KTM Komuter Klang Valley Sector 2250up: Sentul to Batu Caves 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.

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

The refurbished 81 Class train sets sport a new blue-and-white livery in contrast with the original blue solid blue side livery. On the end motor cars, the blue now takes the place of the original grey stripe with an additional strip of blue on the top and end borders, and the white fills the remaining original blue parts in the middle. A slanted blue stripe with a small shade of grey in front also complements the original solid yellow front of the train.

The original blue train number plate, however, is replaced with a printed-on train number.

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

A legacy route map featuring a printed Batu Caves extension and a stickered-on Sungai Gadut extension remains pasted behind one of the reinstated luggage racks.

A Priority Zone is also featured on the refurbished 81 Class with a bay of 4 seats. The sticker for this Priority Zone, however, uses the legacy design.

One bulkhead on the trailer car remains in tact as there are electrical boxes attached.

The bulkhead in the middle of the trailer car also remains in tact, possibly to maintain the structural integrity of the coach.

However, all bulkhead doors on the refurbished 81 Class sets are now locked in place with metal cables and can no longer be shut.

One set of the refurbished 81 Class, EMU05, is currently on service on the Sentul – Batu Caves Shuttle. However, exact schedules on a day-by-day basis is not known. It is also not known if there are plans for it to operate on other KTM lines.

Heading off to Batu Caves.

Passing by Sentul Depot.

The train arrived at Batu Kentonmen 3 minutes early, so there was a long stop before a right time departure.

Making a brief stop at Kampung Batu.

Passing by the SJ Bus depot after Taman Wahyu.

Passing by the Royal Malaysian Police Central Supply Depot sidings.

Approaching Batu Caves.

Arrived at Batu Caves.

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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