PETALING JAYA: A three-hour Electric Train Service (ETS) linking Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth will be operational in June next year.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) chairman Datuk Nawawi Ahmad said the new ride would carry some 350 people to Penang from here and have 10 new coach sets running on it by January 2016.
“(This is part of the) operation linking Padang Besar to KL. But first, in June 2015, it will be between Butterworth and KL,” he said in an interview.
Nawawi said discussions were still being held on whether the service would transport passengers directly from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth or mid-way from Ipoh.
He confirmed that the coach sets would be manufactured by China-based train-making company CSR Zhuzhou, which built the Class 92 trains for KTMB’s Komuter line.
Three sets will begin their run on the KL-Butterworth route in June. The other seven will be pushed onto the tracks in stages by January 2016.
Asked how different they would be from the current ETS car sets plying the KL-Ipoh route, Nawawi said they were capable of travelling at speeds of 160kph.
The current ones can only touch 140kph.
He said they would also have “technological upgrades” although he did not give details.
The new units would be brought to Malaysia from next month and they will be tested by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).
All this is part of a bigger move to link Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar via the electrified double-tracking project.
It was reported that the 329km Ipoh-Padang Besar portion of the track would be handed over to the Transport Ministry by year’s end.
A China Daily report citing CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co (CSR ZELC) said its trains would be used on the upcoming 900km stretch between Padang Besar and Johor Baru.
CSR ZELC president Zhou Qinghe said that after the first batch of 10 sets were delivered here, trains of the same type would be manufactured at a base here.