KA Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554: Jakarta Gambir to Bandung by Train

The Argo Parahyangan is a very popular cluster of train services running on the Jakarta Gambir – Bandung route with 8 pairs of regular services daily. To meet the growing capacity demands, the Argo Parahyangan Premium now operates 2 additional pairs of services on this route during peak periods such as weekends and holidays, with an entirely new train set formed of the new Premium Class coaches.

KA Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554 is a perfect daytime service for me to ride on these new coaches, leaving from Jakarta Gambir station at 7.50am and getting into Bandung at 11.07am.

NOTE: The Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554 operates on the same time slot as the Argo Parahyangan Premium 7058 (Premium Class) and the Argo Parahyangan Tambahan 38F (Eksekutif/Eksekutif+Bisnis/Eksekutif+Ekonomi/Bisnis). Train numbers and/or train sets are interchangeable and only one service will operate on one time slot at any one time. Do check the actual train running on the day of your departure.

From Gambir 2 TransJakarta busway halt, walk into the station premises.

Walk under the shelter to the South Entrance.

Go to the Check-In Counters (CIC), or rather, kiosks, to check-in for your train journey.

I got my ticket through Tiket.com as usual, since PT KAI’s website does not accept foreign credit cards. If you have your Tiket.com printout, scan the code located on the top right hand corner of the printout. Unfortunately, Tiket.com no longer sends an SMS with the booking code a couple of hours before departure.

Fares for the Argo Parahyangan Premium between Jakarta and Bandung go for Rp.90,000 (~S$8.32) with only one fare class available (non-dynamic fare).

Click on “Print” to, well, print your boarding pass.

Within 2 seconds, your boarding pass will be printed.

My boarding pass for the Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554.

Once done, follow the signs to the departure area for ticket checking.

Provide your identification documents (for the case of foreigners, your passport) to the staff who will verify your identity before letting you through.

Follow the signs to Platform 1 & 2 for the Argo Parahyangan.

Take the escalator up to the platform.

Once at the end of the escalator, you will find this sign which will inform you of which platform to wait for your train at.

The incoming Argo Parahyangan Premium 10553 arriving at Gambir from Bandung. This train will turnaround to form my Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554.

The Argo Parahyangan Premium 10553 pulling into Platform 1.

The exterior of the new Premium Class coaches.

The locomotive immediately runs around to form the Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554.

The coupling process of the locomotive to the coaches.

The Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554 is now formed.

The Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554, ready to depart for Bandung.

Boarding Coach 8, my chosen coach for this journey.

The view of Seat 8D, my chosen spot for the next 3 hours or so. Not that I’m superstitious or anything, but this seat has a perfect window alignment, a forward facing seat on the left of the train (based on gut feel) for the best views to Bandung, plus it makes for good shots at curves from the last coach of the train.

Yes, I am very particular about where I sit on trains. Don’t believe that I planned my seat way in advance? Scroll up to view my boarding pass again.

While both Ekonomi New Image and Premium Class coaches have the same capacity of 80 seats on board, the new Premium Class offers reclining seats.

NOTE: This does not apply for the 64-seat wheelchair-friendly coach (not available on Argo Parahyangan Premium) whereby there are special bays of seats which change directions similar to how it’s done on Bisnis Class, and therefore do not recline.

The overall interior of the Premium Class coach.

Reading lights are available for each seat on Premium Class.

While both the Ekonomi New Image and Premium Class coaches adopt a fixed direction airline-style seat layout with each direction facing either forwards or backwards on half of the coach instead of facing bays of seats like Ekonomi AC or Ekonomi AC Plus coaches, if you still prefer to have a bay of 4 seats to your group, you can choose the facing seats on Rows 11 and 12.

The legroom available on the Premium Class coach, just like an economy class seat on a plane.

Time for a seat comfort test. This picture shows the amount of space for your legs and face when seated with no recline.

This is how it looks like with the seat fully reclined.

With the seat reclined, it encroaches into your legroom, with your knee touching the seat in front of you. Also, you may feel claustrophobic on a fully-packed train when the seat in front of you is reclined as you’ll have less breathing space in front of your face.

So, it will be your turn to recline so as to give yourself more space, thus launching a domino effect on all other seats.

Two types of toilets are available: the Western sit-down type and the Asian squat type. One of each is available on each end of the coach.

Upon departure from Gambir station, the Reska staff commence their drinks sales.

Power sockets are available by the window, with one socket meant for each seat.

While the new coaches are branded as Premium Class, they are still logically classified as K3 which stands for Class 3 or Economy Class.

The route map of the Argo Parahyangan.

Passing by the future depot at Cipinang.

The conductor then comes around to check for the validity of tickets.

However, as seen in my previous post on the Gajayana, the conductor no longer “checks for tickets” but merely verifies your name against your seat via the app on his phone, since you have completed the check-in process before boarding. This time though, the conductor did greet us and verified our identity by calling out our names as appeared in the app as he passed our seats.

And after our identities were verified, it’s time for breakfast/lunch/brunch(?) at the dining car or Kereta Makan. Sure, food can be served to our seats but checking out the Premium Class Kereta Makan was important too.

Notice the different types of payment modes available at the Kereta Makan.

The makan part of things only make up half the coach as this is designated as an MP3 or Kelas 3 Kereta Makan dan Pembangkit, or Class 3 Dining and Power Car.

Notice how clean the generator area is without a single drop of oil on the floor.

The Reska menu of the food available on board. Click on the images to enlarge.

Passing through Cikampek station where there are old BB locomotives on display.

Since I was disappointed with Reska on my previous trip already, I didn’t have much high hopes for meals this round too. So here’s what we ordered:

I had a Bakso PopSo Cup (Rp.25,000 (~S$2.32)), which is an enhanced version of typical instant noodles with 2 pieces of bakso halus and 1 bakso tahu included in the cup from the factory.

Here’s the Nasi Goreng Bakso (Rp.33,000 (~S$3.06)) again, without effort to make it look nice for the camera. Tastes reasonably fine but not anything memorable.

The reasonably presented Nasi Rames (Rp.33,000 (~S$3.06)), which looks okay since it’s just plain rice with side dishes.

At Purwakarta station, disused KRL trains can be seen stacked on top of each other awaiting for scrap. Among the disused trains that can be found here are KRL Rheostatik, BN-Holec, Hitachi, Toyo Rapid 1000 and Tokyo Metro 5000.

