Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up Special Train from KL Sentral to Tumpat
The Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia is a seasonal overnight express train between KL Sentral and Tumpat which operates during peak holiday period with a single return trip, 1 from KL Sentral to Tumpat before the long holiday, and 1 from Tumpat to KL Sentral after the long holiday. For this trip on Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia, I caught Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up on the eve of Eid al-Adha or Hari Raya Haji from KL Sentral on the full route to Tumpat.
There were plenty of people waiting already, but I sensed something was off.
True enough, boarding calls were made for ETS Business Class and ETS Platinum Standard EP9278 to Padang Besar, departing at 10.50pm. Oh I hope boarding for the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia does not start at 10.50pm like Butterworth style.
News reporters were covering the departure of Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia with cameras filming and reporters asking passengers for interviews.
At about 10.30pm, the waiting room sign was moved to Gate A. Hmm, I think I can guess what might happen.
KL Sentral Gate A
I did a small recce around Gate A to find more KTM staff around there.
The KITS gates were fully open with an unusually high amount of staff there.
The passenger information screen, however, did not reflect Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia.
My ticket for the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up from KL Sentral and Tumpat on the KTMB Mobile app. To avoid further connection issues whether in the high usage in KL Sentral or on board when travelling through areas with limited to no mobile connection, I took a screenshot of this ticket just in case.
The cameraman confirmed my suspicions about boarding from Gate A. If it wasn’t the place for the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up, he wouldn’t be here.
Boarding commenced at 10.40pm – 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time of Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up. Boarding calls were simply made by a staff saying “Tumpat” and the natural flow of passengers just streamed on to the escalator.
The Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up was ready at KL Sentral Platform 2 towards the south.
I first headed to my booked ADNS (Air-conditioned Day/Night Second) coach at the front of the train (later the rear).
Coach C3 is towards the front of the train (later the rear).
The interior of the ADNS (Air-conditioned Day/Night Second) coach.
My booked lower berth at Berth 22. A goodie bag is given by KTM for all passengers on board the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia.
The overall space available on the bottom berth.
A look at the upper berth above me.
Each goodie bag contains a small bottle of mineral water, a layer cake, and a sweet potato crisp.
The western-style sitting toilet on board the ADNS.
The Asian-style squatting toilet on board the ADNS.
A remnant from the Ekspres Kembara JNK II has additional signs on the ADNS for mask wearing and taking photos.
An interesting fare change for this Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia, the AFC (Air-Conditioned First Class) seat ticket is sold at almost half price on this Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia trip at only RM70, which makes it cost less than the ADNS (Air-conditioned Day/Night Second) berth ticket which on the other hand had its fare increased to RM83, which rightly should be the way since the AFC is just a seat rather than a proper bed on the ADNS.
Seats on the AFC (Air-Conditioned First Class) are laid out in a 2+1 configuration which can be rotated towards the direction of travel.
ABC (Air-Conditioned Buffet Coach)
An ABC (Air-Conditioned Buffet Coach), also known by most passengers as canteen, is also attached on the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia.
A shot of the empty ABC before it gets busy.
Meals seem well stocked before departure from KL Sentral.
Seems like there’s a new menu for the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia. Maybe I’ll try some later (famous last words).
The existing ABC menu similar to the Ekspres Rakyat Timuran is also available.
Lots of snacks, drinks, packet mains, and loaves of bread are displayed on the counter.
There are 8 tables of 4 on board the ABC.
Seats are sprung up when not in use, allowing for each access to the aisle for the person in the window seat.
A special addition to the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia is the Chillax Coach.
The is an open space on board the train with synthetic grass and beanbags as a lounge car for all passengers to relax in.
The aisle remains in the middle for passengers to walk through the coach without taking their shoes off. If going onto the synthetic grass, you must remove your footwear.
A sign says no sleeping in the Chillax Coach. Let’s see.
There are only 5 beanbags available in the Chillax Coach, so if you want one, be there early to use it.
The Chillax Coach is basically an ASC (Hyundai-Padu Sedia) coach without seats.
A remnant from the Ekspres Koc Basikal (XKB) also indicates that the Chillax Coach is also the Surau on board the train.
The Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up departed at 11.02pm – 2 minutes delayed from schedule.
Passing by Bank Rakyat-Bangsar LRT Station.
Passing by Mid Valley Megamall.
Passing through MidValley Railway Halt on the single track due to EDTP works.
Ticket checks were carried out soon after departure, and I readied my ticket on the KTMB Mobile app for ticket checking.
Arriving at Bandar Tasik Selatan Railway Station at speed, which was just an illusion due to the long train since I’m at the front.
