Friday, September 22, 2006

Say what?

This is one of the most ludicrous things I read in The Star today (22 September 2006):

Where are the details of these rolling stock increases? There has been much talk about it for quite some time already. You mean there are plans to buy more rolling stock, or the rolling stock has already been bought and is on its way, or they have been hiding some rolling stock?

I am disappointed because it appears as if this Deputy Transport Minister doesn't know what he's talking about, or at least that's how he makes himself out to be, or maybe that's how dumb The Star has made himself out to be.

Another article by The Star recently has meanwhile shown KTM's side of the story, and if I am to also believe this, I don't think it is just a simple matter of buy more, increase capacity. This deputy minister talks as if the government is Santa Claus, ready to dish out prezzies to those who behave.
Better service after overhaul

KERETAPI Tanah Melayu (KTM) Bhd finds it hard to cope with the sudden increase in its commuter service passengers and it is appealing to commuters to be patient.

Its commuter services general manager Roslan Mohammed said the frequency was expected to improve once overhauling works on all its 35 trains have been completed by next year.

“Looking at the current capacity and our service during the peak period, we just cannot cope because there is a jump in the number of commuters using the services. Currently, we are carrying about 100,000 commuters a day compared to 70,000 last year,” he said during a recent interview.

“There are complaints over punctuality and reliability, and this is because most of the trains are due for overhaul. We couldn’t do these due to financial constraints, but now the Government has approved the (RM100mil) budget for all our trains to be overhauled.”

He added that the Government was negotiating with contractors and hopefully the work could be done at the end of this year and that more trains would be ready to serve its customers more frequently next year.

He said although KTM had a total of 35 Komuter trains, only 33 were in working condition.

“By right, according to our plan during the peak hour this year, we should be running at an interval of 10 minutes. But at the moment, we are running at the interval of 15 minutes. We cannot do that because some of the trains are not available,” he said, adding that most of the trains were about nine years old.

He said KTM was adding facilities at the stations, where roofs would be built to provide shelter to commuters during rainy days and there would be more car park facilities.

On the solution to the problem of all Komuter and intercity trains sharing the same railway track, Roslan said in fact no trains would be running except for the Komuter service but the Komuter service would sometimes be delayed because of the long haul of intercity service.

“We will ensure that the intercity trains arrive before the peak period. That’s the only thing we can do; we cannot stop them running the train because that is our business,” he said.

On flood problems, he said the Drainage and Irrigation Department was upgrading the drainage system near the flood-prone Serdang station while the upgrading works on the Batu Tiga station still proved to be unsuccessful.

“As for the Subang Jaya station, we are doing something under the Ninth Malaysia Plan,'' he added.

Asked about frequent stoppages, he said most of the stoppages happened at the Simpang Batu and Port Klang junctions when all trains from the Seremban, Port Klang and Rawang directions enter the Kuala Lumpur area.

“The Port Klang and Simpang Batu junctions are the busiest intersections and the trains need to be stopped for quite sometime. If the train stops for half an hour to an hour, that is when there are some problems like vandalism, theft and maintenance problems.

“If the cable is stolen, the signal will not function so we have to do it manually from our control centre, directing the driver who will stop the train and receive our instructions,” he said.

According to him, KTM lost a lot of money on theft and vandalism of its equipment along the tracks and these have resulted in train delays as well.

The Komuter trains - Class 81 from Austria, Class 82 from South Africa and Class 83 from Korea - are capable of running at the maximum speed of 120km per hour.

There are 242 Komuter services a day covered by 35 trains in the Klang Valley compared with only 10 services a day for the intercity services. ling stock has already been bought and is on its way, or there has always been extra rolling stock not in use?
I would rather believe En. Roslan from KTM, with his more honest assessment on the state of the KTM Komuter services than a Tengku Azlan (who has probably never rode on one) who can promise upgrades and capacity increases.

But if really, dear Tengku, you mean purchasing new rolling stock, kindly share this information with us. Thanks.


Blogger huZmi dahLan said...

KTM Komuter started with 18 trains (EMU) built by Jenbacher AG, Austria in 1995. Later it procured more trains no.19-40 from South Korea and no.41-62 from South Africa. They have been talking to increase frequency since its early years. They have enough rolling stock to increase the frequency. I know of only one train crash involving 2 EMU. The reason could be due to the fact that the railway track is also being shared by cargo train and the long distance train. Also for the need to overhaul as stated in your blog.

At the moment I also baffled why on the stretch between KL Sentral and Bangsar the train has to stop too long and to often. What's the use of the multiple track !!

They really took a long time to put a decision into action.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous shag said...

Excellent post & blog. I hope (probably forlornly) that the powers that be read your suggestions.

The Kommuter problem as you rightly point out is the stretch between KL old station and Putra where there is only 2 tracks.

Either they increase the number of tracks or schedule intercity & freight trains around the kommuter service.

4:32 PM  
Blogger commuter said...

As the article says, they have enough rolling stock - just that they are being overhauled now.

As for increasing frequency, I think KTM really needs to get some train management software upgrade.

As for clashes with intercity expresses, I suggest these intercity trains that have caused the delay to stop to pick up Komuter passengers along the way.

Then they can help lighten the load of the passengers waiting at platforms with delayed Komuters.

8:03 PM  

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