15 May 2009
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
KUALA LUMPUR: KTMB is solving the high demand for commuter trains by running “hybrid” trains which are made up of disused KTM Komuter coaches pulled by diesel locomotives.
KTMB managing director Datuk Abd Radzak Abd Malek said this is a short-term measure to deal with peak hour congestion until the new electric commuter train arrives.
Speaking to reporters after launching the service at Kuala Lumpur station, Abd Radzak said two such hybrid have been running since May 6.
The trains are serving the Shah Alam-KL Sentral and Kajang-Rawang routes. More routes will be added later.
The disused KTM Komuter trains are those whose engines are out of commission.
It is good to see that KTMB is innovating and trying to do more with the situation that they have been stuck with. It is sad that they have been stuck with this situation because of a lack of investment from the government.
Before you complain to a KTMB employee, please remember that KTM Komuter is carrying 3 times the number of passengers it carried in 1994 – using a fleet that is less than half of the original fleet.
It is absolutely wrong that KTM Komuter service is effectively regressing. Going back to diesel locomotives to pull these Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) trains is simply sad and it never should have happened – but that is what you get with poor planning.
Moaz from TRANSIT did speak to KTMB management in mid-2008 and gave a specific suggestion about running shuttle trains pulled by the extra diesel locomotives – apparently the new KTM locomotives bought in 2007 were underpowered so instead of using them for freight trucks they are using them to pull passenger carriages.
TRANSIT assumes that KTMB does not have enough passenger carriages to be pulled since the intercity service is actually seeing growth, so they are innovating again by making use of the ‘dead’ EMU trains.
In effect, we have reduced KTM Komuter service to using weak, underpowered diesel locomotives pulling dead EMU trains that can no longer move under their own power to provide a level of service that is way below expectations.
I do not mean for this to be insulting but this is like a case of ‘the blind leading the blind’ – and a true example of the effect of poor planning and poor decision making by the government – who delayed the purchase of new train.
What upsets TRANSIT even more is that the government has only purchased 13 new EMUs for the KTM Komuter service – when in fact they should have purchased 100 new EMU trains!
KTMB is listening and innovating and doing the best they can with the few crumbs they have been given – but it is the politicians who really need to hear what is being said.