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Intercity Railway Lines in Malaysia

Electric Train Service – ETS

The first Electrified Double-tracking Train Service, also known as ETS, started in 1995 from KL to Rawang and KL to Seremban stations. The service extended to Ipoh in Perak and Gemas in Negeri Sembilan. Then further extended to the northern-most Thai border town at Padang Besar In 2015.

The ETS is running on meter gauge railway tracks, at 140 km per hour, is the fastest and the longest distance meter gauge train service in the world.

Expansion of Gemas – Johor Bahru ETS 

Construction on Gemas – Johor Bahru Electrification and Double Tracking Project started in January 2018, scheduled to be completed in year  2023. Completion of Gemas-JB double track project will complete the west coast electrified double track system from the north-most town Padang Besar to the south-most town Johor Bahru in the Peninsular of Malaysia.

Eastern Line Intercity Train Service

Eastern Line starts from Gemas junction in Negeri Sembilan, running through Mentakab, Kuala Krau, Jerantut, Kuala Lipis in Pahang, and Gua Musang, Dabong, Kuala Krai, Tanah Merah, Pasir Mas, Wakaf Bharu, Tumpat in Kelantan. The Eastern Line also called Jungle Train because most of the stations along the line are located in rural area of the least developed small towns in Negeri Sembilan, Pahang and Kelantan.

Beautiful scenes along the line attract many local and foreign adventurers and nature lovers. Jungle Train is also the popular route travelling to Taman Negara. The jetty at Pahang River to Taman Negara is only 10km from Jerantut, is the nearest railway station accessible to Kuala Tahan where, Taman Negara national park administration office located. 

Named “One of Southeast Asia’s greatest train journeys” and stated “For those who love slow travel, the Jungle Railway immerses you in local history, and it’s the most romantic way to reach coral-ringed islands like the Perhentians and Redang strewn off Malaysia’s north-eastern coast” by BBC.

KTM / ETS Inter-city Time-table / Train Schedule

No Train Service Between Rantau Panjang and Pasir Mas Station

Pasir Mas is the junction to Rantau Panjang, which bordering to Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat province of Thailand. Sungai Kolok is the southernmost railway station in Thailand bordering to Malaysia. But no train service between Pasir Mas and Rantau Panjang stations at the moment. 

Eastern Line Jungle Train

 – Izmoda 20220515

East Coast Rail Link – ECRL

The ECRL infrastructure project designed to be carrying both passengers and freight from the West Coast Port in Klang to its East Coast Port in Kuantan, connecting the East Coast Economic Region, including the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. The northern-most terminus will be located at the border town Pengkalan Kubor in Kelantan. Neighboring to Narathiwat province of Thailand.

Construction began in August 2017, scheduled to be in operations in 2027. ECRL is standard gauge double-tracking railway line, designed operating speed at 160 km/hour for passenger train, and 80 km/hour for freight train.  The final alignment with added improvement for section C, from Serendah to Port Klang will be on dual gauge. Standard gauge width of 1,435 mm for the new train and meter gauge width of 1,000 mm for the existing KTM train. 

Construction of ECRL complements the existing Eastern Line from Gemas in Negeri Sembilan to Tumpat in Kelantan which goes through the central spine area of Pahang. The final decision after the 2nd alignment also enable the construction of a meter gauge bypass line from Serendah to Port Klang for KTM to be included into the new ECRL alignment, will make the KTM rail services more efficient and relieves the concerns for public safety as KTM freight train containing hazardous materials currently need to go through several congested stations in KL city center such as KL Sentral, Bank Negara and the historic Kuala Lumpur station. 

KLIA Transit – ERL 

In 2002, Express Rail Link, ERL started service between Kuala Lumpur International Airport – KLIA and KL Sentral, together with the opening of Kuala Lumpur City Air Terminal in KL Sentral.

ERL is the first standard gauge railway line in Malaysia, provides the direct connection between the international gateway – KLIA and KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur city center, which is designed to be running at a top speed of 176 km/hour.

Stations: KL Sentral – Bandar Tasik Selatan – Putra Jaya – Salak Tinggi – KLIA – KLIA2



East Malaysia Railways

A train at Beaufort station in Sabah. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas

In East Malaysia, only the state of Sabah has railway.

  • Construction of the then North Borneo Railway began in 1896 for the transport of tobacco from the interior to the coast
  • The line from Beaufort to Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) was completed in 1903 covered some 193 kilometres
  • Unfortunately, the railway was mostly destroyed during the World War II
  • After Rehabilitation and Modernization works done for changing wooden sleepers with concrete sleepers, in 2006/2007
    Tanjung Aru-Beaufort service reopened in 2011, and the trip takes 2 hours and 15 minutes.

There are a total of 15 stations between Sembulan and Tenom, namely:
Secretariat – Tanjung Aru – Putatan – Kinarut – Kawang – Papar – Kimanis – Bongawan – Membakut – Beaufort – Saliwangan Baru – Halogilat – Rayoh – Pangi – Tenom

A line for tourism called North Borneo Railway were also established from Kota Kinabalu to Papar passing through Putatan, Kinarut and Kawang. The line was operated by the Sutera Harbour management named Leisure and tourism line.

The Current operational railway is used for its entire length to carry both passengers and freight operated by Sabah State Railway Department. Despite several attempts of modernisation had been carried out in the past, the train service in Sabah remain unfavorable.
Passenger services take 4 hours to complete the 134 kilometres journey from Tanjung Aru to Tenom, due to the nature of the terrain which is susceptible to service disruption for weeks caused by weather, especially raining seasons.

Sabah Railway Line

Early Railway Lines in Peninsular Malaysia

For the needs of moving Tin mineral from the heart of the tin-rich Taiping (Klian Pauh), the first railway line was built and opened on 1 June 1885, by The British Administration. The railway line ran between Port Weld and Taiping was about 13 km long. Then followed by: 

  • The line between Kuala Lumpur and Klang, the following year in 1886
  • The line between Seremban and Port Dickson opened in 1891
  • The forth line was between Teluk Anson (Teluk Intan) and Tapah Road opened in 1893

The railway network during the Federated Malay States government was finally completed after the following constructions:   

  • Opening of the Victoria Railway Bridge across Perak River near Kuala Kangsar in 1900
  • The West Coast Line between Prai in Penang and Johor Bahru was completed in 1909
  • The first section of the East Coast Line between Gemas and Bahau opened in 1910
  • Completion of Tumpat, Gua Musang and Kuala Gris sections established the East Coast Line in 1931

Victoria Bridge

  • It is the oldest colonial railway bridge in Peninsular Malaya, only replaced by a new concrete bridge to cater for double-track electrified train service in 2002
  • Gazetted as a national heritage site, Victoria Railway Bridge was built across Perak River near Kuala Kangsar in 1897 and opened in 1900
  • The bridge is now remained as historic site for tourism, located in Karai, was named Enggor Station during the olden days
  • More importantly, it is still a bridge for pedestrians and motorclyclists for the people of numerous villages in the area
  • Operational as Railway Bridge for 102 years, the structure of the Victoria Bridge is similar to Guillemard Bridge (1925 ~ today) in Kelantan and the Bridge on the River Kwai (1943 ~ today) in Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Victoria Bridge in Karai, Perak – The Oldest Well Reserved Railway Bridge in Peninsular Malaysia – by Keon Studio

The River Khwae Bridge