Malaysia has one of smallest railway networks in South East Asia, but also one of the most efficient. Malaysia is one of the few countries in the region where travel by train is faster than travel by bus, and also more expensive. Most of the train services are electric with trains reaching comparable speeds to commuter services in Europe with similar levels of comfort.
About Malaysia Trains
Malaysia has three main long distance railway lines, spanning total of around 1,830 km of track. In West Malaysia, also known as Peninsular Malaysia, there is the West Coast Line connecting Padang Besar on the border with Thailand to Johor Bharu near to Singapore, and the East Coast Line, running from Tumpat in North East Malaysia south to Gemas in Negeri Sembilan State, where passengers can connect to West Coast Line services. The other major long distance railway line is in East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. This line is called the Sabah State Railway and it runs from Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu State to the town of Tenom in the interior of the country. There are also several suburban and commuter railway and monorail lines running from Kuala Lumpur to neighbour towns and tourist attractions such as the Batu Caves. The railway network does not cover all major destinations in Malaysia, with notable exceptions including the popular tourist town of Melaka (also known as Malacca).
The West Coast Line in Peninsula Malaysia is electrified all the way from the Padang Besar to Gemas, as are all the suburban routes operating to and from Kuala Lumpur. Services on these lines are modern and efficient. The standard of service and the cost of the tickets on these electric train varies The most expensive services being the Platinum trains and the cheapest being the Kommuter services. On the East Coast line and from Gemas south to Johor Bharu, as well as on the Sabah State Railway, train carriages are hauled by slower diesel locomotives. Malaysia’s only sleeper train service, the Ekspress Rakyat Timuran, operates daily in each direction on the East Coast Train Line between Tumpat and Gemas.
Popular Train Journeys in Malaysia
Train services on the East Coast line are fast, safe and efficient and these are the most popular long distance train services in Malaysia. Other train services tend to be used by local commuters for shorter distance services and for purposes of tourism.
Amongst the most popular train journeys in Malaysia are:
- Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh: A journey of just over 3 hours connecting the city of Kuala Lumpur with the city of Ipoh, popular with tourists for its Old Town area and cave temples.
- Padang Besar to Kuala Lumpur: Padang Besar is the connection point for Thailand Railway Services. By train the journey from Padang Besar to Kuala Lumpur takes around 5 hours 30 minutes.
- Kota Bharu to Jerantut: Kota Bharu is close to Sungai Kolok in Thailand and Jerantut is the closest railway station to the main entrance to the Taman Negara National Park.
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