Speaking out against poor KTM train services makes me an actual paying passenger and supportive railway fan
There is a very strange rumour going around that RailTravel Station is anti-KTM Berhad or a KTM hater. To put it simply, no, RailTravel Station is not a KTM Berhad hater. In this article, I’ll explain why my articles are written as such, and perhaps why RailTravel Station may be hated among some people.
Opinions of RailTravel Station
Yes, I do put my train opinions publicly and truthfully, but by stating actual facts and services, doesn’t it simply mean that I speak the truth? Most online websites nowadays are either pro- or anti- something depending on their sponsorships or advertisers.
RailTravel Station is not influenced by train companies sponsoring my trips. In fact, I am paying for my own tickets, supporting the railway company whenever there are new products or updates to the system as soon as I can make time for it, which is typically within the first 3 days of operations, or even on the first day, or the first train itself.
Also, on my trips, I experience the real thing, so I can tell you about what the operator can’t even tell you – as long as it is information available publicly. This is how I keep my website clean and informative, because I have been there to experience it, so that I understand how things actually work.
Good experience or bad experience, at least it’s still the truth.
Why RailTravel Station Speaks the Truth
I think it’s a given. 99.9% of parents would teach their kids to not lie. I am not a liar. I cannot in good faith tell you to take a train that would be frequently 3 hours delayed and tell you to book a 15-minute connection or to say that “Never mind, the train company is good, sabar je.”, or to say that “6 hours layover at Gemas is short and efficient”.
That would make me a liar.
And I’m sure you don’t like reading fake news or advertisements that tell you that you can get so much value out of your purchase, but in actual fact, it’s not as advertised.
Furthermore, with so much fake news spreading like wildfire these days, I don’t mind not being the most popular website if I can keep everything current and truthful. I come from a place where fake news is an enemy. My Prime Minister said that if I spread fake news, “POFMA will catch (me)”.
Unfulfilled Promises and Difficult Journeys
With every new project that KTM takes up, there’s some kind of new disruption to passenger services. I now invite you to think back about what was promised when purchasing the 92 Class SCS. Was there a magic frequency number for KTM Komuter?
Yes, 7.5 minutes.
With the mix of 3-car and 6-car sets, that didn’t happen. Perhaps we’d wait till all 38 sets arrive.
When all 38 sets have arrived, did that happen? Or were there around ~20 sets in the depots or station sidings during peak hours serving the rakyat at 15 minute frequencies?
Then, trains started breaking down or derailing or crashing.
And then, the new KVDT upgrading project started in 2016, which threw the timetables into the air and everyone on each branch is getting screwed one branch by one branch. What is promised after this upgrading project?
That’s right, 7.5 minutes frequency.
Now, how does that even happen when only tracks are upgraded and more trains are not bought? In fact, trains are now serving the KTM Komuter Northern Sector which means lesser trains for the Klang Valley. (In case you don’t understand, 7.5 minutes frequency is impossible because there’s simply not enough trains, who cares if the tracks are the best in the world.)
Now, can you believe whoever is in charge of the project that things will improve once the project is completed in 2026?
Another simpler example closer to home, can you please figure out a way to travel efficiently by train from KL Sentral to Woodlands CIQ as a member of public, without back-end seat reservation more than the booking period (I know some of you are capable for such)?
No? Neither can I, unless I take the painfully slow way but technically is the current way to do things.
Heck, even that example is a problem in itself because reservations is possible on blocked coaches on the back end but not for the public where coaches F, R4, T2, T2X, T4, T9, T10 and T11 are blocked out for the public even sometimes after the train’s actual departure from the origin.
People who don’t understand the situation or think they know about the situation
A bulk of people who think that I am anti-KTM are those who think KTM is still the most progressive railway in ASEAN, and a role model for neighbouring countries to follow. Yes, I agree that KTM has one of the best and most modern products in ASEAN, including the world’s second-fastest meter gauge train network and rolling stock, and soon-to-be Peninsular-length double-track electrified railway, but how about the efficient use of these resources?
I draw you back to my experience with the Polis Bantuan at Padang Besar on the use of EMUs:
“Sekarang Malaysia maju, tak pakai diesel lagi macam Siam. Sekarang semua elektrik.”
Hello, how the heck does throwing me out from my nice second class bed and seat and putting me into a Komuter all-stop train with facing seats and standees in front of my face constitute maju? Just because it’s running on electric and not diesel? My bed ticket to Butterworth costs more by the way, and now you terminate the train at Padang Besar.
I also had another experience on the train when my friend was taking photos using a film camera and a TC commented:
“Singapore pakai filem lagi ke? Sekarang Malaysia sudah pakai memory card.”
Eh hello, I could have flown instead of sitting in your train also right? Maju… A classic example of missing the point of maju.
One railway fan even asked me before, “If you are a railway fan, why don’t you take the train from KL to Singapore any more?”. So I replied back that I have to take 3 trains and there’s no more sleeping berths on the night connection – it’s a 6 hour wait at Gemas in fact. The reply that I got was “Why not you just take First Class (AFC) on the ETS and Shuttle?”. (This was about 3 years before the ETS Business Class came about.)