Some old coaches and former KRD (DMU) are also here with their paint stripped.

The scenic route starts here, and lasts all the way to Bandung as the train climbs up the hills and crosses over valleys.

Lots of fields on the way with curves for this kind of shots. Now you know why Coach 8 was carefully chosen.

The old single-track alignment versus the new line with smoother curves.

Passing by the Cisomang Bridge, with the old bridge still in tact.

The view down to the valley from Cisomang Bridge.

Entering the Sasaksaat Tunnel.

And because the rest are nice views without much to caption, I’ll just leave the following pictures in because pictures are worth a thousand words. So here’s a 5000 word essay:

Approaching Bandung station.

The Premium Class coaches, side by side with the Ekonomi New Image coaches attached on the next Argo Parahyangan 23 to Gambir.

The destination sign on the Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554 still uses the existing ones for the Argo Parahyangan.

The Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554 arrived right on time in Bandung at 11.07am.

After all passengers has disembarked from the Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554, the crew immediately starts cleaning both the interior and exterior of the train to get ready for the next departure.

The path towards the new side of Bandung station. However, since we were going to get the next Bandung Raya train, we opted to exit through the old station as it was easier to buy tickets and return back to the platform for the local train.

Overall, the Argo Parahyangan Premium 10554 offers a value-for-money train service from Jakarta to Bandung at a reasonable fare of Rp.90,000 (~S$8.32) with new seats that are comfortable enough for the short 3-hour journey. The Jakarta – Bandung route is also in my opinion the most scenic railway route in Indonesia, so considering that train fares are charged by distance and not by scenery, this would make a good introduction to Indonesian train services and natural landscapes in Indonesia if you were looking for a joyride out of Jakarta.

PT KAI Train Ticket Booking Methods
For Eksekutif, Bisnis and Ekonomi AC only. All other tickets are only sold at stations where the train serves.

  • PT KAI counters
  • Online from PT KAI‘s ticketing website but foreign credit cards do not work
  • Online from Tiket.com – foreign credit cards accepted

Tickets are open for sale 30 to 90 days before departure, depending on train service.

Hotel Booking

Attractions Booking

  • Klook (Get FREE $4.30*/RM12.90* voucher for your first purchase when you sign up here! *subject to exchange rate)

Soekarno-Hatta Airport Railink Services (ARS): Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to Sudirman Baru (BNI City) by Train

The Soekarno–Hatta Airport Railink Services (ARS) is Soekarno-Hatta International Airport’s (SHIA) brand new dedicated airport railway line linking it with downtown Jakarta. The key purpose of this airport rail link is to cut travel time between the airport and downtown Jakarta, but in actual fact does the complete opposite.

Tickets for the SHIA Railink can only be purchase online using credit and debit cards, electronic money via the Railink app on smartphones or at vending machines at stations with credit, debit or prepaid bank cards. This being said, I recommend that you only buy your ticket at the vending machines at stations as tickets are dated and timed, and should you miss your train due to a flight delay and do not upgrade it at a 25% surcharge within 30 minutes, it will render your ticket invalid.

Cash is not accepted on the SHIA Railink, which is a ridiculous arrangement, especially troublesome for tourists who have just touched down in Jakarta and may not be familiar with the procedures.

Touch “Regular Ticket” to start the ticket purchase process.

Choose the next train departure on the screen.

Choose Debit/Credit Card should you wish to pay with it.

SHIA Railink tickets cost Rp.70,000.

Here’s where things got complicated. The credit card machine insists on having to key in a PIN when you insert the card. (To keep things in context, there is no PIN number needed usually for Singapore credit or debit cards.) Even when I keyed in my ATM PIN number or just 000000, the machine refuses to process the payment. So it seems that you have to have a local PIN number, or that just like the parent PT KAI, Railink could potentially not accept foreign credit cards. The paywave function does not work too. Again, ridiculous, considering that this is a train service from an international airport.

There is also no top-up facilities for my BNI TapCash card in the station, so I have no choice but to purchase a new BRIZZI card from the standalone kiosk. The card costs Rp.100,000 with Rp.80,000 value preloaded – just sufficient for one SHIA Railink ride.

And because of this delay, I missed my initial 12.10pm train despite there being 10 minutes to departure, because ticket sales close 10 minutes before departure. I can only purchase my ticket for the next train at 1.10pm.

And no, the facility to accept prepaid cards directly at the gate is not ready yet, so it is a must to purchase a paper ticket from the kiosk using the prepaid card first.

I could have easily gotten onto the Skytrain to get on the DAMRI bus to Gambir from Terminals 1, 2 or 3 which departs every 15 minutes instead, but, sigh, the things I do for trains.

Purchasing the Railink ticket with my new (unwanted) BRIZZI card.

My ticket for the next train departure at 1.10pm.

Taking a 10-minute look at the 12.10pm train, still waiting for departure but yet I’m unable to board it.

There are two waiting lounges by the side of the ticket gates, or some small eateries around serving really expensive food like bakso for Rp.60,000.

I opted for the bakso to save time in the city.

Finally, the incoming train pulled in at 12.48pm, which will form the 1.10pm departure.

Scan the ticket code at the gates to enter the platform.

Boarding the SHIA Railink.

The interior of the SHIA Railink train. 10 such 6-car trainsets are ordered, which are manufactured by PT INKA and Bombardier.

Just like Eksekutif Class trains, seats on the SHIA Railink can be reclined.

Push the recline button at the side of the seat to recline.

The legroom available on the SHIA Railink.

USB charging ports are also available between each pair of seats under the centre armrest.

Luggage racks are available by the side of the train doors to store your luggage.

Two types of toilets are available:

The urinoir or urinal, as you might have guessed, is a small cubicle for male passengers only.

The toilet, or toilet, are for passengers of all genders, with a western-style toilet bowl and baby nappy changing facilities.

Fun fact: The Indonesian word for toilet is toilet.

The view of the doors from on board the train.

Welcome to Jakarta subway?

The generous legroom available on board the SHIA Railink.

Departing SHIA Airport Railway Station. Notice that the overhead lines are of the rigid type within the station and under the taxiway.

As the railway exits SHIA on the wrong side away from the city, it loops around the airport perimeter first to get back on the right track. (Ha.)

