On Tuesday, Express Wau of Keretapi Tanah Melayu 'chooed off' from KL Sentral Station at around 8.30pm for Tumpat in Kelantan. It went south to Gemas before changing its engine (locomotive) to north.
The journey usually takes between 14 to 15 hours, depending on the weather and rail traffic. For regulars, it is normal to reach Wakaf Baru Station at 9.30am or 10.30am while travelers to Tumpat will take an extra 20-30 minutes.
However, on Wednesday, Wau Express reached Wakaf Baru at around 3.30pm, much to the disappointment of the passengers. The reason given was 'technical problem'.
Such a problem is getting more acute of late. Not once but a few times already. Complaints were lodged to KTM headquarters in Kuala Lumpur but no 'real' action was taken.
While KTM is proud to have a modern fleet of coaches and engines for its KTM Komuter service and north and south bound express, little attention was given to the East Coast sector. In some stretches between Lipis-Merapoh-Gua Musang, the train has to be at a low speed to negotiate with the instability of the track.
I like traveling on trains - in Malaysia, India, South Korea, Netherlands and other countries. It gives you total freedom and the feeling of well-secured.
KTM has undergo a period of modernisation since 1998 which saw it adding new locomotives and coaches to its fleet. The number of passengers has also multiplied ever since. And today, we are proud of its achievement.
However, I do hope KTM will enhance its service quality to the East Coast. Many tourists go to Kelantan from KL and from Thailand. An improved service will not only attract more passengers but will provide KTM with a good image.