supplied in the mid 1980s.
The CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive (ZELC) made Class 93 EMUs are currently undergoing rigorous test runs between Tanjung Malim and Padang Besar (Radiating from Batu Gajah). The first set, ETS201, must pass a shakedown running , fault-free, in order to be released into traffic. KTM is looking into releasing this set for services up to Padang Besar in time for Hari Raya.