TRANSIT took note, (with some surprise) of comments by the Minister of Transport that the double tracking and electrification from Seremban to Sg. Gadut would be completed by Christmas (presumably Christmas Day 25 December 2010?) with KTM Komuter and ETS trains operational!
There are two surprises here – first, that Sg. Gadut would be complete and operational in such a short time (54 days away and counting down), and second, the explicit reference to Christmas Day. We do not often see people in the government or public transport operators use holidays as symbolic days to “start up” a service, which is why the ETS did not start on 31 August 2007 (as it very well could have if it had trains), why the 4-carriage trains started operating a few days before the end of 2009 (rather than, say, 31 December or 1 January or 16 September).
ETS to reach Sg Gadut by Christmas (The Star)
Friday October 29, 2010
SEREMBAN: The south-bound Komuter and Electric Train Service (ETS) will be extended to the new Sg Gadut station near here on Christmas Day.
The move is to reduce congestion at the Seremban train station and minimise traffic entering the town.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said work on the new station was in progress to ensure it would be opened by Dec 25.
“The new Senawang station will also be opened on the same day,” he said after visiting the station here.
The ETS service currently ends in Seremban.
Passengers travelling on board the ETS can get to Ipoh from here in three hours.
The ETS now provides eight return trips from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh and two from Seremban to Ipoh.
Kong said work on the RM3.4bil Seremban-Gemas double-tracking and electrification project was also on schedule and was expected to be ready by August 2012.
“We have one or two land acquisition problems but we are confident of sorting this out soon,” he said.
He said the authorities also ran into problems when trying to acquire a parcel of land which was previously a cemetery.
“We are grateful to the Negri Sembilan government for assisting us in this matter. Otherwise, this project would have been delayed,” he said.
Indian company IRCON International Limited was awarded the project to build and upgrade the 98km stretch between Seremban and Gemas.
The project, he said, had been divided into two phases – Seremban–Sg Gadut (11.3km) and Sg Gadut–Gemas (86.8km).
He said once completed, travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Gemas would be reduced from the current three hours to two.
As you can see from the photo above (and supported by comments on Malaysian public transport forums), it would be hard to get the service up and running in less than 2 months – some even point out that wiring has not been strung (let alone being powered up or tested) – and one really has to wonder if this can be done in such a short time without cutting corners on safety & security.
But if it can be done…then the obvious questions will have to be asked – such as, why did the electrification of the Rawang-Ipoh and Sentul Batu Caves projects take so long to complete? Some may also ask why KTM Komuter and ETS should be extended, when KTM Komuter is already overextended and ETS trains are being used to provide additional supprt.
Another interesting detail is that Sg. Gadut will be the first railway station (not MRT/LRT) that is built above ground, as part of a 1.5km viaduct.
Thursday, October 28th, 2010
SEREMBAN: Sungat Gadut will soon be home to Malaysia’s first elevated train station, spanning 1.5 kilometres, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.
The elevated train track that will run through it is part of the Electrified Double Tracking Project, expected to be fully completed by 2012, which costs about RM3 billion.
“The elevated track is necessary because this area is prone to flooding,” Kong said during a visit to the station, which is still under construction, here today.
Upon completion, the Komuter and Electric Train Service (ETS) which currently ends in Seremban, will stop at its final station in Gemas, he added.
Kong said the Seremban-Gemas train route will consist of seven stations from Seremban to Gemas, with an estimated travel time of two hours compared to three hours on the highway.
He added that the 98.116-kilometre Seremban-Gemas double tracking project crossing Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor, will be fully optimised with the use of Komuter and ETS trains.
There you have it – history in the making! Never mind the allegations of corruption or the question of public consultation with respect to the route tho.
TRANSIT has noticed that since 2008, traffic congestion on the North-South Expressway around Seremban has been reduced significantly – part of this is because of the completion of the LEKAS (Lebuhraya Kajang-Seremban) which has reduced the number of people using the North-South highway for short distance travel around Seremban.
TRANSIT hopes that the arrival of improved Komuter and ETS service (which will hopefully be supported by improved stage and feeder bus service in Seremban), will reduce congestion on the North-South Expressway even more – allowing intercity bus service to be safer and more reliable.