KTM Komuter Klang Valley Sector 2249dn: Batu Caves to Sentul by 81 Class EMU

The section of track between KL Sentral and Sentul has limited train services due to the Klang Valley Double Track (KVDT) track renewal, signalling and electrification system upgrades and engineering works. Services are split to run on the Batu Caves – Sentul and KL Sentral – Pulau Sebang (Tampin) sectors, with limited through services on the full Batu Caves – Pulau Sebang (Tampin) Line.

This time though, was a special visit to the Batu Caves – Sentul sector as the legendary 81 Class EMU is now back in service.

The 81 Class is a 3-car electric multiple unit (EMU) operating for KTM Komuter. It is Malaysia’s first type of EMU, operating for Malaysia’s first electric train service in 1995. They were designed by Hunslet TPL and built by Jenbacher Transport in Austria.

No changes are made to the door position. The 81 Class sets still have two single-leaf plug doors on each side of each train car, a design reminiscent of KTM Intercity coaches.

The original bulkhead was removed in 2006 to provide additional standing areas and slightly improve passenger flow within the train car. The location of the bulkhead is now replaced with grabpoles and a horizontal bar.

Seats on the refurbished 81 Class sets are replaced with brand new blue coloured seats, with the original seats now on two 83 Class sets running on the SkyPark Link.

Seats on the middle trailer car with pantograph face in both directions similar to the original seating layout.

Each seat on the 81 Class now comes with new seat numbers, located on the luggage racks. This was not present in the original 81 Class. It is not known if there are any plans to use these seat numbers yet.

The luggage racks themselves were also removed in the trailer car and main passenger saloon in the driving motor cars, together with the bulkhead in 2006, but are now placed back in their original position.

The standing area is now designated as a wheelchair space with a designated sticker.

Seats on the two end driving cab cars face in only one direction towards the driving cab.

As the electrical boxes are also present at the front door of the driving motor cab cars, the small semi-private partitioned section just behind the driver’s cab remains, though the doors are no longer able to close.

The original Jenbacher Transport builder plate remains above the bulkhead doors.

Inside the private section at the front of the driving motor car.

A wide space is available in the private section to access the emergency ladder if needed.

The northern end of EMU05 (Car No. C8110) has a bolder shade of yellow and blue for the face.

The original Jenbacher Transport builder plate is also seen at the bottom of each train coach.

Another form of the wheelchair space, in the driving cab cars.

The comfortable private section at the ends of the train seats just 10 people now as compared with 16 in the original layout.

The 81 Class provides for a comfortable seat pitch for regional travel. I personally wouldn’t find a problem sitting in this for journeys of around 2 hours.

Departing from Batu Caves.

The glass window facing into the driver’s cab and out to the front view of the train now has a black sticker pasted on.

Making a brief stop at Taman Wahyu.

Making a brief stop at Kampung Batu.

Making a brief stop at Batu Kentonmen.

Passing by Sentul Depot.

The yard is currently filed with both 81 Class and 83 Class 3-car EMUs.

EMU06 still bears the first generation destination sign of Seremban, with a fading coat of original paint and a red X on the face. However, the initials of B.O.S is not seen.

EMU14 has a new livery, but it seems that the new paint has been scrubbed off, possibly by the chemical wash machine, revealing the old livery.

EMU09 sits in the workshop, bearing a destination plate for Padang Rengas.

Is this a hint for the next 81 Class passenger service?

A new face for EMU28. I wonder how EMU28 will turn out for the traction motor and passenger interior.

Approaching Sentul.

The empty interior of EMU05 after all the passengers have disembarked at Sentul.

The overall interior of the driving motor car with the new grabpole position at the original bulkhead.

Love it or hate it, the 81 Class is undoubtedly a historical train type as it brought Malaysia into the electrified railway era with the launch of KTM Komuter services on the Sentul – Pelabuhan Klang Line and Rawang – Seremban Line. While everyone thought that it was unfortunate that none of these sets were properly preserved when they were taken out of service some time in 2009 to 2010, I guess it isn’t much of a concern now that the 81 Class is no longer a disused train set.

A warm welcome to the 81 Class back on KTM Komuter services, and kudos to all KTM staff and contractors who had a part in making this train set come alive again!

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