The Ekspres Rakyat Timuran is the last true remaining KTM Intercity express train which actually runs with limited stops. The other set of express trains, Ekspres Selatan between JB Sentral and Gemas/Pulau Sebang (Tampin), charges express fares but stops at all stations en route. As it’s been almost 3 years since I last took a sleeper train with KTM, I decided it’s finally time for a joyride.
Lots have changed at Tumpat, especially this. The entire godown area is now gone.
The main entrance of Tumpat Railway Station looks sliced off.
What’s left of the Tumpat Railway Station building.
The modern station sign sitting in front of the station.
The ticket counter of Tumpat Railway Station.
The timetable of Tumpat Railway Station, effective 17 June 2019.
The Tumpat Railway Station platform with an upcoming Platform 2, probably to future-proof quick departures with the Class 61 DMUs in operation hopefully soon.
The new shelter at Tumpat Railway Station Platform 2. Not sure if there will be 2 separate sheltered waiting areas or this is just the beginning and the entire platform will be sheltered.
The gone godowns.
The last platform edge of the East Coast Line.
The headshunt of the platform of Tumpat.
The last buffer stop of the East Coast Line.
The true end of the East Coast Line.
Looking back down to Gemas 527.75km away.
Some preserved wheels at Tumpat, unfortunately without context.
The station sign of Tumpat Railway Station.
The southern end of the platform.
As it started raining shortly after I arrived, that was pretty much the end of my exploration.
After arriving and the loco ran around, the empty rake of Shuttle Timur 56up gets shunted to the yard.
My Ekspres Rakyat Timuran 27dn which will take me from Tumpat to JB Sentral.
25107 “Pulau Langkawi” leads my Ekspres Rakyat Timuran 27dn today.
As it was still raining, I decided to walk through the length of the train to get to my coach. (Yes, it was raining when I took this open-air shot of the train. No, I did not have an umbrella. The sacrifices I make, sigh.)
The first coach was surprisingly formed of an Air-Conditioned First Class (AFC) coach.
Seats on the AFC are arranged in a 2+1 formation like regular express buses.
However, as the AFC Coach T5 only opens for sale a few hours departure, the coach obviously runs empty since no one would know of its existence in the online system, let alone buy a ticket on it.
Following behind the AFC, are 4 Air-Conditioned Second Class ASC (Hyundai-Padu Sedia) coaches in 2+2 formation.
The ASC (Hyundai-Padu Sedia) coaches are a common sight on my KTM trips as they are found on all trains on the Southern Sector.
Next, the Air-Conditioned Buffet Coach (ABC) which was recently refurbished by Padu Sedia too with a new striking yellow exterior livery. The refurbished ABCs have fold-down seats similar to the INKA ABCs which have unfortunately been out of service for an unknown period of time, and probably till further notice too.
The Buffet Coach staff setting up the snacks and drinks on the counter.
Quite a wide selection of snacks.
Finally, after the ABC, trailed 4 Air-Conditioned Day/Night Second (ADNS) coaches, of which I’ll be in Coach T8.
My standard Lower Berth 20 for southbound trips.
The berth comes with reasonable bedding of a pillow and thin blanket (which is really just the same thin bed sheet folded in half like a blanket). However, the air-conditioning on board doesn’t warrant a thick blanket anyway.
Also, note my half-dead curtain which I had to creatively repair with folds to keep it up throughout the night.
A side table is available to put your small items on. However, note that some side tables have since been removed, when they become broken or come loose.
The upper berth above me comes with a smaller window.
The upper berth is slightly slimmer than the lower berth.
A rope basket is available to keep your belongings.
As the train departed, I smelt a very strong rubber brake smell in the coach, worried that it could be mine, or worse, one of the coaches in front.
After about 5 minutes into the journey, the train stopped in the middle of the forest, probably because of some issue with the train. Was it because of the same brake smell I smelt?
Shortly, the train departed again, and stopped again after about 3 minutes.
Staff on board the train getting down to inspect what was going on.
Turns out that my suspicions were correct – brake binding, as mentioned by one of the staff walking past me. Apparently, some smoke was seen by the driver on the second coach. That’s some serious brake binding right there, if the smell could have travelled all the way to almost the last portion of the train.
After about 10 to 15 minutes of fixing the problem, the train departed again, with the issue resolved.
Making a brief stop at Wakaf Bharu 12 minutes late. Hmm, is this a sign of the delays to come?
The interior of the western style sitting toilet on the ADNS.
Making a brief stop at Pasir Mas.
Getting my ticket ready for inspection as the TC prepared to make his rounds.
Getting my ticket checked by the TC.
Making a brief stop at Tanah Merah.
After Tanah Merah, with most passengers more or less settled in, I headed to the ABC for dinner.
The menu on board the ABC, by Exclusive Pillar (M) Sdn. Bhd..
I ordered a Nasi Goreng with Telur Mata (RM5.50 + RM1.00) and an Iced Milo (RM3.00) for dinner.
At first I was pretty impressed that the Nasi Goreng with Telur Mata (RM5.50 + RM1.00) was plated, but the lack of cooking sounds from the galley plus the taste of the fried rice makes me pretty sure that this was microwaved. The fried egg though, was definitely freshly fried as evident by the oil on it. 4/10 in taste because it was just nasi simply gorenged and later microwaved, but 10/10 to the staff for the effort to put it on a plate first and providing proper cutlery along with it.