The views from along this 12km-long airport branch line.

Approaching Batu Ceper, with tracks running parallel to the existing main line to Tangerang.

Arrived at Batu Ceper, the junction station between the Tangerang Line and the airport branch line.

Merging back to the main line after Batu Ceper.

Approaching Duri station.

At Duri station, the drivers have to walk to the other end of the train as the train has to change directions to continue onwards to Sudirman Baru (BNI City) and thereafter to Manggarai.

Heading towards Sudirman Baru (BNI City) on the Loop Line, splitting off from the Tangerang Line.

Approaching Sudirman Baru (BNI City) station.

Arrived at Sudirman Baru (BNI City) station.

Almost everything on this train gives off the INKA feel, even the air-conditioning unit is of INKA’s own in-house brand.

The train continues on to Manggarai to layover and to cross back to the other track. As Sudirman Baru (BNI City) is on the main line with no additional tracks or crossovers fitted, the train has to move off quickly so as to not disrupt the other commuter trains coming in fast. Also, while the SHIA Railink has its own tracks at Manggarai, there is no passenger building yet, hence passengers are unable to take the train there despite the train already running there on actual internal schedule.

Taking the travellator up to the concourse.

Scan your ticket at the gates again to exit.

Follow the signs to the exit and take the travellators down.

3 options are available from Sudirman Baru (BNI City) station for onward travel:

1. You can get taxi from Sudirman Baru (BNI City) station. Remember to choose taxis from the Blue Bird Group to have a reliable metered journey.

2. You can get a bus if you are heading to MONAS or Gambir station. This is useful if you wish to get to the TransJakarta busway system and do not wish to walk all the way to Dukuh Atas. However, if you are heading to Gambir station, you should seriously consider getting the DAMRI bus to Gambir straight from the airport.

This bus plies the Sudirman Baru (BNI City) Station – MONAS – Gambir route, though I’m not sure of the exact routing and stopping points, because I took the most obvious option which is…

3. Get the KRL Commuter Line train from Sudirman station. Sudirman station is located just after Sudirman Baru (BNI City) station with the ends of the platforms almost touching each other. The walk between the two stations takes less than 5 minutes. From here, you are free to travel to anywhere on the KRL network.

Overall, the SHIA Railink to me is only useful for having the right to claim that the airport has a railway facility into the city as it does not get you there significantly faster. The SHIA Railink currently operates with infrequent trains at 30 to 60 minute frequencies, which is double or quadruple that of the existing DAMRI Airport Bus which departs every 15 minutes to Gambir. On top of that, the DAMRI Airport Bus has multiple routes running throughout Jakarta city and the neighbouring regencies at a fare which is almost half that of the train, which currently gets you nowhere and a transfer by taxi, bus or KRL is still necessary at the terminal.

Ignoring the time taken for my Skytrain joyride but factoring in the hour-long delay as mentioned above thanks to the non-acceptance of foreign credit cards, my journey from SHIA to the hotel took a whopping 3 hours which involves a Skytrain ride, waiting time for the train (which is longer than the journey itself), the 56-minute SHIA Railink ride and a KRL ride. On a normal day, the DAMRI bus ride to Gambir station will take just about an hour, and with a busway ride from Gambir to my destination, it will take 1.5 hours in total at maximum. And a taxi directly from the airport will take an hour at maximum too, including the jams in the city.

Get on the SHIA Railink to try out the service if you must, but in the long run, unless the train is the destination like on this trip, and taking into account the first mile/last mile connectivity, the hassle to purchase tickets and the overall fare, I’ll be sticking to the cheaper and faster DAMRI Airport Bus.

Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport Skytrain: The New Inter-Terminal People Mover System Connecting Terminals 1, 2 and 3 To Airport Railway Station

The Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (SHIA) Skytrain is a new people mover system connecting all 3 passenger terminals for free, which were once only connected by an infrequent free shuttle bus, or in desperate situations, a taxi ride. The Skytrain also links the 3 terminals with the SHIA Airport Railway station, which is the terminal for the SHIA Railink to get you to downtown Jakarta.

Skytrain Interior

The Skytrain currently operates with 2 2-car train sets with a capacity of 176 people per train. The trains are built by state-owned company PT Len Industri (Persero) in cooperation with Woojin from South Korea, with the line operated directly under PT Angkasa Pura II. Once the line is fully ready, it will operate with 3 train sets.

For the first 6 months of operation, the trains will be operated manually with a set of crew.

The interior of the 2-car Woojin train set. One side of the train is fitted with seats, and the opposing area is a space for wheelchair-bound passengers, big luggage or just simply standing passengers.

Each train car has 9 seats – 5 on the main row in the centre and a pair of 2 seats by the gangway.

The handgrips on board are distinctively South Korean.

The route map on board the train, denoting the travel time through the line. However, it seems that this timing does not take into account stops at stations, and you probably need to add 1 minute for every station you pass through when heading to your destination.

An LCD screen featuring advertisements on board.

Despite not being operated under PT Kereta Api Indonesia, the main operator of railways in Indonesia, the numbering of the train sets follow the same order. So for this case of the number being K1 1 17-05

K1: Class 1/First Class
1: Car with own motive power
17: Manufactured in 2017
05: Car number

SHIA Terminal 2 to SHIA Airport Railway Station

Terminal 2 is where most international flights land in SHIA, including Singapore Airlines.

Once out of the baggage reclaim area, head straight to the temporary-looking shelter across the road.

The Skytrain station is up ahead.

However, the entrance on the terminal side isn’t ready, so you have to access it from the car park side.

Get on the escalator up to the platform.

The Skytrain system currently operates on two bi-directional single tracks. Each train operates on its own track, with the points at the ends of the line currently not in operation. As such, trains on either platform may head to either destination. Listen out for the staff calling out the train’s destination or watch which direction the train is travelling in.

The view of SHIA Airport Railway Station from Terminal 2 Station.

On board the Skytrain. A minimum of two crew is needed to man the train – one to drive it and another to make manual announcements and communicate with possibly the operations control centre. I suspect it’s because the Skytrain does not operate with any signalling yet, hence the arrangement for the bi-directional single track and the staff having to inform the operations control centre at the precise time of every departure and arrival of the train and even whether the doors are closed or not.

Announcing the impending arrival of the train at the SHIA Airport Railway Station.

