Article : Waiting for the train

The Kelantan Shuttle is more than just transportation to many of the folks living in the villages along the tracks, it is their lifeline.

THE silence of the early Kelantan morning was broken as a lonely train chugged down the tracks out of the jungle into Kuala Gris.

Screeching to a halt, its doors opened as it came to the station, stopping for a few dozen children waiting in school uniforms.

Climbing on board, they made their way for seats in the train’s four coaches before it moved again, this time south towards Dabong. Others stood by the doors, looking at the outside world, chatting about the day ahead.

“It’s normal,” said Muhammad Ammer Mohd Arhar, 15, shyly shaking his head when asked if he was sleepy.

The train rumbled on, and a conductor passed by, taking a ringgit off each student for the fare.

At about 7am, the train rolled into Dabong, where the kids jumped out to complete their daily trip to school, just three minutes away.

This is the Kelantan Shuttle, a rail service that goes up and down Malaysia’s northeastern-most state, skirting limestone hills and jungles. It passes by tiny towns and villages far off from main trunk roads deep in the country’s Malay heartland.

It has been cut off from the rest of the country’s rail network for the last two years after massive floods hit Malaysia in 2014.

Starting in Tumpat and ending in Dabong, it runs with the few trains that survived the floods, transporting some 900 people (in February this year) on about 130km of track.

In December 2014, heavy rains over several days saw rivers overflow with water, spilling into the countryside.

Graphic : TheStar Online
Graphic : TheStar Online

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Video : The Kelantan Shuttle

Selepas bencana banjir besar 2014, Laluan Pantai Timur yang panjang keseluruhannya 527km terpisah dua; terputus daripada jaringan kereta api negara ini, dengan banjir telah memusnahkan kebanyakan tren. Beberapa tren yang terselamat yang berada di bahagian 130km landasan yang terputus kini berkhidmat sebagai satu-satunya perkhidmatan kereta api di negeri Kelantan yang dikenali sebagai Shuttle Kelantan. Wartawan The Star, Patrick Lee merasai sendiri perjalanan tersebut.


The Star Online – 27 March 2016

It may soon be faster to take a train to Kelantan than drive there

Bahagian hadapan stesen Bahau.
Bahagian hadapan stesen Bahau.

KUALA LUMPUR: In two or three years, it may be faster to travel to Kelantan by train on the East Coast Line than it will be by car.

KTM Bhd said 13 new hybrid diesel-electric trains were planned for the 526km track after upgrades on it were finished by early 2018.

Its president Datuk Sarbini Tijan said the trains could carry 400 people with speeds of up to 120kph at any one time.

“(The old) locomotives can only operate at 90kph maximum,” he said.

“We anticipate that from Gemas … within four and a half hours, we should be in Gua Musang.”

He said before the 2014 floods destroyed many parts of the track, going to Gua Musang by train could take up to nine hours.

A quick check on Google Maps showed that going to Gua Musang from Gemas by car would take about five hours and 10 minutes.

Continue reading “It may soon be faster to take a train to Kelantan than drive there”

Khidmat tren Tumpat – JB Sentral beroperasi April

TUMPAT: Kereta api penumpang dari Tumpat ke Johor Bahru Sentral (JB Sentral) akan memulakan operasi selewat-lewatnya pertengahan April ini.

Presiden Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB), Datuk Sarbini Tijan, berkata hasil tinjauan ketika lawatan kerjanya baru-baru ini di Jambatan Kemubu, Kuala Krai, kerja pembinaan jambatan itu akan siap sepenuhnya bulan depan,

“Setakat ini, 85 peratus kerja pembinaan sudah disiapkan dan selebihnya hanya pemasangan kayu jambatan dan rel.

“Jururunding bebas mengesahkan Jambatan Kemubu itu selamat untuk kegunaan kereta api yang mempunyai berat gandar sehingga 16 tan,” katanya selepas merasmikan Karnival Sukan KTMB Wilayah Timur 2016 di Padang KTMB di sini, sebentar tadi.

Seramai 320 orang daripada 10 Kelab Sukan Kakitangan Kereta Api menyertai karnival sukan itu termasuk dua agensi lain iaitu Majlis Daerah Tumpat dan Jabatan Perikanan Tumpat.

Sementara itu, Sarbini berkata, pihaknya belum membuat keputusan berhubung laluan Tumpat ke Kuala Lumpur memandangkan ia perlu diberi perhatian berkaitan aspek sambungan landasan, penyelenggaraan dan sebagainya.

Berita Harian – 13 Februari 2016 | Siti Rohana Idris