KTM MySawadee Charter Train from Hat Yai to KL Sentral
The MySawadee 1005dn is a seasonal train from Hat Yai to KL Sentral, operating non-stop throughout the north-south international journey, except for Padang Besar Railway Station for Malaysia and Thailand immigration clearance and technical stops. I booked myself on MySawadee 1005dn to experience the daytime run on a KTM Intercity train on the electrified double track sector at the end of the Malaysia Day long weekend.
The MySawadee uses the train number of Express 991 in Thailand and 1005dn in Malaysia.
About 1 and a half hours before departure, the rake of Express 991 MySawadee was shunted at Hat Yai Junction Railway Station from Platform 5 to Platform 1.
The façade of Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
Heading in to Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
There are security equipment when entering Hat Yai Junction Railway Station but these were not in use. A temperature monitoring camera was placed after the body scanner.
Heading to my booked ADNS coach to leave my bags first before continuing trainspotting.
A special addition to the MySawadee is the Event Coach.
The interior of the Event Coach has 36 seats in a 2+2 configuration, with 2 bays of facing seats by the rear and the rest are airline seats facing the event area.
There are also 3-pin power sockets in the Event Coach.
The new karaoke system available on board the Event Coach.
Karaoke on board was already in full swing before departure.
ABC (Air-conditioned Buffet Coach)
An ABC (Air-conditioned Buffet Coach), also known by most passengers as canteen, is also attached on the MySawadee.
The ABC was already operational in Thailand at Hat Yai Junction.
The menu on board the ABC.
Meals in plastic boxes are cooked on board.
Most of the offerings are pre-packaged ready to eat items.
My booked lower berth at Berth 20.
The overall space available on the bottom berth.
The overall space available on the upper berth.
The western-style sitting toilet on board the ADNS.
The Asian-style squatting toilet on board the ADNS.
The rake ends with a PGC to supply hotel power to the coaches.
Cleaning staff taking great care of the CRRC coaches at Hat Yai Junction.
A contrast to new sterile stations in Malaysia on the electrified double track sectors, local food can be purchased on the platform at Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
I headed to the front to catch the locomotive coupling with the Express 991 MySawadee.
Hitachi 4515 coupling with Express 991 MySawadee.
The builder plate of Hitachi 4515.
SRT Hitachi 4515 at the helm of Express 991 MySawadee.
MySawadee train coaches are branded with the ASEAN logo, complementing the shot of the coupling between a Thai locomotive and Malaysian coaches.
Heading back to my coach to prepare for departure.
The Express 991 MySawadee departed sharp on time at 11.30.00am on the second.
Staff on the platform bid farewell to the Express 991 MySawadee and her passengers.
This on-time departure was soon to be disrupted.
There were 2 latecomers who arrived right at Express 991 MySawadee departure time. I had expected SRT to continue the train’s departure.
But international friendship is key and SRT stopped the Express 991 MySawadee from departing so that the late passengers could board the right-on-time train.
The 2 late passengers boarding the Express 991 MySawadee after it had come to a complete stop.
The station master giving the clearance to depart once again after the 2 late passengers are on board. I don’t think such a premium service will be provided if you are late for an SRT train which had already departed.
Leaving the sheltered portion of the platform at Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
Local trainspotters at Hat Yai Junction Railway Station spotting the departure of Express 991 MySawadee.
Passing by the trolley sheds.
Splitting off the line towards Sungai Golok.
More local trainspotters at the exit of Hat Yai Junction Railway Station compound.
Crossing over the main Sripoovanart Road.
The Southern Thailand scenery from a Malaysian train.
Crossing the Khlong Ngae level crossing north of Khlong Ngae Railway Station.
Passing through Khlong Ngae Railway Station.
After passing Khlong Ngae Railway Station, KTM staff come around the coaches to provide information for immigration clearance at Padang Besar Railway Station.
All bags must be brought down the train for Malaysia Customs clearance, with the exception of small bags of food and drinks for the journey. The train will be shunted to the yard for maintenance during immigration clearance. Re-boarding the train will be at 3pm Malaysia time.
Passing through Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station.