My front coach was out of the platform due to the long length of the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up.
The outdated station sign of Bandar Tasik Selatan Railway Station.
A similar illusion of approaching at speed was also experienced at Kajang Railway Station.
After departure from Kajang, the cleaners put up trash bags for rubbish to be thrown.
No problems with the platforms at Seremban Railway Station as well.
The lights at platform lengths out of the usual 6-car were switched off at Pulau Sebang Railway Station (Tampin Railway Station).
Other than that, platforms don’t seem to be an issue here although the locomotive is out of the platform.
The Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up makes a longer stop at Gemas Railway Station as the locomotive has to run around to the other side and the train changes direction to head north on to the East Coast Line.
I’m not sure if this is a platform length issue, but the locomotive and PGC is way out of the platform and only 1 door of the AFC can be accessed from the platform.
The Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up train length was too long for me to walk to the other end to satisfy my curiosity at 2.30am, so I just left it at that.
I walked over to the Chillax Coach, and lo and behold, passengers were using it to sleep in front of the “no sleeping” sign.
Departing from Gemas with a view of disused Malayan Tiger Train coaches.
The Tren Aral Gemas is now also disused.
After departure from Gemas, I went to sleep as it was almost 3am.
I woke up at Kuala Lipis Railway Station at about 8am as the sun was shining through the curtains.
My window is not ideal for photos out.
Since it’s the morning, I decided to head over to the ABC to get some breakfast.
The morning crowd was serious with the queue starting from the Chillax Coach. Don’t be fooled by the number of passengers in the queue as each passenger would have more than 1 order – a representative is sent on to the queue to buy food for the whole family.
Case in point – the shelf was full of food when I approached.
After 1 customer a few turns ahead of be made his purchased, this was what’s left.
As such, the queues were slow moving and many main food items were sold out.
I finally got to the front after more than 1 hour of queuing, and ordered my breakfast and lunch together as I wasn’t going to be in this queue for another round for lunch.
Remember the new menu? Nothing from the Meal Ready To Eat section and Cream Soup was available. Only instant noodles and selected canned drinks were available from this menu.
The main menu pretty much ran on the existing ABC menu with limited mains options. Only mains on the shelf were available at any point of time.
With the long queue, a table magically freed up when I was done with paying, so I had my breakfast at the ABC itself.
For breakfast, I ordered a Bihun Goreng (RM8) with Kopi Ais (RM3.50).
The Bihun Goreng comes with a fried egg which makes it a perfect breakfast meal. The taste was plain but it was as it should be.
The Bihun Goreng was freshly microwaved before my payment so it was still piping hot, although I think the dish name should be changed to Bihun Microwave instead since I don’t think these meals were gorenged on board.
With the high demand for food on board and huge passenger numbers, perhaps 2 ABCs should be attached on the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia in future at different parts of the train and more food should be brought up to prevent overcrowding and to actually fulfill orders. There were many families behind me who had to wait for the next batch of food to be ready or to order Roti Bakar only.
Taking the right in to Gua Musang Railway Station.
A longer stop was scheduled at Gua Musang Railway Station for crossing and for passengers to buy food from the station.
I decided to walk ahead to the station canteen since there was about 10 minutes to departure.
Alas, there was nothing substantial for sale. Perhaps the previous Ekspres Rakyat Timuran 26up passengers bought them all and the canteen wasn’t expecting another trainload of passengers to buy breakfast.
Over at the Chillax Coach, the crowd is growing with passengers having breakfast.
Passing by Gua Musang town.
Passing through the old Gua Musang Railway Station.
The old Gua Musang Railway Station is still accessible to the public.
Sidings behind the old Gua Musang Railway Station are used to stable maintenance of way vehicles.
Bertam Baru Railway Station Operational Stop
Passengers were allowed to alight at Bertam Baru Railway Station to stretch our legs.
The station sign of Bertam Baru Railway Station with the northbound token catcher.
The façade of Bertam Baru Railway Station from the platform.
I had wanted to walk all the way to the front of Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia 1028up for a picture of this curve, but it was too far out to do so safely.
Meanwhile, here are some day time pictures of Bertam Baru Railway Station.
Bertam Baru Railway Station has drawn a mark on the water level reached during the 2014-2015 Malaysia floods on 23 December 2014.
There is a preserved set of semaphore and point equipment at Bertam Baru Railway Station.
The façade of Bertam Baru Railway Station from the road is functional, with passenger access for services directly via the platform.
The Shuttle Timuran 53dn arrived at before time, with the tokens ready to be exchanged.
Shuttle Timuran 53dn operated with a double set.