- Update: 6 EMU trains are expected to arrive and be operational by the end of 2011. See this article in The Star (reproduced below with comments from TRANSIT).
- Update: Thank you to @wrongdoings_rapidKL for the links to the articles about the launching of the first of the new EMUs. We will continue to update this post as we find more photos!
TRANSIT took note of this piece of information from Bernama, which confirms that the first of the new EMU trains for KTM Komuter is expected to arrive by September 2011 – approximately 2 months away.
TRANSIT can see the train arriving and being welcomed/launched on 31 August 2011 as a special gesture. Perhaps as a way for making up for the fact that the KTM ETS service could have been ready on 31 August 2007 (the 50th anniversary of Merkeda!) if the government had only purchase the trains!
In any case, our big question is not when will the trains arrive, but rather, how soon will they get enough trains into service so that KTM Komuter becomes reliable and frequent again.
First China Made EMU For KTM Commuter Service To Arrive Before September (Bernama, 6 July 2011)
From Alan Ting
ZHUZHOU (Southeast China), July 6 (Bernama) — The first consignment of 38 Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) units of six-car trains ordered by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) for commuter services will arrive in Malaysia before September, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha.
He said the EMU, build by China state owned CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co. Ltd (CSR ZELC) were well ahead of the schedule with the first consignment expected to be put into service before the end of this year.
“The delivery will be in stages with full delivery of the total 38 EMUs by June next year,” he told Malaysian reporters here after “the roll out ceremony” for the first of the 38 EMU sets of the six-car trains ordered by KTMB at SCR ZELC plant here.
Also present were the Governor of Hunan Province Xu Shousheng, chairman of CSR ZELC Zhao Xiaogang and KTMB President Dr Aminuddin Adnan.
KTMB has signed an agreement with ZELC, a well known China EMU builder on May 19 last year to purchase custom-build EMU sets of the six-car trains for commuter service in Klang Valley under the government’s National Key Results Areas (NKRA) for public transport. Kong said the custom build EMU specifically to run on Malaysia meter gauge (measuring one metre or 3 ft, 33/8 inches wide) which can travel up to 140 km/h.
He said the purchase of 38 EMUs cost RM1.89 billion and was awarded to ZELC based on the lowest price offered in their bid for the government procurement tender.
“The contract does not include Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) which we are still looking into awarding soon,” he said.
The trains of six sets has a futuristic design, using latest train technology from China with two KTM engineers based here for the past three months to ensure all systems follow the specifications set by KTM.
Each train set is capable of carrying about 900 passengers and this means KTM can double its passenger transport rate as well shorten the waiting period from currently 30 minutes to 10 and to only seven and half minute at peak hours.
Meanwhile, Dr Aminuddin said the 38 new EMUs will be used to serve the routes between Rawang-Sungai Gadut, Batu Caves-Port Klang, Sentul-Port Klang and Batu Caves-Rawang.
He said with the entry of new EMUs from China, the usage of “EMU hybrid’ will be reduced.
KTMB had introduced the use of EMU Hybrid trains since last year to overcome the problem of cancellation, delays and shortage of trains.
The KTM Komuter EMU Hybrid sets use diesel locomotive power with the help of power-generating car that provides electricity for their air-conditioners, public address system and automatic doors.
So there you go – better KTM Komuter service by the end of 2011 – we hope.
We certainly hope that the government will not stop with these 38 trains and purchases at least 40 more trains (over the next few years) to replace the current fleet and allow for some expansion of services.
We believe that KTM Komuter can achieve 5 minute frequencies during peak hours & daytime along the Batu Caves – Klang and Sg. Buloh – Kajang corridors, with ETS service operating the extended Komuter routes instead.
These kinds of frequencies will only be possible with an investment in a rail bypass from Alor Gajah to Port Klang to Batu Gajah, as well as improvements to the KTM corridor between Bangsar and Sentul.
The question is can KTM Komuter passengers hold out until the end of 2011?
