Sunday, November 15, 2009

Private Rail in Malaysia

'Star' Newspaper Monday November 16, 2009

Waste of funds if KTM can’t compete

KTM, along with the Government, are definitely in the wrong with their first procurement of “new” trains to ply the newly completed section of the RM17bil electrified double track.

It is unbelievable to think that the Government is spending RM30mil to purchase four diesel multiple train sets, which are 20 years old and which several South American countries have managed to purchase for around RM10mil.

But what is even more surprising is that these well-used trains can average only 80kph on a track that was built for 120kph trains, and they are diesel trains running on an electrified line!
To say that the Government has “no money” to buy decent fast trains defeats the whole purpose of the huge expenditure on this project. If KTM cannot, after the completion of double tracking, compete with its main competitors in the bus companies that ply these inter-city routes, then the whole project has been a complete waste of taxpayer funds.

The alternative is to throw the whole industry open to private train services, where private companies would supply their own trains and lease the track from KTM. Express train services between the main cities of Malaysia would be a safe, fast and competitive alternative to existing bus services.

Kuala Lumpur.

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