Malayan Tiger Train 18up: JB Sentral and Kluang to Tanah Merah by Transshipment Train, Transshipment Bus & Express Train (Former JR West & JR Kyushu Blue Train Coaches) (30 March 2012)

Malayan Tiger Train 18up with KTM Railway Fan Club (now Malayan Railway Fan Club)

On 30 March 2012, KTM Railway Fan Club (now Malayan Railway Fan Club) embarked on a club trip on board the Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) 18up from Johor Bahru Sentral Railway Station (JB Sentral) to Tumpat Railway Station. This would be a one-way trip on the Malayan Tiger Train (MTT), followed by the early morning School Train back down.

However, a few days before the trip, a cargo train derailment threw a spanner in the works.

Transshipment Train from JB Sentral to Kulai

As there was a derailed cargo train between Layang-Layang and Renggam, all train services were disrupted in the southern section. As such, passengers on Malayan Tiger Train 18up were transferred to Kluang using a transshipment train and bus combination to board the actual train.

Not a good start to the trip.

The Transshipment Train operated from JB Sentral to Kulai on the first leg.

Transshipment Bus from Kulai to Kluang

On the key disrupted sector, the Transshipment Bus operated from Kulai to Kluang.

On these both transshipment journeys, passengers were not segregated by class, but were ushered on a first come first served basis.

Malayan Tiger Train 18up from Kluang to Tumpat

On arrival in Kluang, the Malayan Tiger Train 18up can finally be seen. And excitedly, as I got my ticket for the BDNF, the オハネ 15-2004 B-SOLO coach which I wanted to try was attached.

Former JR Kyushu/JR九州 オハネ 15-2004 (B-SOLO) operates as BDNF 1102 under KTM Intercity.

Instead of Sasebo, I’m heading to Tumpat.

YDM 6181 leads the truncated Malayan Tiger Train 18up from Kluang to Tumpat.

オハネ 15-2004 (B-SOLO) as BDNF 1102

Entering the B-SOLO Compartment Car.

The B-SOLO Compartment Car consists of 18 single compartments partitioned half to fit 2 beds stacked above each other while giving single passenger’s space in each compartment. Here’s a view of the lower B-SOLO Compartment.

Air-conditioning vents can be adjusted in each B-SOLO Compartment.

The window side of the mattress has an armrest which folds down to become a seat.

The original control panel in each B-SOLO Compartment from JR Kyushu still worked.

On the lower B-SOLO Compartment, there is a small round window to look out to the corridor. This can be covered with the curtain provided.

The small window of the lower B-SOLO Compartment looking in from the corridor.

My main attraction was the upper B-SOLO Compartment which looked more fun to be in. The stairs are tucked behind the door in between each lower B-SOLO Compartment.

The overall view of the upper B-SOLO Compartment.

The side table is folded down by default to allow passage from the stairs to the berth.

The original control panel in each B-SOLO Compartment from JR Kyushu still worked.

For storage, a recess behind the upper berth above the corridor is available to place your luggage.

There is also a Japanese power socket here to charge up your devices.

The air-conditioning in the upper B-SOLO Compartment felt better as the air-conditioning vents were closer to the berth.

Each B-SOLO Compartment has a room key to lock your compartment door from the outside. This, however, was not actively provided by KTM, which only relied on the lock from the inside.

Departing from Kluang Railway Station

The Malayan Tiger Train 18up departed from Kluang at around 1.30am. At Gemas, there was a longer stop for YDM 6181 to turn around on the turntable so that the cab can face forward.

The curved windows in the upper B-SOLO Compartment made me feel like on board the Cassiopeia (カシオペア) instead.

The curtains can be brought down, with additional metal frames to help keep the shape of the curved window.

Crossing at Kuala Lipis Railway Station

At Kuala Lipis, there was an impending arrival, so the already-delayed Malayan Tiger Train 18up gave way to the oncoming Shuttle 81dn. I took this opportunity to head down to the platform while the Malayan Tiger Train 18up went into the loop line so I could spot the external view of the train.

YDM 6181 looks dwarfed by the BDNS. This rake of Malayan Tiger Train 18up was formed of 2 BDNS, 1 BDNF, and 3 BSC. Unlike the launching MTT and the few trains after it, there was no ABC attached, which means no on-demand food and drinks sales on board.

To solve the food issue, boxes of Nasi Kerabu was pre-ordered from Kuala Lipis for our KTM Railway Fan Club group.

The external view of my BDNF, easily identified with the tessellating windows.

Places that I wish I was going to, but was not.

If only KTM had made a special Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) headboard to fit the BSC, this would be an almost perfect shot of the Malayan Tiger Train (MTT).

To make it the most perfect, an additional BDNS, along with an ABC and PGC is needed to make it the originally-planned 9-coach rake, although it’s going to be a diesel guzzler.

Nasi Kerabu in Kelantan

After departure from Kuala Lipis Railway Station, it was time to enjoy my brunch of Kelantanese Nasi Kerabu.

Crossing at Chegar Perah Railway Station

The Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) 18up makes another stop at Chegar Perah Railway Station to cross with Ekspres Senaran Timur 15dn.

YDM 6699 heads the truncated Ekspres Sinaran Timur 15dn from Tumpat to Kluang.

The Chegar Perah Railway Station station master bringing the onward token for the Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) 18up to the fireman.

Departing from Chegar Perah Railway Station.

Making a brief stop at Gua Musang Railway Station.

The classic view of limestones at Gua Musang Railway Station.

The Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) 18up skirting around the limestones between Gua Musang Railway Station and old Gua Musang Railway Station.

“PGC Kong”

Shortly before Dabong, the generator on board the BSC stopped working, knocking out all electricity on board Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) 18up.

Thankfully, doors could be opened so that’s where most passengers spent their journey at. It was insanely stuffy inside my B-SOLO Compartment.

The on-board crew and some KTM Railway Fan Club participants who were KTM staff helped to restart the generator on スハフ 14-202 as BSC 2006 (ex-JR West/JR西日本). KTM only uses 1 generator at any one time to power the entire rake.

Truncated Arrival at Tanah Merah Railway Station

As it was already 5pm, the KTM Railway Fan Club group decided to alight directly at Tanah Merah Railway Station with the massive delay of 4+ hours, and check-in directly to the booked chalet.

There would be no return Shuttle train for us to take if we had continued on to Tumpat Railway Station, and it would be a late arrival back at Tanah Merah Railway Station if we had used Senandung Wau 29dn, missing out on planned trainspotting activities around Tanah Merah.

Plus, it was still stuffy on board the Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) 18up, with the air-conditioning needing time to circulate the air around. Getting off the train on the platform felt cooler.

Heading out of Tanah Merah Railway Station.

Tanah Merah Railway Station can be easily identified from around the town, with the water tower just opposite the station.


Overall, a very memorable trip on board the Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) 18up with the various truncations, physically or by schedule, and the various hiccups along the way.

This was unfortunately my last trip on board the Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) before it was terminated unannounced later in end-2012.

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