The article below is an update on the launching. From the article we have learned that there should be 6 units of the 6-carriage EMU trains operating by the end of 2011. The remaining trains will have been delivered (but all will not necessarily be operational by June 2012.
KTMB President Dr. Aminuddin Adnan also states that they will be capable of increasing frequencies to 7.5 minutes by the time the full fleet arrives but he says this will not happen for another two years because apparently, the capacity of the new trains will more than accommodate the demand.
We really have doubts about this. You can see our comments below.
Earlier delivery of China EMUs (The Star)
Friday July 8, 2011
By NG CHENG YEE
ZHUZHOU (China): KTM Kommuter users can enjoy faster train services when six of the 38 sets of six-car Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) are operational by year end.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the first set of EMUs would be delivered ahead of the scheduled date in September while another five more sets would be delivered by year’s end.
All 38 sets are expected to be delivered by June 2012, he said.
“After receiving the trains from CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co Ltd (CSR ZELC), we will still need to test them on Malaysian tracks before they can be put to use,” he told reporters after attending the roll-out ceremony of the EMUs here on Tuesday.
[TRANSIT: The certification process will take at least 3-5 months]
He said the 38 sets of EMUs cost RM1.89bil, which excluded maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) expenses.
KTMB signed an agreement with CSR ZELC in May last year to purchase custom-made EMUs for commuter service in Klang Valley.
The EMUs are custom-made to run on Malaysia meter gauge track and can travel up to 140kph.
Kong said the contract was awarded to CSR ZELC based on the lowest price offered in their bid for the government tender.
[TRANSIT: We would love to see all those tender documents, wouldn’t you?]
KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Adnan said the new units would be used to serve the existing routes from Rawang to Sungai Gadut, Batu Caves to Port Klang and subsequently Seremban to Port Klang and Rawang to Batu Caves when more EMUs were delivered.
He said by January, the frequency of train services in these routes would be reduced from the current 15 minutes to between 10 and 12 minutes.
“The new EMUs allow us to increase the frequency of trains to 7.5 minutes but we do not need to do so yet for the first two years as the capacity of the trains is three times higher than the number of passengers we currently receive.
[TRANSIT: Ok, here is where we have a problem. Dr. Aminuddin is somewhat correct is saying that the capacity of the trains is 3x higher than the number of passengers KTM Komuter currently receives. This is because KTM is only operating approximately 20 units of 3-carriage EMU trains (out of a fleet of more than 45 trains originally) – so yes, 38 units of 6-carriage trains will carry 3 times as many people as 20 units of 3-carriage trains.
But if we compare the demand before the recent crisis, say back in 2007 before the trains (and KTM Komuter service) started falling apart we would see that demand had increased between 1994 (when Komuter started operating) and 2007 (when it all started to fall apart) by a factor of 3.
In other words, as the fleet decreased by approximately 60%, demand increased by 200%. What this actually means is that these 38 trains will not provide excess capacity as Dr. Aminuddin claims. Rather, they will get KTM Komuter back to where it was in 2007,
That is why TRANSIT believes we need many more trains than the 38 on order. We need to replace the entire original fleet with 6-carriage trains, then buy another batch of 40 to increase service!]
“Once we have established the travel pattern, we will gradually increase the frequency of the trains.”
On the MRO contract, Dr Aminuddin said it was currently finalising a two-year agreement with CSR ZELC.
“We believe that the same company that designed and manufactured the trains will be able to do a better job in maintaining them.”
He said the new EMUs could offer a more comfortable travelling experience as they were cleaner and their air-conditioning system also worked better.
“There are also special security features like close-circuit television in all the cars and one of the coaches in each set of the EMUs is designated for female passengers,” he said.
Well, there you have it – our big beef with KTMB & Dr. Aminuddin’s comments. Yes, service will increase when you compare it to service as it is today. But service today is in amazingly terrible shape as anyone who takes Komuter regularly will attest.
The new trains will only take KTM Komuter back to where it was in 2007. We still need to move forward.