KTM MySawasdee 1005dn Seasonal Train from Hat Yai Junction to KL Sentral
MySawasdee is a seasonal KTM Intercity train operating between Kuala Lumpur Sentral Railway Station (KL Sentral) in Malaysia and Hat Yai Junction Railway Station in Thailand on major Malaysian long weekends and holiday periods. On the end of the Labour Day long weekend, I embarked on Special Express 991 MySawasdee 1005dn to head back from Hat Yai to Singapore, specifically to ride on this special train.
Hat Yai Junction Railway Station
The façade of Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
Heading into Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
KTM staff and volunteers are on standby along the main entrance of Hat Yai Junction Railway Station Platform 1 to direct passengers to board the Special Express 991 MySawasdee.
The KTM MySawasdee bears the train number and classification of Special Express 991 from Hat Yai Junction to Padang Besar. The ranking of Special Express 991 seems to have increased as per the passenger station announcement, as compared to the very first MySawasdee train which bore the train class as Express 991.
Crossing the tracks over to Platform 5.
Additional security staff also seems to have been added this morning to assist with the Special Express 991 MySawasdee departure.
Another KTM staff was at the end of the crossing to direct passengers to the left or right of the platform for their booked coaches. ASC (Air-conditioned Second Class) coaches are at the front on the left, while ADNS (Air-conditioned Day/Night Second) coaches are at the rear on the right.
The Chillax Coach is available for passengers to lounge in on board the MySawasdee. Seats have been removed from the Chillax Coach with artificial grass carpets replacing 2 sides of the coach for passengers to lounge in. Beanbags are provided for a more comfortable seating position near the floor. The Chillax Coach also doubles up as a Surau if needed.
KTM does not convert the ADNS berths into seats during the day, and the night configuration is fixed throughout.
At 10.11am, the locomotive on duty arrived at Platform 5 to couple with the rake of Special Express 991 MySawasdee.
Special Express 991 MySawasdee is hauled by a State Railway of Thailand (SRT) locomotive in the Thailand-to-border sector.
There was a big crowd of Thai staff sending off the Special Express 991 MySawasdee from various departments.
My Special Express 991 MySawasdee departed from Hat Yai Junction Railway Station Platform 5 on time at 10.30am.
My Special Express 991 MySawasdee departed quite slowly from Hat Yai Junction Railway Station…
… and stopped just after the platform for a few minutes.
The delayed Rapid 169 overtook my Special Express 991 MySawasdee slightly on the parallel line.
Just as I was being overtaken, my Special Express 991 MySawasdee started moving off as well. Perhaps it was a signalling issue that the should depart together.
Special Express 991 MySawasdee and Rapid 169 departing from Hat Yai Junction together.
Special Express 991 MySawasdee and Rapid 169 splitting off from the junction south of Hat Yai Junction Railway Station together.
Exiting the vicinity of Hat Yai Junction Railway Station.
Crossing over Sripoovanart Road with the line to Sungai Kolok, bidding goodbye to Rapid 169.
Heading along the straight line down south to Padang Besar.
Crossing the railway crossing at Khlong Ngae.
Passing through Khlong Ngae Railway Station.
Crossing with SRT Express 948 Hat Yai-Padang Besar Shuttle Train at Khlong Ngae Railway Station.
Approaching Padang Besar Thailand.
Crossing the railway crossing at Padang Besar Thailand.
Passing through Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station with armed soldiers guarding the station and train.
The signalling for Padang Besar Railway Station in Malaysia starts in Thailand.
There is also a short electrified sector in Thailand, acting as a headshunt for Padang Besar Railway Station in Malaysia. The safety sign is written in English, Malay, and Thai.
Passing by the sidings of Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station.
The empty rake of SRT International Express 45/46 is stabled at the siding of Padang Besar (Thai) Railway Station.
Heading through the Thailand-Malaysia international border with armed soldiers guarding the border and train.
