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Tuesday August 24, 2010

Electric trains to reduce travel time

TRAVEL time between Kuala Lumpur and Penang will be halved when electric trains start operating on the double train tracks from Ipoh to Padang Besar in Perlis.

Progress on the project is now 53% and is on track to be completed by December 2013.

Almost ready: The Taiping portals of the Larut twin tunnels. Blasting is still being carried out to excavate the tunnels but is nearing completion with a few hundred metres left.

The 329km stretch, called the Electrified Double Tracking Project (EDTP), is a MMC-Gamuda joint venture and costs RM12.5bil.

The EDTP will be part of the KTM Bhd rail network running from Johor to Perlis and continues from the Seremban-Ipoh service, which was launched on Aug 12.

All laid out: The manufacturing depot for the railway tracks.

Previously, a train trip from Penang to Kuala Lumpur took nine hours but with the new trains, it will only take three hours to make the same journey.

The project also has some unique structures such as an elevated land viaduct, marine viaduct, swing bridge and two tunnel designs that take trains over or through uneven terrain.

These structures allow for straighter tracks to be laid, making for a smoother, quieter and faster ride aboard the electric trains, which can travel up to 160km per hour.

A smoother ride is the result of new jointless tracks which are used in place of the usual tracks which are bolted together, and quieter as the familiar clanging of the train’s wheels would no longer be there.

However, this could prove deadly for animals and people who wander onto the tracks because they would not be able to hear the train in time to move out of the way.

Steel support: A section of the Bukit Berapit tunnel which runs under the North-South Expressway.

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