KTM Komuter Northern Sector 2963dn: Padang Besar to Anak Bukit by Train

After getting some snacks from Arked Niaga, it was time to head back home. However, I’m doing a little something different this time, with the new-age “Ekspres Peninsular” instead. Here’s how.

I started my journey back to JB and onwards to Singapore from Padang Besar as usual with the KTM Komuter Northern Sector. However, instead of heading to a major train station like how I usually do for changing trains, I dropped off at Anak Bukit as it is the closest station to…

Alor Setar Sultan Abdul Halim Airport.

I purchased my tickets earlier immediately upon arrival at Padang Besar from the 2956up as I was afraid of queues should I come back just in time for my train later on after shopping.

The timetable and fare table of the KTM Komuter Northern Sector at Padang Besar’s ticket counter.

My ticket for the trip to Anak Bukit with an early time stamp. This costs RM5.20.

As 2963dn was going to be a “fresh” set from Padang Besar rather than a u-turned set, I wasn’t too worried about delays, especially since this was a weekend with SCSes sent up from the Klang Valley sector.

Somehow, the arrival of my previous train, 2956up, was not registered, and the station system still detects the train as not arrived yet, with the delay counter still ticking.

The stairs to the platform are the same for domestic or international trains.

After passing through the queue area for Thailand immigration (???), I popped out to the platform. Don’t worry, the immigration counters of Thailand and Malaysia are closed and there’s no way for the KTM Komuter to head into Thailand.

The afternoon hourly intervals start from 1.25pm from Padang Besar.

SCS03 was on duty for my 2963dn train, waiting to open her doors at Platform 2.

The train doors opened about 5 minutes to departure.

Boarding my self-declared “Alor Setar Airport Express” train to Anak Bukit.

The interior of the 92 Class SCS train set.

Departing from Padang Besar Railway Station.

Making a brief stop at Bukit Ketri.

Lots of passengers boarded the train at Arau.

Heading onwards down to Alor Setar.

A quick 38 minutes from Padang Besar, and I arrived at Anak Bukit station.

Disembarking from the train here to get to Alor Setar Sultan Abdul Halim Airport.

The train continued on towards Butterworth.

Exiting from the platform after the train has departed.

The station concourse of Anak Bukit Railway Station.

The facade of Anak Bukit Railway Station’s main (north) exit.

Travel Tip: If you are going to Sultan Abdul Halim Airport, it would be better to use the side (south) exit instead. Not only is it geographically closer to the airport based on the road layout, you also save RM2 off your Grab fare.

My Grab from this south exit costed just RM5, as compared with the higher RM7 fare from the main exit. The Grab journey took just 4 minutes.

The pin location as set by the Grab app would tell the driver to wait around this car park area just outside of the side gate.

From here, I got my Grab to Alor Setar Sultan Abdul Halim Airport for my new-age “Ekspres Peninsular”.

Overall, including the easy access to Grab at Anak Bukit, the KTM Komuter Northern Sector makes it a very good choice to access Alor Setar Sultan Abdul Halim Airport. However, if only projects for simple airport links could be easily approved in Malaysia, KTM could run a SkyPark Link-style service like how Indonesia has been developing her smaller airports that are close to railways. A 4-minute Grab ride would mean an easy single-track spur line, offering direct access to the actual Alor Setar Railway Station just another 5 minutes away by train, and potentially opening up the airport to so much more markets along the Northern Corridor Economic Region via the KTM Komuter Northern Sector.

But I digress. In the meantime, KTM Komuter Northern Sector + Grab is definitely the way to go from towns north of Alor Setar to Alor Setar Sultan Abdul Halim Airport.


  1. The “international stairs” in above picture is usually used for international arrival and departure to/from Thailand only. The “domestic stairs” for domestic komuter/ETS arrival and departure is located near the usually non-functioning lift, beside the toilet, at the end of the fenced path beside the restaurant. However, under certain situations, the “international stairs” may be used for domestic use instead.
    Usually, SRT trains and the komuter stop at different section along the same Platform 2. The ETS usually stops at Platform 1.
    These are the usual arrangements, but knowing that KTMB is managing the padang besar station, changes to this usual arrangements may be made without any reason and notice.

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