Day 40: Ekspres Selatan from Gemas to Johor Bahru

This post is about the travel experience onboard the Ekspres Selatan.

Click here to visit the dedicated Ekspres Selatan information page.

With the discontinuation of KTM Intercity trains on electrified lines, you now have to transfer at Gemas to the Ekspres Selatan for connections down south.

I chose the earlier 43dn as it uses the newer ASC INKA coaches, which means it comes with power sockets.

Inside the Superior Class coach, looking at my previous ETS from KL Sentral.

My “private” ASC coach from Gemas to JB Sentral. Not that I actually chartered it, I was just the only passenger on this train holding on to a ticket for this coach.

A well-stocked canteen for the journey to JB Sentral.

UPDATE: There is no more catering service on all Ekspres Selatan trains. Bring your own food or get a takeaway from the ETS.

The caterer fixing my hot Milo and Nasi Lemak.

Unfortunately, the microwaved pre-cooked meal was the worst looking train food from London to Singapore. You’re not even allowed to see it on RailTravel Station.

Making a slightly longer stop at Paloh as we’re running slightly before time.

Local shophouses at Chamek.

The train made a brief 5-minute stop at Kluang as we’re running just slightly before time. But just enough time to run down to get the famous Kluang RailCoffee.

Best coffee I had so far from London to Singapore. And possibly the last one I’ll ever have.

UPDATE: The standard of Kluang RailCoffee is unbelievably terrible now. Updates to come after completing the From London to Singapore in 40 Days series.

The afternoon sky as seen from the back of the Ekspres Selatan.

At Kempas Baru, however, I was in for a rude shock when my train was not allowed to proceed. The delay was indefinite.

After a quick check with the staff, I found out that they couldn’t receive any signal for the line between Kempas Baru and JB Sentral. Either someone stole the cable, cut the cable or places the cable over the rail as an act of mischief. The signal was lost as the empty rake of the Ekspres Rakyat Timuran was in the section.

Fantastic. I’m going to miss my Shuttle Tebrau connection now.

The sun setting behind the Ekspres Selatan at Kempas Baru. It was a sunset I wish I wasn’t able to take a picture of.

I bought a ticket here for the 9pm Shuttle Tebrau 91dn due to KTM’s no connection policy. Even when forced to change trains. Oh well, even if they did allow a free change of ticket, I would want to keep the ticket anyway, since the Shuttle Tebrau would be my very last rail leg from London.

At around sunset, whatever that needed to be repaired was repaired. However, we now hold a lower priority than the Ekspres Rakyat Timuran, so we had to wait for it.

The sunset just after 7pm, with the Ekspres Selatan shifted to the main line of Kempas Baru.

The Ekspres Rakyat Timuran finally arrived, with it being delayed as well thanks to the track fault.

The train departed Kempas Baru 110 minutes late.

And I finally arrived back in JB Sentral, 108 minutes later than scheduled. Needless to say, I well and truly missed my connection for the 7pm Shuttle Tebrau.

Price I paid from Gemas to Johor Bahru: RM21 in cash (around S$6.93)

This one delay at Kempas Baru was also longer than all my delays from London to KL combined.

First was the downgrade, and now the extremely long delay. Welcome back, indeed.

I had now around half an hour before my Shuttle Tebrau departs JB Sentral. While I personally would never queue for the train before the gate even opens, I made an exception this time, since there wouldn’t be much time to walk around City Square anyway, and definitely not when I’m carrying my two backpacks. So I blended in with the crowd, pretending that I’m a first-time backpacker crossing into Singapore by the Shuttle Tebrau.

This post is about the travel experience onboard the Ekspres Selatan.

Click here to visit the dedicated Ekspres Selatan information page.

KTM Train Ticket Booking Methods

Tickets are open for sale 30 days before departure.

Hotel Booking

Attractions Booking

How do I book tickets online?

Links to the KTM E-Ticket System are strikethroughed due to KTM’s own admission of the instability of their system here after Prime Minister Najib Razak personally posted on Facebook that there is such an issue here. Proceed using the KTM E-Ticket System at your own risk.


7 thoughts on “Day 40: Ekspres Selatan from Gemas to Johor Bahru

  1. Teh Swee Kheng says:


    Based on your experience, if I am taking ES41 Gemas to Butterworth and reach JB at 8.40pm. Is there sufficient time to take ST91 JB to SG train at 9pm? Or better to take ST93 JB to SG at 10.15pm taking into account the time needed to clear immigration. Thank you.

    Thank you.

    • RailTravel Station says:

      Are you taking an ETS from Butterworth to Gemas and then Shuttle 41 from Gemas to JB Sentral and then Shuttle Tebrau to Singapore? The Shuttle 41 will wait for the ETS if there are delays but the Shuttle Tebrau will not wait for any train as it is considered a separate service. You should buy tickets for the 10.15pm train in case the Shuttle 41 gets delayed.

      • Teh Swee Kheng says:

        HI, thank you for the reply. Yes I will book the ticket at 10.15pm just to be safe.
        I had booked my tickets from JB-Gemas (40/41) Gemas-Butterworth (9322/9421) from easybook. When I change the train at JB and Gemas, do I need to go to counter to show and validate my etickets with my passports or I can just proceed to the train platform to board the train to Gemas/Butterworth?

        Thank you.

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