The last second in Thailand.
Back in Malaysia past the border.
Entering Padang Besar Railway Station in Malaysia.
Approaching Padang Besar Railway Station Platform 1.
Arriving at Padang Besar Railway Station Platform 1.
Decoupling of the locomotive from Special Express 991 MySawasdee at Padang Besar Railway Station was very fast as per SRT’s usual standards, even when I immediately went to the front of the train after alighting at the platform in less than 1 minute.
The queue for immigration was very long, going around both platforms around the immigration area.
The empty rake of MySawasdee heads over to the depot for maintenance first.
Continuing the queue on Platform 2.
Finally approaching immigration after 1 hour of queueing.
The main choke point is obvious, with only 2 Thailand immigration counters opened for up to 400 passengers on board the MySawasdee.
Malaysia Immigration & Customs
Once done with Thailand immigration, Malaysia immigration follows.
The duty-free shop on the Malaysia side is still closed.
There are also 2 immigration counters opened on the Malaysia side, but there was no queue with the major choke point before Thailand immigration. Malaysia clearance was also much faster than Thailand as Malaysians go through almost instantly, and for foreigners like me, there is no immigration form (“white card”) to fumble over with.
Malaysia customs scanning followed after immigration.
Once done with Malaysia immigration and customs, the path for MySawasdee passengers continues out to Platform 2, and not up the stairs to the public area.
Signs are displayed pointing MySawasdee passengers to the waiting area for reboarding.
KTM staff are also along the route looking out for MySawasdee passengers.
MySawasdee Waiting Room
The MySawasdee was still undergoing maintenance in the depot.
Heading out of Padang Besar Railway Station.
The northern Malaysian scenery from the Chillax Coach.
There was quite a bad jam along the North-South Expressway (PLUS Highway) around Alor Setar and Kobah with holidaymakers heading back south, reminiscent of jams to Singapore. Luckily I’m on board the MySawasdee 1005dn.
Crossing the Bukit Merah Lake on the viaduct.
I wanted to get a snack from the ABC (Air-conditioned Buffet Coach), but it was very crowded.
Heading through the Bukit Berapit Tunnel, he longest rail tunnel in Malaysia, providing a straight route under Bukit Berapit from the old winding and inclined route around the mountain.
Passing by Bukit Berapit Control Centre.
Padang Rengas Railway Station (Operational Stop)
There is also a crew change at Ipoh Railway Station.
There was still quite a queue at the ABC (Air-conditioned Buffet Coach), but I braved it as it was dinner time.
I ordered a Nasi Bukhara Daging for RM12. It was not good. The taste of the rice was very flat, and the sauce was overly watery, to the point where the water and sauce ingredients started to separate.
My MySawasdee 1005dn was held longer at Ipoh Railway Station than scheduled departure time of 7.29pm, apparently to allow to ETS Platinum 9279dn to overtake at Ipoh Railway Station. ETS Platinum 9279dn is scheduled to depart from Ipoh Railway Station at 7.43pm.
Lahat Railway Station (Operational Stop)
Rawang Railway Station (Operational Stop)
Heading up the escalator to the concourse.
A side lane was opened for MySawasdee 1005dn passengers to exit without the need to scan tickets on the Automated Control Gate (ACG).
Here, I continued on my journey to Singapore by KLIA Transit from KL Sentral to Bandar Tasik Selatan for Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS).
MySawasdee 1005dn is a convenient international train service from Hat Yai, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, taking 11 hours and 35 minutes on schedule, including stopping for immigration clearance. It is a day train for the southbound journey, but it was surprisingly comfortable as I decided to spend my whole journey on board the Chillax Coach instead of my booked ASC seat, which I don’t think it will be that comfortable for 11 hours and 35 minutes with restricted legroom and an unknown neighbour. MySawasdee only runs seasonally on Malaysian long holidays, so it’s not every day that you get to try this international train service.