Image from Virtual Malaysia
Image of the current KL-Ipoh ETS train. Photo via Virtual Malaysia.

If you frequently travel between KL and Penang, here’s some good news: the long-awaited electric train service (ETS) from KL to Butterworth via Ipoh will finally start operating in July after a delay from the original scheduled launch in June.

While the journey by road or rail currently takes around 4-5 hours to get from KL to Butterworth (or vice versa), the new train service will reduce the trip duration to approximately 3 hours.

According to KTM senior manager, Mohd Zain Mat Taha, the coach will be operating at a maximum speed of 160km per hour and will be able to fit 350 passengers. There will also be prayer rooms for long haul trips. Currently, the ETS service from KL to Ipoh runs at a maximum speed of 140km per hour.

The KL-Butterworth link is only the first phase of the new ETS service that will ultimately connect KL to Padang Besar, on the border of Malaysia and Thailand. 10 services are planned for this route but it will only begin with four trains a day. Commuters will get to enjoy its full service by January 2016. The coach sets are manufactured by CSR Zhuzhou, a China-based company that also built the Class 92 trains for the KTMB’s Komuter Line.

Transport Minister Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai and several other government officials will personally attend one of the trial runs on 9 July, after which he will announce other details pertaining to the services, including the schedules and fares.

We can’t wait to hop on board for August’s George Town Festival.

Update: According to media reports, daily services are running as of 10 July. The KL-Padang Besar route tickets are priced at RM81. According to the online booking page, KL-Butterworth tickets are priced at RM59 for adults and RM34 for children, leaving from KL at 9.30am and arriving at 1.13pm (3 hours and 43 minutes).

Dhabitah Zainal

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