The Iced Milo (RM3.00) was sufficiently sweet and thick, and definitely freshly made too with that mamak taste.
Heading back to my berth to retire for the night, a trolley service was also making its rounds with the staff announcing “Nasi Goreng Mi Goreng! Air air air!” to everyone in the ADNS. Pretty fun for now at dinner time, but wasn’t anymore an hour later when he made his second round of hawking when everyone was going to sleep.
I woke up to a rude jerk at around Batu Anam, which felt like either an emergency brake or the rear coaches brakes weren’t working very well that my coach was thrown into the front coaches. Not sure what happened there.
By this time, I had already slept for 7 hours straight thanks to the lack of sleep the previous night on board the short overnight Starmart ride to KL. (By short, I mean too short for a good night’s sleep – not that I find the 5 hours and 30 minutes bus journey short.) Also, this shows that real sleeper trains are truly comfortable, probably easily beating the Indonesian Luxury “Sleeper Train” since the ADNS comes with a proper flat mattress, pillow and (thin) blanket, with privacy curtains on the window and by the aisle to boot.
Making a brief stop at Segamat, on the southern sector of track that I’m familiar with already.
An unfortunate good view out of the station – wonder where all the trees have gone.
The loop line of Segamat is also gone to facilitate the JB – Gemas electrified double track project works.
Heading back to the ABC for breakfast.
Seems like the LED signs are fixed with the word “CAFE” on the ABC. I think I can guess which bulbs will burn out first.
The view of the ABC from my table.
Placing my order from the counter.
I ordered 2 sets of Roti Bakar (RM2.50 each) and a Kopi (RM2.00).
The filling of kaya was generous in the Roti Bakar (RM2.50 each). I was just thinking while eating my breakfast that since they’re using a sandwich maker and slapping on some kaya before toasting, their menu could actually be massively expanded with other fillings like butter, jam, chocolate, tuna, egg, cheese (especially cheese, that’s like traditional Malaysian food now right?) and many more things that you could easily think of.
If you see an expanded sandwich menu on the ABC in future, remember that you saw my idea here first on RailTravel Station.
The Kopi (RM2.00) also tasted rather thick and sweet just as how I expected it to be and how I like it in Malaysia. Though if I could still taste the sweetness even after eating the kaya toast, that’s actually another level of sweetness right there. Oops.
Luckily I went to the ABC early enough to place my order and eat my breakfast in peace as the ABC started to get crowded towards the end of my meal, and the orders of Roti Bakars shot through the roof after one person and group after another saw my plate of the secret Roti Bakar which isn’t on the menu.
I last overheard the waiting time of Roti Bakar to be 20 minutes as I left the ABC.
I wonder if I actually accidentally improved their sales of Roti Bakar or accidentally harmed their sales of more expensive items such as Nasi Goreng. Hmm.
The half-empty display of cakes and bread as the train heads down the southern sector. Guess business was good the night before.
The Ramly Burger sales seem to be doing rather well too.
Heading back to my ADNS from the crowded ABC at breakfast time.
Making a brief stop at Labis with the loop line gone too.
As the train was quite long, my coach was stopped short of the platform.
Making a brief stop at Kluang.
The loop line and Platform 2 is still there, but everything else is taken over by the JB – Gemas EDTP.
The viaducts of Kluang seem to be progressing well, eliminating the need for railway crossings once ready.
Curving towards Kulai.
Approaching Kulai with Ekspres Selatan 40up waiting in the loop line.
24112 “Hang Nadim” heads the Ekspres Selatan 40up to Gemas with a friendly crew.
Stopping short of the platform here too. Passengers disembarking from Kulai have to make their way through the coaches first. The guard holds up the red flag as passengers disembarked, holding the train’s departure.
The Ekspres Selatan 40up to Gemas departs first.
The train also operated with the new INKA PGC.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen any more right.
The Ekspres Rakyat Timuran 27dn arrived at JB Sentral at 12.36pm – 30 minutes late. That’s not too bad, considering how Timuran delays usually are.
Pro tip: Never take the Ekspres Rakyat Timuran if you need to get somewhere on time.
The exterior of the ABC Padu Sedia.
25107 “Pulau Langkawi” decoupling from my Ekspres Rakyat Timuran 27dn and proceeding to round engine.
Heading out of the very familiar JB Sentral.
Here, I headed on for lunch before going back to Singapore by the Shuttle Tebrau.
Overall, a surprisingly pleasant ride on board the Ekspres Rakyat Timuran. Not sure if it was because I missed taking the ADNS or because I haven’t taken KTM for a long journey for so long now that services are mostly made up of seats on short-distance journeys only. The berth was good, the meals were good, the air-conditioning was also surprisingly good in Coach T8 (not in T6, T7 or T9 though, phew, lucky me). My delay of 30 minutes was also surprisingly short as I had mentally prepared for one of those typical 3-hour delays especially with 27dn.
With no highways linking Johor with the eastern states unlike the western side of Peninsular Malaysia, the Ekspres Rakyat Timuran might be the best way to travel overnight between places along the Jungle Railway if you can secure an ADNS ticket.