As all stations have island platforms and the train only opens the doors on one side, the protective tape for the buttons on the side which is not opened is still not removed.

Follow the signs to the SHIA Airport Railway Station to hop on board the SHIA Railink to BNI City (Sudirman Baru), in the heart of Jakarta’s business district.

The overview of the SHIA Skytrain alignment.

SHIA Airport Railway Station to SHIA Terminal 1

Continuing onwards to Terminal 1, a maintenance facility can be seen under construction.

The unused points leading to the maintenance facility and the crossovers before approaching Terminal 1.

Approaching Terminal 1 Station.

The buffer stop at Terminal 1, with cables strewn around the area. Hmm…

SHIA Terminal 1 to SHIA Airport Railway Station

From Terminal 1, another staff does the communications with the operations control centre, one does the announcements and one drives the train.

Question: How many people does it take to drive a supposedly driverless train?
Answer: 3.

SHIA Airport Railway Station to SHIA Terminal 2

The facade of the SHIA Airport Railway Station.

Heading on to Terminal 2.

The opposing Skytrain on the other track heading for Terminal 2 as well, from Terminal 3.

Approaching Terminal 2 Station.

SHIA Terminal 2 to SHIA Terminal 3

The stretch from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 is the longest, due to the new Terminal 3 not within the same cluster as Terminals 1 and 2.

The opposing Skytrain heading off to SHIA Airport Railway Station and Terminal 1.

The long stretch to Terminal 3.

Approaching Terminal 3.

Passing over the unused crossovers.

Arriving at the platforms of Terminal 3 Station. The main user of Terminal 3 currently is Garuda Indonesia, however, all international flights are expected to move to Terminal 3 by June 2018.

A stray vehicle on the tracks at the overrun towards the buffer stop. Hmm…

The schedule for this outer-track train on the driving console. The journey time on schedule can be deduced as follows:

Terminal 1 to Airport Railway Station: 3 minutes
Stop at Airport Railway Station: 1 minute
Airport Railway Station to Terminal 2: 2 minutes
Stop at Terminal 2: 1 minute
Terminal 2 to Terminal 3: 5 minutes
Stop at Terminal 3: 1 minute
Terminal 3 to Terminal 2: 5 minutes
Stop at Terminal 2: 1 minute
Terminal 2 to Airport Railway Station: 2 minutes
Stop at Airport Railway Station: 1 minute
Airport Railway Station to Terminal 1: 3 minutes
Stop at Terminal 1: 1 minute

Total journey time for each loop: 13 minutes
Average frequency for each direction with 2 trains: 6.5 minutes

Overall, the Skytrain’s opening, while necessary, feels incomplete and inconvenient with entrances to the station from the Terminal not ready, the system possibly operating without a signalling system (thus trains have to be driven manually on bi-directional single tracks) and without proper signages to the station from the terminal building at Terminals 1 and 2. Yes, it is a great improvement from free shuttle buses but it’s not close to being fully operational yet.

It is necessary to take the Skytrain to the Airport Railway Station, however, at a 6.5 minute frequency with no information at the platform on how long more your train will arrive on which track, it adds a bit more stress to travelling to and from the airport. Not to mention the additional travel time needed to get to the Airport Railway Station which you need to factor into the total journey time to and from the city.

Overall, an improvement in the connectivity around SHIA, but there’s definitely more room for improvement. When the next phase of the line opens with 3 trains running on it fully automated (and thus at 4-minute frequencies), I’ll give it another review.

Singapore Airlines SQ956: Singapore to Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta by Airbus A350-900

Singapore Airlines is a major player on the lucrative Singapore – Jakarta route with up to 9 pairs of return flights daily. While the typical Boeing 777s are in use on this regional route, one particular flight, SQ956, currently uses the Airbus A350-900 for this short hop.

Similar to ScootCathay Pacific and a bunch of other airlines now, Singapore Airlines now uses FAST (Fast and Seamless Travel) Check-In at Changi Airport as well. While it’s sort of fun to use, that little bit of premium feels lost at the check-in counter now.

Press the Singapore Airlines logo on the screen to start the check-in process.

Remember to only print the exact number of baggage tags you need.

My baggage tag being spat out by the kiosk.

Soon after, my NTUC receipt boarding pass is printed.

After a final reminder from the kiosk, I tagged my bag, picked up my boarding pass and headed over to the Bag Drop counter.

Unlike the 100% self-service bag drop counter for my Cathay Pacific flight from Terminal 4, while you still have to place your bags yourself one by one at the FAST bag drop, the touch screen is not for your use this time, but rather, a check-in agent is stationed behind the counter to facilitate the process. Not sure if I like this half-automated system though.

Furthermore, the boarding pass has lost all its premium value – you used to feel that little bit of prestige in your heart when you held on to the boarding pass with the green Economy Class band on top.

Here’s my FAST and flimsy boarding pass.

Decided to use the mobile boarding pass instead.

Time to head for immigration and to my flight.

My flight was departing from Gate F35, so it’s a walk through the entire length of the departure transit hall from the North departure immigration area.

After the end of the rows of shops, it’s a final diverge to the pier.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t a queue for security screening at the gate. Guess it’s going to be a light load today.

The Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 9V-SME getting ready for departure.

Hmm, not many people as I expected for this Saturday morning flight. Perhaps most people booked their flights based on departure timings rather than aircraft type. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

With no response for passengers with children or needing assistance, it was a quick call for Group 4, or those seating from Row 51 onwards in the aft cabin.

Since the Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 is a long-haul product, the walk to Economy Class requires you to walk through all cabin classes, as the premium demand on long-haul routes is pretty high. Here are the brand new Business Class seats.

The new Premium Economy Class is located just behind the Business Class cabin. Just a cozy 3 rows of seats here.

Following which is the Economy Class cabin. This little cabin of just 6 rows of seats is defined as the Forward Zone which does require an additional surcharge to book if you are purchasing this ticket on a low fare. Hence, I’m not seated here.

Rows 47 to 62 form the main Economy Class cabin on the Singapore Airlines Airbus A350.

Pretty generous legroom for Economy Class. Also, the leg rest is appreciated. I could visualize myself flying long haul pretty comfortably on this, ignoring the budget portion of things.

The KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system has also been refreshed with a touchscreen and a controller. Two USB ports are available – one for charging only, and the other for charging and syncing with the in-flight entertainment system.

