KTM gets coaches from China 

PORT KLANG: The first set of 38 new coaches for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd's KTM Komuter service arrived here at 2am yesterday. The coaches were part of the government's sixth National Key Results Area (NKRA) initiative, which was to improve public transport.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the first unit of the six-car set would first be tested on Malaysian railway lines for safety.

"The coaches will be sent to the Batu Gajah depot in Perak for testing. We need to test it on Malaysian railway lines for about 8,000 kilometres," he said at a press conference here yesterday after inspecting the new coaches. Kong said the new coaches would be used to service KTM Komuter's Tanjung Malim-Seremban and Batu Caves-Klang routes.

"These two routes were picked because of the high demand due to the dense population in those areas." The new coaches are expected to start operating by December. He said all 38 coaches were expected to arrive by May next year.

"Once all the coaches have arrived, the waiting time for KTM Komuter trains will be reduced from 30 minutes to just 10 minutes." He was confident that with all 38 new coaches, the number of commuters would increase from the current 95,000 to 200,000 by the middle of next year.

The new coaches were produced by ZhuXhou Electric Locomotives Co. Ltd (ZELC) of China. The first set of coaches were shipped out of Shanghai on Sept 13. The government had allocated RM1.89 billion under the NKRA to buy the coaches.