September 2015 saw the introduction of the first of ten intercity Electric Multiple Units EMU's for KTMB. These EMU's have been given the designation Class 93 by KTM, using these trains to operate the Electric Train Service ETS from Padang Besar in the north at the border with Thailand to Gemas in the south.
|ETS set no 203|
The trains are certainly the most modern in the KTM passenger fleet with a Muslim prayer room, toilet with disable person facilities, electrical outlet, Passenger Information System (PIS) screens that display speed and other information, luggage racks, the space between the coaches have large enclosed gang-ways that make moving from coach to coach convenient, CCTV for safety and a small bistro. The trains are the most quite in the fleet with minimum cabin noise, good air-conditioning systems providing temperature control, ventilation and dehumidification to maximise passenger comfort.
|Muslim Prayer room|
|Large toilet for disabled passengers|
|Passenger Information Screen|
|Luggage racks for stowage of large items|
|Easy access between coaches|
I traveled twice with these EMU's on a day trip to Gemas and back. The service originated in Butterworth and was scheduled to have a short stop in KL Sentral at 11.03 but arrived late at 11.10 and most passengers disembarking in KL and a small handfull of passengers heading south.
ETS 203 operated this service that stopped at Bandar Tasik Selatan for passengers to connect to the intercity bus terminal and KLIA transit, Kajang, Nilai for KLIA, Seremban and Pulau Sebang/Tampin for Melaka. The train took 2 hours and 5 minute to reach Gemas. The return trip departed on time and arrived 4 minutes late.
The ticket from KL Sentral to Gemas cost RM31. The seat was comfortable, firm and had good leg room with a leg rest. The power point was available but in a rather hard to reach place. The cabin was clean.
The bistro had a very limited menu but the mee hoon that I purchased for RM5.90 was tasty.
Now that KTMB has these trains that have certainly have world class equipment, it's time they also take some time to get the little details right.
I wished that KTMB provides a proper storage for the cleaners mops and pails instead of them leaving these items in open view on the walk way or toilet.
|Mops left in plain sight|
They should also ensure that the cabin is "set" before passengers board. The seats should be set in the upright position and the arms rest in the down position.
I think the "cabin crew" should receive intensive training and a SOP be laid out for them, if not, they are just a waste of money to have them on the trains as the regular KTM officers who check the tickets are enough.
The return trip on ETS201 which was the first set to operate was already showing some defects. Two cabin doors were already spoilt and in the open position only, my tray table was already "wobbly". I hope that these train receive good maintenance and care to ensure that these huge investments are able to operate at optimum levels and be the catalyst to the revival of KTMB.
A business class should also be introduced as there are passengers who would prefer wider seats and a more private cabin.
If I had to rate the service, I would give it an 8 out of 10.