Prior to completion of electrification, KTMB was operating eight round trips a day by EMU between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh, plus two to three locomotive-hauled trains per day north of Ipoh and south of Kuala Lumpur. Last month, this was expanded to between seven and nine electric trains per day between Padang Besar and Butterworth, between four and five electric services between Butterworth and Kuala Lumpur, with two trains per day extended south to Gemas. There are also two electric trains per day linking Padang Basar with Kuala Lumpur. This is in addition to the locomotive-hauled services.
Four additional electric trains are running between Butterworth and Kuala Lumpur during the Chinese New Year period between February 1 and 14.
The six-car EMUs have a maximum speed of 160km/h and as a result journey times have been reduced significantly. The 388km Butterworth – Kuala Lumpur trip now takes 3h 35min compared with 5h 55min by diesel locomotive-hauled train, while the 537km journey from Padang Besar to Kuala Lumpur takes just five hours compared with 9h 38min by overnight train.
KTMB categorises limited-stop trains as Platinum and other services as Gold, and offered 20% discounts for Platinum and 10% for Gold between January 25 and 31 as a promotion.
KTMB's president Mr Sarbini Tijan says the new electric services have increased capacity from 6000 seats a day to 13,000 seats per day, and that KTMB wants to carry about 11,000 passengers per day. He says KTMB expects to transport 2 million passengers this year on its electric long-distance services.
KTMB plans to introduce a new timetable this month, which will see the elimination of diesel locomotive-hauled passenger trains on electrified lines. This will mean passengers travelling south of Gemas to Johor Bahru will have to change trains at Gemas, and passengers travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore will have to change twice following the withdrawal of through trains to Singapore last year. However, KTMB has increased the frequency of the Johor Bahru – Singapore Woodlands shuttle, while State Railway of Thailand has introduced two trains per day between Hat Yai Junction and Padang Besar.