In case the touch screen isn’t enough for you, the controller also has a screen on it for you to touch.

Free in-ear earphones are distributed alongside the newspaper rack while boarding the plane. They are yours to take home after the flight.

The free in-ear earphones have a classy Singapore Airlines branding on them.

Some new movies on the KrisWorld entertainment system. Hmm… Murder on the Orient Express. Nah, flight’s too short to complete the movie.

The interactive route map featuring the flight path to Jakarta.

Before pushback, hot towels were distributed to all passengers. I think I haven’t had one of these on a plane for almost five years now. Singapore Airlines might be the only airline in the world which still provides hot towels to every Economy Class passenger.

Pushing back with a United Airlines Boeing 787 at the next gate.

Boat Quay

Soon after, the safety video is played. This new video is played across all aircraft and features familiar places of interests in Singapore, and also acts as an introduction to those coming here for the first time.

Haji Lane

Henderson Waves

Adventure Cove Waterpark

Gardens by the Bay

Watch the new Singapore Airlines safety video in full here:

Some SilkAir and Scoot narrow-body aircraft are parked at Terminal 4. My guess is that this might be an “extension” of Terminal 2 with passengers boarding via Gate F51, the bus gate, to get to their planes here, or just simply as extra “remote” parking bays for T2 since T4 took away some actual remote parking bays anyway.

The prepared cabin, ready for take-off.

Take-off was headed north towards Malaysia.

Making a u-turn to head south to Indonesia.

The view over Batam while climbing.

In the toilet of the Singapore Airlines Airbus A350.

Amenities include hand creams, toothbrush kits, combs and mouthwash which you can rinse your mouth with with the little cups provided. Put 4 squirts into the cup and add water before you gargle.

Reaching cruising altitude.

And breakfast is served! Two choices were available – the Scrambled Egg with Veal Sausage or Chicken with Bee Hoon.

The decision is obvious.

(I’m not sure if anyone would excitedly pick economical bee hoon over the scrambled egg.)

I haven’t had scrambled egg on a plane before, just omelettes or frittata, so this was a refreshing taste. And surprisingly creamy too, since this is, after all, served on a plane where things dry out.

The obligatory Singapore Sling cocktail on board Singapore Airlines to kick start the holiday. (Dry gin, DOM Benedictine, Cointreau, cherry brandy, Angostura bitters and Grenadine, mixed with lime & pineapple juice.) Unfortunately, individual menu cards are no longer handed out so you may have to order your drinks by heart.

Tip: For a non-alcoholic mocktail instead, try the Fruit Spritzer (Apple Juice and 7-Up).

Time to fiddle around with the connectivity options on the plane.

SMS and data services are also available on board. Unlike Cathay Pacific, you have to reply to the SMS with a code in order to activate the service. Still, do remember to switch off data roaming or put it on airplane mode altogether to prevent bill shock.

WiFi on board costs US$11.95 for 1 hour, US$16.95 for 3 hours and US$21.95 for 24 hours, similar to Scoot’s old WiFi pricing.

Scoot has changed to a volume-based pricing instead.

Some flight information in the browser along the way.

Descending into Jakarta.

A last look at my seat.

The rear view of the Singapore Airlines Premium Economy Class.

The rear view of the Singapore Airlines Business Class.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to afford this.

Heading for the terminal building.

Heading downstairs to immigration.

The last time I used Terminal 2, the immigration counters for foreigners were on the side and the middle one was for locals. This time though, they’ve swapped positions.

The wait for baggage took about 15 minutes. And considering that I was one of the last ones off the plane and all other passengers are already waiting for their bags, that’s really slow. Although this ground side of things would be under PT Angkasa Pura II and not Singapore Airlines.

Once done with the baggage, it’s time to head outside for a fresh way to get to the city: via the new Skytrain to the Soekarno-Hatta Airport Rail Link station.

Overall, the Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 was a very comfortable product for a short-haul flight, and I would say that it is a tight race, but SQ might have been the best A350 Economy Class product I’ve tried so far, with my previous experiences being on Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific.

In general for the A350 though, while it is touted as being a quiet aircraft, even with the initial nickname of “Hushliner”, I still find the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to actually live up better to that claim when seated at the back of the plane behind the engines. However, I haven’t had the opportunity to sit in front of the wing on full-service airlines’ wide-body aircraft yet, so no comparisons yet for that.

Scoot Airlines TR427: Penang to Singapore by Airbus A320-200

With an airfare cheaper than the train ticket and a travel time which gets me back to Singapore in one-tenth the time needed by train, I opted for the logical choice. Scoot TR427 is a scheduled daily morning flight from Penang to Singapore departing at 10.05am, getting into Singapore at 11.35am. However, due to the closure of a part of Singapore’s airspace during the Combined Rehearsal for the Singapore Airshow 2018, my flight was rescheduled to depart almost 2 hours later instead.

The email from Scoot regarding my rescheduled flight.

The new one-off re-timed flight of TR427 departing Penang at 12.00pm, which was even better for me since I can have a proper breakfast in Penang before heading off to the airport by the rapidPenang bus. And with other airlines selling tickets at this timing for about 5 times the price I paid for Scoot, this turned out to be one of the best deals ever.

I made it to the check-in desk at Penang International Airport just in time – about 10 minutes before they close. Check-in for Scoot flights close 60 minutes before departure.

3 counters were opened for Scoot. Since I had no bags and was one of the last passengers to check-in, the process was pretty quick, and I was done in less than a minute.

My boarding pass for TR427 back to Singapore.

Heading for immigration. To my surprise, the queues for immigration were quite long. Didn’t know Penang had this many international flights departing at the same time. The queue for immigration took about half an hour.

The moment I cleared security screening, boarding calls for TR427 were made. So it’s a brisk walk to Gate A5 for me.

In case you’re not tired of cafe-hopping in Penang yet, here’s a last one for you within the transit area of Penang International Airport.

9V-TRD “Felix”, ready for passengers back to Singapore. It’s strange how when Scoot usually gives punny names to their planes such as Inspiring Spirit, Flying Banana and for the latest Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, Getting Lei’d (for 9V-OFK‘s long-haul flight to Honolulu), they somehow gave a regular name to this adopted #A320bae.

