Penang Hill train hits glitch

GEORGE TOWN: Dozens of Penang Hill funicular railway passengers had to walk down the hill after the train broke down halfway on its uphill journey.

About 150 visitors were stranded in yesterday’s incident which happened slightly after 2pm.

Penang Fire and Rescue Department (Fire Operation and Safety) officer Nafis Ariff Abdullah said firemen rushed to the scene after being alerted by a passenger at 2.33pm.

“The train was stuck near the Middle Station. We arrived with four-wheel drive vehicles and brought some of the passengers down,” he said.

Penang Hill Corporation general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng said a system error occurred at the control room of one of the substations.

“We are looking at the root cause and would like to apologise to the stranded passengers,” he said.

In a statement on Facebook, Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) said the railway resumed operations at 3.55pm following the two-hour disruption.

“PHC would like to thank all visitors, residents and business operators for their support, understanding and patience during the period.

“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and we look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful Penang Hill again,” it said.

Last December, about 800 tourists had to trudge downhill while others were taken to the Botanical Gardens to board four Rapid Penang buses after the train broke down at the Middle Station.

On average, the funicular train makes 125 trips daily. It is estimated that about 10,000 people would visit the hill during peak season.

Spanning about 2km, the Penang Hill funicular railway is the longest in Asia, and the only one in South-East Asia.

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