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Intercity Railway Lines in Malaysia

Electrified Train Service – ETS

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

ETS is running on meter gauge railway lines, at 140 km/hour which is the fastest and the longest meter gauge train service in the world. Although, upgrading of Gemas to Johor Bahru section is in progress as of August 2021.

Expansion of Gemas – Johor Bahru ETS 

Construction on Gemas – Johor Bahru Electrification and Double Tracking Project started in January 2018, scheduled to be completed by October 2022.

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 located at the border town Tumpat 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 the new train and meter gauge width of 1,000 mm for KTM train.

Express Rail Link – ERL

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

ERL is the first standard gauge railway line in Malaysia at top speed of 176 km/hour.

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

East Malaysia Railways

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

  • 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.