Boarding my flight at Gate A5. Since I only had a rather flat bag to store in the overhead compartment, I didn’t bother rushing to board the plane when they first called for my row despite me sitting at the second-last row of the plane.

Boarding the very full flight back to Singapore.

The view from my seat.

At 12.00pm, the pilot announced that the Singapore airspace was still closed and we can’t fly back to Singapore yet because Singapore hasn’t given the okay. The plane waited for about 15 minutes just sitting at the gate (with the aerobridge detached) before finally taking off.




And because I got an aisle seat, no window views are available for this blog post.

Despite departing Penang 15 minutes behind the rescheduled time, the flight still arrived on-time just before 1.30pm. Guess Scoot was smart to factor in additional flying time in the itinerary in order to get you an “on-time arrival”. Since I had no bags to pick-up, it was a quick process from getting off the plane to clearing immigration and customs and finally getting on the MRT back home – all in the span of 10 minutes.

Rapid Ferry: Butterworth to Penang Island (Georgetown) by Bus + Ferry (Butterworth Linkway Closure)

The Rapid Ferry is a roll-on/roll-off car and passenger ferry linking the multimodal transport hub of Penang Sentral at Butterworth on the mainland to the island of Penang at Georgetown. As the walkway from Butterworth Railway Station to the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal is currently closed to facilitate the construction of the link to the upcoming Penang Sentral building, all passengers must use the free Penang Ferry Shuttle Bus to travel between Butterworth Railway Station and Sultan Abdul Halim Jetty in both directions.

Follow the signs from the shelter opposite Butterworth Railway Station to get to the Penang Sentral Temporary Transport Terminal.

The free Penang Ferry Shuttle Bus will be at the first berth on the right at the Penang Sentral Temporary Transport Terminal. Look out for the big red sign for directions to the ferry.

The bus’ electronic destination signage may or may not reflect the service as the free Penang Ferry Shuttle Bus. However, there will be a piece of paper in front stating “Shuttle Ferry”. If in doubt, ask the Rapid Penang driver standing in front of the bus.

The interior of the typical rapidPenang bus.

The journey to the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal takes a new shorter route which passes by the upcoming Penang Sentral building.

The upcoming Penang Sentral building facade.

Turning into the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal.

The bus stops at the foot of the ramp up towards the ticketing booth and waiting hall.

If you are travelling in the reverse direction towards Penang Sentral, this is the same waiting point for the free shuttle bus there.

Walk straight ahead to the ticket counter.

Purchase your ticket at the counter.

The Pedestrian Fares for the Rapid Ferry are as follows:

Single Trip
Adult RM1.20
Child RM0.60
Season Ticket (unlimited trips for 2 months) 
Adult RM30
Students (below 21 years old) RM6

My RM1.20 ticket for the Rapid Ferry journey to Penang Island.

Unlike its namesake, the waiting time for the Rapid Ferry is approximately 30 minutes (“3 ferry”) with the journey taking approximately 30 minutes. During off peak periods, the waiting time will be approximately once per hour (“1 ferry”).

Scan the QR code on the ticket at the ticket gates.

Wait at the waiting hall for the ferry, as usual.

There is a new display screen in the waiting area under maintenance. Hopefully this will provide more accurate arrival or departure times of the next ferry instead of just telling you that there are currently x number of ferries serving the route.

Boarding the Rapid Ferry.

An approaching Rapid Ferry backlit by the sunset over Penang Island. This ferry will go off service from here, thus reducing the frequency to “2 ferry”.

Departing from the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal together, with the Pulau Pinang heading back to rest.

The repainted ferries with the new Rapid Ferry colour scheme.

The sunset over Penang Island.

Approaching the Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal on Penang Island.

Disembarking from the Rapid Ferry.

From here, you can connect to rapidPenang island bus services from Jetty.

Overall, the Rapid Ferry offers a good connection between Butterworth and Georgetown, but with the reduced frequency of “3 ferry” during the day and “1 ferry” during the night, the waiting time should you miss one can be up to 30 minutes during the day or one hour during the night, which is longer than the time taken to get across the harbour. With the upcoming opening of Penang Sentral, there will be an even higher demand for connections to the island via the Rapid Ferry since it’s located just beside the building, so hopefully Rapid Ferry will increase their services soon after the takeover by Prasarana is finalized as the current situation is nowhere near “rapid”.

KTM Komuter Northern Sector Weekend Service: Padang Besar to Butterworth by 92 Class Six-Car Set (SCS)

Effective 18 November 2017, the KTM Komuter Northern Sector operates with 2 sets of 92 Class EMUs on Saturdays and Sundays to cope with the increasing passenger demand and load. The 92 Class EMUs are transferred from the KTM Komuter Klang Valley Sector overnight to the Northern Sector after the end of revenue services in the Klang Valley on Fridays, and serves mainly on the high-demand Butterworth – Padang Besar Line.

The queue to purchase tickets for the KTM Komuter Northern Sector is now as long as those in the Klang Valley. Be sure to turn up early to purchase your tickets.

Do also take note of the frequent cancellations of trains on the KTM Komuter Northern Sector, though these are usually services operating with 83 Class EMUs. Visit the KTM Komuter Northern Sector page to find out which services are using which type of trains on weekends, and to view the predicted reduced service timetables.

The crowd at Padang Besar waiting for the 4.25pm 2969dn KTM Komuter Northern Sector service to Butterworth. The significantly big crowd is due to both the weekend travellers as well as the previous 2967dn train at 3.25pm being cancelled, combining two train loads into one. Thankfully, it’s a weekend with the 92 Class Six-Car Sets in operation.

If not for the announcements and station signs, I would have mistakenly thought I was back in KL at Midvalley or Bandar Tasik Selatan or something.

The 92 Class EMU pulling into Padang Besar. This train is the 2964up from Butterworth, which will return back to Butterworth as 2969dn after a scheduled layover of 9 minutes and a crew change.

The passengers at Padang Besar at the platform, waiting to board the train. Due to the previous train being cancelled, some of these people have waited up to 2 hours for this train.

Please allow passengers to alight before boarding.

The crowd situation on board the 92 Class SCS at Padang Besar, with standing room only as I was one of the last persons to board the train.

