2up Ekspres Rakyat: Singapore (Tanjung Pagar Railway Station) to KL Sentral by Train [Air-Conditioned First Class (AFC)]

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The Ekspres Rakyat was a popular daily service between Singapore and Butterworth, and the flagship train of KTM Berhad for 40 years from 1976 to 2016, always receiving the newest coaches in its rake first. Services were truncated to only between Singapore and KL Sentral during the progress of the Rawang – Ipoh Electrified Double Track Project.

While I’ve taken the Ekspres Rakyat many times between Singapore and KL Sentral, I took this significant journey on 2up Ekspres Rakyat in a rush on the last few months of operations of Tanjung Pagar Railway Station on my first and only trip from Singapore to Bangkok by train, buffer to buffer. This is also my first trip with my then-new DSLR, so some photos didn’t turn up as expected as I didn’t know how to use it properly then.

This trip was done on 12 March 2011, 4 years before RailTravel Station was launched, so I seek your understanding if the pictures or descriptions are not up to usual standards since I had no plans to write about them when I took the trip 9 years ago.

NOTE: The term “Singapore” is used to describe Tanjung Pagar Railway Station according to the KTM timetable, and not the country itself. I’ve taken the train from the Republic of Singapore to Bangkok many times after Tanjung Pagar Railway Station closed.

ANOTHER NOTE: This should be quite obvious already but the Ekspres Rakyat is no longer in operation, and will very likely never ever come back to service again. Please don’t ask questions like “wow jom lepas pkp”, “brp tiket eks rakyat” and “bila ekspres rakyat nak kembali lagi”.

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The facade of Tanjung Pagar Railway Station.

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The southern buffer stops at Tanjung Pagar Railway Station.

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While many are queuing to buy tickets for their first (and possibly last) ever train journey to JB Sentral, I’m taking my first and last train journey from Singapore to Bangkok, buffer to buffer.

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Queuing up to enter the departure platform for Malaysian immigration.

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25112 Pulau Tioman leads my 2up Ekspres Rakyat from Singapore to KL Sentral.

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The cast nameplate of 25112 Pulau Tioman.

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The interior of the Air-Conditioned First Class (AFC) I was seated in.

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The interior of a newly-refurbished Air-Conditioned Second Class (ASC) I was seated in.

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The interior of a newly-refurbished Air-Conditioned Buffet Coach (ABC) I was seated in, sandwiched between the AFC and ASC sections.

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The view of the Tanjung Pagar Railway Station escape route before departure.

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Departing from Singapore on time at 8.00am.

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Looking back at the Singapore CBD skyline from the train.

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The driver collects the Singapore-Woodlands token from the cabin.

Read on to find out why it wasn’t a Singapore-Bukit Timah token.

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The morning view across the Kampung Bahru yard.

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26112 Tanjung Piandang is attached to a northbound freight train at Kampung Bahru yard.

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Passing through Bukit Timah Railway Station with no token exchange or station master in sight.

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Guess the station is closed with a shift in roster.

Singapore immigration was done at Woodlands Train Checkpoint.

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Crossing the border into Malaysia on the Johor–Singapore Causeway.

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Since time eternity, take the train to JB guys.

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Waiting outside of JB Sentral for signal clearance.

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Line cleared for Platform 5.

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Crossing with the super-delayed 25dn Senandung Sutera at JB Sentral.

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Two 23 Class locomotives coupled together at Kempas Baru. These sidings would be the temporary yard after the closure of Kampung Bahru yard.

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Making a brief stop at Kempas Baru.

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Making a brief stop at Kulai.

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The on-board cleaners wipe down the handles by the doors at every station.

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Heading along palm plantations.

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The wide legroom available on board the AFC.

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The view of the ride out of my window.

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Copies of the daily newspaper were provided by KTM for First Class passengers.

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Approaching Kluang.

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Platforms 2 and 3 at Kluang Railway Station.

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Making a brief stop at Kluang.

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The two station signs at Kluang.

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Continuing on north.

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Approaching Paloh.

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Making a brief stop at Paloh.

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Heading to the ABC since I was getting hungry.

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The pre-packed food available on board the ABC.

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The shot of my Nasi Goreng from the ABC eaten at my seat. Yup, KTM’s caterers has always been constant about the poor quality of food on board.

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Making a brief stop at Labis.

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Overtaking an uncle delivering newspapers on his bicycle.

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Passing over the high Segamat River.

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Making a brief stop at Segamat.

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Passing by the Segamat Bus Terminal.

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The new Gemas Railway Station is coming up in the background, significantly elevated from the old station.

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3 empty Air-conditioned Economy Class (AEC) coaches resting at Platform 3 to form a Shuttle train to the East Coast Line.

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Making a brief stop at Gemas.

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Overtaking 26101 Tanjung Aru with a northbound freight train at Gemas.

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Heading left towards KL Sentral.

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The Seremban – Gemas Double Track Project under way.

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Looking back at my curved train.

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The future Tampin Railway Station coming up.

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Making a brief stop at Tampin.

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Despite being part of the Seremban – Gemas Double Track Project, Tampin Railway Station had some improvements made to the old station including a Komuter-style shelter and raised platforms.

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Departing from the future long platforms of Tampin Railway Station, something which would be unnecessary since KTM would not be running long trains for long.

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Passing by Rembau Railway Station.

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Cows won’t be as close to the tracks once the Seremban – Gemas Double Track Project is completed.

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Heading on to one side of the new alignment.

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Heading up the Sungai Gadut viaducts.

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Approaching Sungai Gadut Railway Station.

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Passing through Sungai Gadut Railway Station.

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Only tamping left to do and the station would be good to go.

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Approaching Senawang Railway Station.

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An IRCON maintenance train for electricity at Senawang Railway Station.

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The new points on approach to Seremban Railway Station.

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Entering Platform 1 of Seremban.

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The Seremban running bungalows in the distance.

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Making a brief stop at Seremban.

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The old McDonald’s at Seremban Railway Station.

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82 Class EMU 48 gets ready for departure from Seremban to Rawang behind my 2up Ekspres Rakyat.

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Departing from Seremban.

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Crossing over to the up line after Seremban.

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Arrived at KL Sentral.

Overall, a pleasant direct train ride from Singapore to KL Sentral on the Ekspres Rakyat with a delay of around 1 hour if I remembered correctly. Too bad the same journey now would take around 50% longer involving 3 trains, and it doesn’t even start from downtown Singapore.

My next train connection to Hat Yai would be later at night.

This article is part of my very first train trip from Singapore to Bangkok in March 2011. Follow my journey here:

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One comment

  1. Can you remember how long the journey took ? Just curious how it might compare to the high speed train proposed.
    Obviously slower but curious as to how much slower.

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