The Electric Train Service (ETS) and Komuter service, which was supposed to have started at the Senawang and Sg Gadut train stations in December last year, will now start in May.
Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the commissioning of the rail services was delayed due to bad weather and land acquisition problems.
“The stations are as good as ready and track testing is already under way. The engineers are confident the services will be able to start as planned in May,” he said during a visit to both stations.
The south-bound ETS and Komuter service now ends in Seremban.
Passengers travelling on board the ETS — which now provides eight return trips from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh and two from Seremban to Ipoh — can get to Ipoh from Seremban in three hours. Both the Senawang and Sg Gadut stations are located along the 98km Seremban-Gemas rail route.
The project is part of the RM3.45bil Seremban-Gemas double tracking and electrification project which is due for completion in December 2012.
Mohamad said once the stations were commissioned, it would help reduce traffic flow and congestion in Seremban.
“There are many residential areas in and around Senawang and many travel to Kuala Lumpur to work. They would not have to drive into Seremban to catch the morning train once the stations start operations,” he said.
Among the bigger residential areas in Senawang are Bandar Seremban Selatan, Taman Tuanku Ja’afar, Taman Tuanku Najihah, Seremban Jaya, Senawang Jaya, Forest Heights and Seremban Garden.
Mohamad said once completed, both the stations would be a catalyst for development in the area.
“We will be able to open up more residential areas here. It will be part of our park-and-ride concept where people can live here and work in Kuala Lumpur,” he said.
Mohamad also expressed his gratitude to the Transport Ministry for agreeing to upgrade the Senawang stop into a full-fledged station.
“It was initially planned to be a halt only. We are thankful for the upgrade as we need a proper station due to the high number of residential areas,” he said.
Mohamad said once Keretapi Tanah Melayu received its six-coach trains in December, more people would be able to travel by rail.
“At present, the trains have three coaches and travelling, particularly during peak hours, can be a little uncomfortable,” he said, adding that the state government would also ask the ministry to increase express services between Sg Gadut and Kuala Lumpur.
Express Komuter services between Seremban and Kuala Lumpur is provided now during peak hours but is often cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.
Asked if the state government would request the Transport Ministry to upgrade the Tiroi/Labu halt located after the Seremban station due to the planned development there, Mohamad said this was being considered.
“I hope this will not be a problem for them as all we need is a proper station.
“The double-tracking and electrification work has been long completed,” he said.
Mohamad said KTM also provided ample parking for those who wished to park their vehicles and board trains at these stations.
“KTM will be able to increase the number of bays as there is sufficient land around both the stations,” he said.
Indian company Ircon Inter-national Limited was awarded the project to build and upgrade the Seremban-Gemas rail stretch which runs through three states — Negri Sembilan (65km), Malacca (32km) and Johor (1.45km).
Once completed, travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Gemas would be reduced from the current three hours to two.
*Taken from The Star Online