It’s very unlike me to say this, but if you are travelling for a long distance on the KTM Komuter Northern Sector, please rush into the train to find a seat, or else you will end up standing for 2 hours to Butterworth. Or even better, bring your own stool so that you have your own guaranteed seat every time.

The views of Perlis and Kedah along the way from Padang Besar to Butterworth.

Crossing over the Prai River to Butterworth.

Arrived at Butterworth Railway Station.

The 92 Class EMUs on the Butterworth – Padang Besar Line on Saturdays and Sundays provide a much needed capacity boost for the ever-growing popularity of the KTM Komuter Northern Sector, especially with the frequent service cancellations forcing passengers to wait for the next train.

However, forward planning still needs to be in place to cater for further passenger number growth, and the 92 Class EMUs which were originally ordered for the KTM Komuter Klang Valley Sector will be definitely insufficient to cater for both sectors in the long run. The 92 Class EMUs serving the line currently get almost no rest as they are sent overnight as empty stock on Fridays after services in the Klang Valley has ended, and then sent back as empty stock again on Sunday nights after services in the Northern Sector has ended to operate in the Klang Valley again immediately in the morning, making them pretty much two sets of over-worked “borrowed” trains.

KTM, MOT, MOF and perhaps SPAD needs to decide if the KTM Komuter Northern Sector needs the additional capacity, treating it with equal importance as the KTM Komuter Klang Valley Sector, or leave it as the status quo with bi-hourly cancelled trains, no dedicated one-stop maintenance facility, and crammed long-distance rides without air-conditioning on the 22-year-old 83 Class EMUs, where the decision makers are currently satisfied and promoting this service as a positive first-world transformation to the Northern Corridor Economic Region.

Express 949: Hat Yai Junction to Padang Besar by Shuttle Train

The Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train is a twice-daily return service running between Hat Yai, the largest town in the Songkhla Province of Southern Thailand and Padang Besar, the eastern Malaysia-Thailand border town. The Express 949 operates on a time-effective afternoon schedule departing Hat Yai at 1.05pm Thai Time (GMT+7), just after checking-out of your hotel and allowing a last Thai lunch before heading back to Malaysia.

This post is about the travel experience onboard the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train.

This is NOT the actual information page you are looking for.

Click here to visit the dedicated Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train information page.

Tickets for the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train are only sold on the day of departure. Get your tickets at the counters for immediate travel.

The dedicated 4-car BREL Class 158/T Sprinter DMU, ready for an on-time departure from Hat Yai Junction to Padang Besar.

As this journey was significantly more crowded than the Express 947 in the morning, there wasn’t any available seats left in the entire train.

Hence, even though I had to stand for the journey, I decided to stand where I would have gotten the best view of the journey.

As the Sprinter has a connecting door at the ends of the train should the need arise to add more cars to the train, that was where I stood for the journey with the best view* possible.

*Of course the best view at the front of the train, but that wouldn’t be possible with the driver driving it.

The Special Express DRC 41 bound for Yala.

Exiting Hat Yai Junction Railway Station with the view of disused Krupp locomotives in a siding.

Heading off towards Khlong Ngae.

Making a short stop at Khlong Ngae.

Departing Khlong Ngae, on the way to Padang Besar (Thai).

Making a short stop at Padang Besar (Thai).

Entering the electrified sector of Thailand.

Wait, what?

A short section of approximately 280 meters just after the Malaysia-Thailand border of Padang Besar lies the State Railway of Thailand’s only electrified sector in the whole of Thailand.

This line is part of the Ipoh – Padang Besar Electrified Double Track Project undertaken in Malaysia. Even before this project came about, as the last northern point of Padang Besar station is just at the national border itself, locomotives running around will have to enter this main line “headshunt” in Thailand and take another track in Malaysia to to loop back to the other end of the train. This “overrun” into Thailand is possibly planned to allow electric trains to enter this short section of track to change lines at Padang Besar station, just as the locomotives have done. This also allows the overhead lines to taper into a single file before ending the line.

However, as the ETS or Komuter trains have driving cabs on each end, they have never entered Thailand before. While I’m not sure about the EL Class locomotives, if an electric train ever uses this section of track, it can technically be said that there are electrified trains running on the meter-gauge State Railway of Thailand tracks.

Passing by the old Padang Besar (Thailand) platforms, which was never on train schedules till the Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station was completed.

Passing through the border of Thailand and Malaysia.

Entering Platform 2 of Padang Besar Railway Station.

Arrived at Padang Besar Railway Station.

Padang Besar Railway Station’s platforms are all at train level (ie. high platforms). If you are disembarking from the front-most or rear-most doors, you can hop over to the platform easily with a platform gap of just about 30cm.

Disembark easily from the Sprinter at Padang Besar.

If you are disembarking from all other doors, there is a big platform gap of about 75cm.

If you aren’t confident to hop over the 75cm-wide platform gap, take one step down first and then take another step up the platform.

Still disembarking somewhat easily from the Sprinter at Padang Besar.

Most importantly, keep in mind the ever-popular British announcement when you are on board the Sprinter.

“Mind the gap.”

Once off the train, queue up to clear Thailand and Malaysia immigration and customs.

If you are at the end of the line, expect to queue for an hour when on a fully-loaded train. Once done, you can head upstairs to get tickets for ETS and Komuter trains for your onward journey within Malaysia.

This post is about the travel experience onboard the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train.

This is NOT the actual information page you are looking for.

Click here to visit the dedicated Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train information page.

Express 948: Padang Besar to Hat Yai Junction by Shuttle Train

The Express 948 Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train is a very popular mode of transport between the Malaysia border town of Padang Besar to Hat Yai, the largest city of Songkhla Province, Thailand, departing in the morning at 9.55am Malaysia Time (GMT+8), connecting from ETS and Komuter services with morning arrivals at Padang Besar.

This post is about the travel experience onboard the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train.

This is NOT the actual information page you are looking for.

Click here to visit the dedicated Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train information page.

If you are travelling from Padang Besar, Malaysia…

Padang Besar Railway Station serves the Malaysian Town of Padang Besar on the border of Thailand and Malaysia, the neighbour of the Thai town of the same namesake. This new station is the gateway to Thailand with the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train connecting passengers from train services in Malaysia to Hat Yai, the biggest town in Songkhla province in Thailand.

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) office opens at 9.00am for ticket sales on the Express 948 to Hat Yai. The office is located at Padang Besar station’s Platform 2, on the side which is closer to the north (ie. Thailand).

