Saturday, September 25, 2010

155 km/h to Kampar



In typical Malaysian fashion, the train was still nowhere to be seen. It was suppose to arrive 12 minutes ago, at least according to the ticket that I was clutching.

There was no indication of when it will be arriving. No KTM officals around or announcements whatsoever to assure the many travelers waiting at the dimly lit Platform 1 of KL Sentral station. Moments later, a policeman appeared together with a lady clad in bright yellow, asking us to stay behind the yellow line.

Ahh...the train must be arriving soon.

The train I was referring to is the Electric Train Service (ETS), a high speed service connecting KL-Ipoh launched with much fanfare in August after several delays. It was supposed to cut traveling time down to about 2 hours. Since I was heading to Kampar (to find Rachel), the journey will take 1 hour & 45 minutes, again...according to the information printed on my ticket.

The ticket to Kampar cost RM 26, a tad expensive considering a similiar journey on the slower KTM Antarabandar only cost RM 11 for Economy seats & RM 20 for Second Class seats. Since this is the promotional period, prices are likely to increase further in the future.


7.05 pm

The shiny 6 coach 'bullet' train came to a halt at Platform 1 & everybody promptly boarded according to their allocated coaches. In stark contrast with the romantic ambiance of the waiting area, the interior of the train was brightly lit & everything was in spanking new condition.

I settled down into my seat, which was comfortable with generous legroom. The flat screen TV at the front of the coach was showing the many tourists attractions of Perak...Sam Poh Tong, Bukit Merah Water Resort, Gua Tempurung, Keris & Parang making in Kuala Kangsar etc. Strangely, I did not feel threatened even though I am Chinese.

Slowly, the train started pulling away...


7.15 pm

A lady emerged through the doorway with two guys following closely behind carrying trays filled with canned drinks, bottled water, sandwiches and paus. She stopped by every row to take orders & was surprisingly courteous, like a well trained air stewardess minus the thick make up.

Also, the train was really starting to pick up speed. As it hit 90 km/h, a small speedometer magically appeared at the top left corner of the TV. The speed of the train climbed up to more than 110 km/h at certain stretches. While at some other stretches, it had to slow down to below 90 km/h at which the speedometer will disappear, hiding itself in embarrassment.

And so the cycle continued, the speedometer periodically appearing & disappearing according to the train's speed.

7.35 pm

Suddenly, the train slowed down and came to a complete halt in the middle of nowhere. It was pitch black outside.

After lying motionless for almost 10 minutes, someone finally decided to clue us in on the situation. Apparently, a Komuter train was blocking the track ahead & we were just waiting for a clear stretch of railway before we can start moving again.


8.30 pm

After stopping briefly at Tanjung Malim, the train continued its journey to Kampar. With no stupid Komuter blocking its way, the train was able to unleash its full potential. This is where the train managed to hit the top speed of 155 km/h.

I finally arrived at the deserted Kampar station at 9 pm, which is 30 minutes later than what was promised due to all the minor hiccups along the way. But all in all, I think the ETS is still a great way to travel if you are headed up north to Ipoh. Not exactly cheap but safe & comfortable.


Rachel Melody said...

Nice train & look comfortable inside but the price is slightly expensive than those normal train

~YM~ said...

I got my gf a tix to Ipoh few weeks back. I arrived at 1.55pm (the scheduled time was 2pm) and was told the train had departed. The security guard was no help because he din know if the train had departed or not, but instead chose to lecture on how it would depart if u are late.

Then back at the counter, I was asking if we could hitch up at KL station( a few mins drive), but she was more interested in selling the tix for next session at around 6+pm. No help, no sympathy, just to push tix sales.

All in all, I ended up driving up to Ipoh myself cos I was too pissed off by the service. No more ETS for me in the future.

sabree hussin said...

in other words, it seem like the service is quite expensive. By the way, i believe that it is actually good for those who are catching time and business people.

For ordinary folks, just use the normal KTM should be fine.

acura said...

Rachel: Its definitely more comfortable than the normal ones, you really get what you pay for...

YM: That's very unfortunate of you, YM. Must be the only time a KTM train was early, but how can the train depart before the scheduled time? That's very sloppy of them.

Also, I did notice that the some ETS attendants were quite clueless. One male attendant didn't even know the arrangement of the coaches & had to consult his coworker about it minutes before the train arrived.

But to be fair, the actual journey was a pleasant one.

sabree hussin: Yeah the ordinary KTM will do for most of us...but if they manage to iron out all their problems, then maybe people in Ipoh can look forward to traveling to work in KL daily.

Sharinginfoz said...

very nice train

ken said...

must try one day =)

foongpc said...

Looks like a nice train! So funny about the speedometer appearinng only after 90km/hr. What is it for?

foongpc said...

Oh! Delayed by a commuter train blocking its path? Now isn't that silly?

WanWan said...

Probably I should take this when going back ipoh...

acura said...

Sharinginfoz & ken: Yeah, it's spanking new so you guys better try it while everything is still in working condition ;)

foong: I think the speedometer is too ashamed to appear at speed below 90 km/h. After all, this is a train that is supposed to run at high speed.

Getting block by those Komuter was really a pain, but I think this would be a regular occurrence unless they have separate tracks for the trains.

WanWan: You should probably think twice after YM's comment about their service Lol...

Johnny Ong said...

something gd found in m'sia at least. not bad, not bad.
eye opening as well on the 155km/hr

acura said...

Impressive until news broke a few days ago that the Shanghai Maglev train had set a world record of 415 km/h!

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