More news on the KL-Padang Besar Electric Train Service (ETS), which began operating last week. The Star reports that the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has announced it will be thoroughly assessing the reliability, safety and comfort of all the 10 Chinese-made trainsets, with no compromise on the matter.

While recognising many users were impatient to ride the ETS after the double track from Padang Besar (Perlis) to Gemas (Negri Sembilan) was ready, SPAD chief development officer Dr Prodyut Dutt said the commission would not compromise when it came to safety.

The commission said it is adopting this rigid measure as the first Chinese unit (codenamed ETS201) failed the compulsory “fault-free running” test eight days in a row when it was first tested in June, severely delaying its planned deployment schedule. In accordance with international protocols, a trainset has to clock 10,000 km without failing any criteria related to safety and even comfort.

The commission’s rail division head Yuslizar Daud said that ETS201 failed many times when it was undergoing trials from June 11 to 18, but didn’t specify what the actual faults were. Finally, on July 1, ETS201 managed to run 6,600 km without fault and was subsequently displayed to the media last Thursday during Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai’s visit to the CRRC Rolling Stock Centre Malaysia.


The second train, known as ETS202, is currently being tested near Ipoh. As for the remaining eight trainsets, these are still being assembled, the report states. Designed for intercity passenger services, the CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive trainsets can touch 145 km/h on a track designed for a 160 km/h speed.

The report adds that major components tested in the compulsory trial include the propulsion system, brakes, suspension, train control and management system, auxiliary power supply, automatic train protection system, air-conditioning and operation of doors.

In the running tests, a component either passes or fails, with nothing in between – if a failure is recorded, the odometer is reset and the test starts over until the train covers 10,000 km flawlessly.

Last Thursday, KTM Berhad introduced an Ipoh-Padang Besar service using older electric trains, and on Saturday, July 11, it rolled out a once-daily direct ETS service from Kuala Lumpur to Padang Besar. The trip takes five-and-a-half hours and costs RM80 one-way for an adult – the service makes stops at Tanjung Malim, Tapah, Kampar, Ipoh, Kuala Kangsar, Taiping, Parit Buntar, Bukit Mertajam, Butterworth, Sungai Petani, Alor Setar and Arau.