The counter to purchase tickets is located within the SRT office, on a dedicated side desk.

Tickets for the air-conditioned Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train cost 70 Baht.

The counter will provide you with the Thai immigration form as well. Fill this up and then head for Malaysian and Thai immigration.

Once cleared on both sides, board the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train waiting at the platform.

If you are travelling from Padang Besar, Thailand…

Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station serves the Thai Town of Padang Besar on the border of Thailand and Malaysia, the neighbour of the Malaysian town of the same namesake. Despite the railway running through the town ever since it was built, the Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station was only built 2 years ago. This new station opens up a new travel option for those living here to get to Hat Yai via the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train, with the previous option being only buses and vans, or getting the train to the Malaysian Padang Besar town and then walking back into Thailand.

You can get your tickets for the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train at the ticket counter here. Tickets for the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train are only sold on the day of departure, and for journeys originating at Padang Besar (Thai) only.

The timetable for trains serving Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station. Two pairs of Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Trains ply the line daily, with the long distance International Express running between Padang Besar in Malaysia and Bangkok once daily.

My ticket from Padang Besar (Thai) to Hat Yai Junction. Tickets for this air-conditioned Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train cost 70 Baht.

The 4-car BREL Class 158/T Sprinter DMU serving the Express 948 entering back into Thailand from Malaysia.

The Sprinter at Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station, bound for Hat Yai Junction.

The typical scenery on the way to Khlong Ngae and Hat Yai Junction.

Along the way, the in-train salesman, Jai (or Ah Chai), will come along with dtac Happy Tourist SIM Cards for purchase. While they typically cost 299 Baht when purchased directly from dtac or other resellers, Jai sells these dtac Happy Tourist SIM Cards at a special price of only 260 Baht. Jai will also happily configure your phone settings for you and makes sure you have your internet before moving on to the next customer. HINT: Further discounts may be given if you are purchasing these SIM cards in a group when you speak politely to Jai and flash him your biggest smile.

The dtac Happy Tourist SIM Card entitles you to 8 days of unlimited 3G/4G Internet (speed will be throttled after 2.5 GB of usage), free 100 Baht worth of call credit and a special international call rate via 00400. The 100 Baht credit can also be used to buy more 3G/4G Internet when you download the dtac app.

This is a hassle-free at-seat SIM card purchasing service which I think offers the most convenient way to buy a SIM card in Thailand. In my opinion, the dtac Happy Tourist SIM Card is especially useful and offers one of the best value when you are spending 3 to 8 days in Thailand. It is also, in my opinion, the most reliable telco along the railway lines in Thailand. RailTravel Station does not receive any form of commission from this recommendation.

Approaching Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.

Disembarking from the Express 948 at Hat Yai Junction.

The Express 948 offers a time-effective connection from ETS and Komuter services with morning arrivals at Padang Besar, getting you into Hat Yai just in time for lunch and thereafter check-in in your hotel.

As the sole train departure from Padang Besar in the morning, it is undoubtedly a very popular train service, and thus can get crowded as well. But fret not as the train will wait for all passengers to purchase tickets and clear immigration before departing from Padang Besar, even if it means being delayed.

Try out the Express 948 the next time you visit Hat Yai from Malaysia!

This post is about the travel experience onboard the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train.

This is NOT the actual information page you are looking for.

Click here to visit the dedicated Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train information page.


Express 947: Hat Yai Junction to Padang Besar (Thai) by Shuttle Train

The Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train is a twice-daily return service running between Hat Yai, the largest town in the Songkhla Province of Southern Thailand and Padang Besar, the eastern Malaysia-Thailand border town. While trains used to run with a dedicated 2-car Daewoo DMU and thereafter swapped for a Bogie Third Class rake on peak days to keep up with growing demand, in late January 2018, a dedicated 4-car BREL Class 158/T Sprinter DMU was assigned to ply this route daily, doubling the capacity of the 2-car Daewoo DMU.

This post is about the travel experience onboard the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train.

This is NOT the actual information page you are looking for.

Click here to visit the dedicated Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train information page.

The entrance to Hat Yai Junction Railway Station is on the right side of the facade of the station, at the zebra crossing.

Before entering the station, you have to pass your bags through the x-ray machine.

Tickets for the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train are only sold on the day of departure. Get your tickets at the counters for immediate travel.

Tickets for this air-conditioned journey from Hat Yai to Padang Besar cost 70 Baht (~S$2.94/~RM8.75).

With the early arrival of my flight from Singapore, I had ample time to spot the Sprinter at its new home. Here’s the train leaving the depot, shunting itself to the platform.

The Sprinter pulling into Hat Yai Junction Railway Station. Feels really British with the engine and horn sounds, and approaching a station with the word “Junction” in its name. Feels like I was back on the train lines around Sheffield for a moment.

Passengers heading to board the Sprinter to Padang Besar.

The Sprinter, fresh from the depot, ready for its first morning duty to Padang Besar.

The steps up the Sprinter.

Even the door to the main cabin feels distinctively British.

The interior of each of the cars on this 4-car DMU set.

The car number plate above the doors also has the original British font and layout.

There are no vestibules at the gangway, so be careful when crossing over to the next coach when the train is moving.

Getting ready to depart Hat Yai Junction.

The very typically British WC sign on board. The lights for the word “engaged” lights up when the doors to the toilet are locked.

Departing Hat Yai Junction.

The typical scenery from the train on the way to Khlong Ngae.

Approaching Khlong Ngae Railway Station.

The train makes a brief stop of about one minute before continuing on to Padang Besar (Thai).

Arrived at Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station.

A vent cover still in the original livery.

Once the line is clear on the Malaysian Padang Besar side, the train departs.

British train entering the Malaysian sector of (sort of) British signalling.

The BREL Class 158/T Sprinter DMU is now a permanent fixture on the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train, offering a more comfortable and consistent ride between Malaysia and Thailand. It is also a rare opportunity to board one as the only other service with regular runs with the Sprinter is on the Special Express 3 and 4, plying the Bangkok – Sawan Khalok – Sila At – Bangkok route. Look out for it the next time you are heading to Hat Yai!

This post is about the travel experience onboard the Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train.

This is NOT the actual information page you are looking for.

Click here to visit the dedicated Hat Yai – Padang Besar Shuttle Train information page.