Uh… You yourself are a railway fan but you don’t know what products the ETS and Shuttle has? The Shuttle (Ekspres Selatan) doesn’t even have catering services on 4 out of 6 trains, let alone First Class. The said railway fan even got a shock when I told him that the Shuttle consists of only 4 ASC coaches rather than 2 AFC coaches, 1 ABC and 10 ASC.
Now let me ask you a question, if you are a railway fan. In KL, do you take the Komuter daily for a commute? Or are just willing to wait 30 minutes for the next train every 2 months just for a short joyride?
Now, do you think about the rest of the people who rely on the Komuter who are not railway fans, have no idea what this upgrading project is about on why there’s no trains, and are forced to wait 30 minutes or more for the next train every day 10 times in 1 week (twice a day)?
Oh, and how do you do your joyride? Drive to KL and park and take the train to Midvalley? Or drive to KL and watch trains pass by in KL? Oh, please.
People Who Only Know About KTM
Now, there could be company fans, but I’m not targetting them on a personal level. All I have to say is, you need to open your eyes to the outside world. KTM is not the only railway in the world.
Yes, there are ETS services which are the world’s second-fastest meter gauge trains, but there is (mostly) only 1 class of seating in a 2+2 configuration. Have you taken the night train? I have. Including the transit in Gemas. It wasn’t fun. But you will support anyway because it’s KTM and they are the best in your mind, despite you not actually having done this transit in Gemas.
Please, do yourself a favour and Google up on Thailand and Indonesia railways. They may not even have intercity EMUs but look at their standard of services, and overall speed when counting the total travel distance. After all, what good is the world’s second-fastest meter gauge train when it can only travel at caution speeds throughout the KVDT track project areas?
People Who Say That They Fully Support or Love KTM Only
As mentioned, despite posting the truth, you may not like it because it’s not pleasant truth that you want to hear. A new service which is useless? I’ll say it, but you won’t like it, and scold me to go back to my country. A new product that is excellent? I’ll say it, and you will seem to support KTM that they are the best in the world. No problem, keep that support, I’m not against you in any way in that matter.
But when there are new products like the ETS Business Class, a major timetable change, or like the 10 YDMs who went to Cambodia and all of you are like “jommmmm”, “bila pergi” and “nakkkkkk”, on the first few days that KTM needs your support or what YDMs are finally in Cambodia, WHERE ARE YOU? Don’t hide behind a computer and support KTM, come out and support them. KTM needs your ridership numbers and ticket sales to profit.
Which brings me to my next point.
People Who Want Everything for FREE
The only train service which I have seen railway fans coming out in droves is for the SkyPark Link during the free service. Sure, I don’t have a problem with that. It’s everyone’s right to take a free train.
But where are you after the free trials? Do you still joyride on it let’s say once a month?
KTM needs you to support it, be it if it’s only between KL Sentral and Subang Jaya, since you proclaim that you love KTM so much. Even on other train services, some only board the train when KTM invites you to go on for a special occasion, for free. How about the other months and years without special events? Where are you? Why are you not supporting KTM’s services? Is it because you have to pay RM36 to Ipoh like me and the rest of us?
KTM is nice enough to sponsor your trip. Be nice and contribute to KTM’s target profit when you have the time. Carrying you for free is bleeding KTM.
Stop driving from city to city, and take the train instead. Why take photos when you can take the train too. You can go green at the same time by using public transport, and potentially get your destination faster, assuming you are on the ETS line.
If you claim that you love KTM, please support KTM in good times and bad, in sickness and in health
Do you notice why I can have such a collection of so many bad reviews of KTM? It’s simply because I took the train.
I took the train to experience as such, and I wrote it down based on experience. Why do you hate me for saying that the loco broke down? Why do you hate me when my train is delayed? What have I done to you when my train is delayed?
I should be the one getting angry as my Shuttle Tebrau ticket just got burned or my night’s sleep just got disrupted because I’m shifted around the platform at 3am in the morning. But did I screw the staff during my disruption? Or take it in my stride? Heck, for those staff who are my friends, I even help out sometimes during such disruptions, as a member of the public.
If anything, I should be the one angry for a 3-hour delay or a locomotive breakdown. But yet, on my delays, I’m the one saying sabar, giving chances to KTM every time.
Conclusion – Losing Support
I’m already prepared if those of you who know me will hate me with this article, or perhaps one of these unknowing to me touched a raw nerve with you and now you hate me for targetting you, though it is not my intention. If I have offended you in any way, please accept my apologies. I apologise for the upset I have mistakenly caused to you with profiling in the above paragraphs. However, not for the times you are upset with me because my train got delayed and I wrote about it.
Yes, harsh, but back to the start of the article, I speak the truth, especially when reviewing train experiences.
I have a responsibility to speak the truth because this is a public website for the good of the public when using trains around ASEAN, and I have to take caution that I write the truth here simply because others can see it.
If you feel that RailTravel Station is not good for you any more because of the truth spoken about KTM, and you want to cease being my friend or to unlike and unfollow this blog, I’ll be sad and sorry to see you go, but at least I am able to keep my conscience of writing the truth for the general public.
Thank you for reading this rant, and I hope I am still able to see you for future articles.