Entering the signalling area of Padang Besar Railway Station while still in Thailand.
Crossing the international border from Thailand to Malaysia.
Looking back at the border.
Approaching Padang Besar Railway Station.
Entering Padang Besar Railway Station.
Hitachi 4515 decoupling from the Express 991 MySawadee.
Queueing for Thailand and Malaysia immigration at Padang Besar Railway Station.
There are 2 entrances to Thai immigration leading to 3 counters.
Hitachi 4515 running around Padang Besar Railway Station, returning back to Thailand as a light engine.
Heading through Thailand immigration at Padang Besar Railway Station.
Turn left to Malaysia immigration.
The duty-free shop in between Thailand and Malaysia immigration was closed. Malaysia immigration was fast for most passengers as most are returning Malaysians, requiring just a scan of the passport, and I single-handedly jammed up 1 of the counters thanks to my Singapore passport procedures with fingerprint scanning and an entry stamp required.
Malaysia customs followed with a bag scan. Following which, it was freedom in Malaysia.
MySawadee passengers are directed to head straight ahead.
Heading back out to the platform.
Special signs point MySawadee train passengers to a special waiting room.
The waiting room turned out to be the empty space in between Platforms 1 and 2.
The MySawadee then gets shunted into the yard for maintenance.
The MySawadee just made a simple entrance into the yard before stopping, just clear of the main line.
I headed up for a bit of exploration and to take some up-to-date pictures.
Toilets are available at Padang Besar Railway Station at 30 sen per entry.
There is a counter selling VIP van tickets to Hat Yai.
There is also a counter selling AIS SIM cards for RM30 for 7 days unlimited data, TrueMove H SIM cards at RM25 for 7 days unlimited data, and dtac SIM cards at RM25 for 7 days unlimited data.
However, for SIM cards, you should be looking for Jai who has the best deal in Padang Besar Railway Station.
Jai’s dtac SIM cards cost RM25 for 30 days unlimited data and unlimited free local calls in Thailand. Discounts may also be given for bulk purchases if you are polite and ask him nicely.
The main attraction at the Padang Besar Railway Station concourse level is the food court.
The queue was very long and I decided to get lunch from the ABC instead once I returned to the MySawadee train.
Before 3pm, the rake of MySawadee 1005dn was already shunted back to the platform.
Heading back down to get my bags and some photos.
The water ponding on the platform allowed for more angles of MySawadee 1005dn to be taken.
The lunch time crowd filled the ABC.
I was expecting a massive queue like the Ekspres Khas Keluarga Malaysia (EKKM), but there were just 5 passengers ahead of me.
The mains mainly consisted of 4 meals ready to eat in retort pouches which are heated up with hot water like combat rations.
Cooked-on-board Maggi goreng and Bihun Sup are available. The Bihun Sup is ready with dry ingredients, with soup poured over it to serve.
There are also chicken ham sandwiches on the side.
The menu on board the ABC.
Departing from Padang Besar Railway Station for shunting.
As the ABC tables were all full, I headed up to the Event Coach to have my lunch with a proper tray table.
For lunch, I got myself a Nasi Briyani (RM12), Nasi Lemak cooked on board (RM5), and a can of D24 Durian Drink (RM3). Yes, I’m equally intrigued by the D24 Durian Drink as you.
The Nasi Briyani (RM12)’s colour was consistently yellow and the texture was dry, making me feel and taste like it has been pre-cooked with an instant mix. The chicken rendang was mushy and on the bottom, it was very watery – like plain water kind of watery. Cannot recommend this dish.
The cooked-on-board Nasi Lemak (RM5) was not good either. The rice tasted like the rice given by KFC or CFC in Indonesia – soft and plain. It’s fine as white rice but this is Nasi Lemak. There was no coconut taste to it. The sambal provided was also very little and I had finished the sambal halfway through the ball of rice.
The D24 Durian Drink (RM3) surprisingly had no smell when opening the can, and it tasted sweet, similar to those durian toppings you get on ice desserts. Perhaps the best part of lunch was the D24 Durian Drink.
Reversing back in to Padang Besar Railway Station.