Last weekend, Saucer and I went back to my hometown in Kampar on the second day of Chinese New Year. Kampar, a small town situated about 160km north of KL is the place where I spent my childhood years in, and the place where my grandparents and parents still reside currently. As usual, Chinese New Year means feasting like there’s no tomorrow, every day! Here are some of the food that we had during one of the dinners:
Delicious home-cooked dinner for the Chinese New Year
All the dishes were cooked by my talented grandmother, who has the amazing skill to whip up fabulous dishes for big groups of people.
Pan fried prawns
Sour and spicy cabbage
Anyway, the point of this post is really to share with you my first experience riding the Electric Train Service (ETS) offered by KTM, or our national railway company. The ETS was launched only in August 2010, claiming to provide the fastest way of traveling from KL to Ipoh, with only 3 stops in between. My hometown, Kampar, happens to be one of the stops!
Tickets from Kampar to KL
The tickets for ETS are more than double the price of the normal train tickets. The normal train economy ticket costs only RM11 each from Kampar-KL, but the ETS costs RM26! To be honest, I had to purchase this ticket only because the normal train tickets were sold out. Well, is the price of more than double the normal train ticket justified? You’ll have to read on to find out for yourself. 🙂
Waiting at the station
It was the Sunday after Chinese New Year, and there were notices saying that all the train tickets were sold out, yes, even the expensive ETS! So I was glad to have purchased my tickets beforehand.
Saucer patiently waiting
We saw an oncoming train from the opposite direction, heading north to Ipoh. It looked like the normal train that I usually took, with a blue locomotive and a rather aged, grey body. Now compare this to the ETS.
The normal train
The ETS arrived about 3 minutes after the scheduled time, not too bad for Malaysian standards. It was apparent that the coaches were still new, with bright colours of yellow and blue donning the shiny grey body.
The arrival of the ETS
A total of 6 coaches
The thing about riding a train is that it won’t wait for passengers, unlike the bus. Once it stops at the station, it would only stop for about a minute or so, so even if you’re only 2 minutes late, you would have missed the train entirely! I like this concept as it sort of guarantees that one will reach the destination on time.
Interior of ETS
Inside the train boasts rows and rows of bright red and comfortable reclining seats. One could even still smell the smell of new cushions, while the floor was lined with linoleum. There’s a cabin space on top of the seats for us to put our luggage in, and the windows were huge and wide with adjustable blinds. Comparing this to the normal train, the difference is that the normal train’s seats are old with thinning cushion, the floors are not lined, and the windows mostly have spoiled blinds.
witch and Saucer in the ETS
Clean and new interior
As for the speed of the train, it was varying with a maximum of about 145km/h, as shown on the LCD screen. I was happy to know that the speed increase was gradual instead of sudden, and it was comfortable enough for me to read a book inside without feeling dizzy. The LCD screen in front of us was showing reruns of Tom and Jerry the whole time, which was good because it’s the type of show you could watch without audio. 🙂
Speed shown on the LCD screen
Since I was already there, I took the chance to explore the toilets too! Toilets are only located at 2 of the coaches, namely coach B and E. So if you are a frequent toilet person, I would suggest for you to purchase your tickets for these seats. 🙂 I was seated in Coach A, so I had to cross over to the neighbouring coach B.
Inside the toilet
The toilet was surprisingly new and tidy, with no unpleasant smell. This was definitely a HUGE difference from the toilet in the normal train. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to dwell into that! Anyway, the toilet in ETS was relatively spacious, with a clean toilet bowl, sufficient supply of toilet paper and a basin with an automatic tap!
Basin with automatic water tap
What I loved about the toilet was a huge window that let in the bright sunlight, as well as the gorgeous scenery outside. But most importantly, it allows to know where you are even when you’re in the toilet, so you wouldn’t have to worry about missing your stop.
Window to admire the scenery while doing your business?
Some rules to be observed on the train though:
- No smoking allowed
- No littering
- No carrying of dangerous and flammable materials
- No pets allowed
- No chewing gums
No chewing gums? That’s a new one for me. I’m not sure if it was there for all other trains/buses as well but it’s definitely the first time I noticed this.
Some rules to follow – no chewing gum!
The train took about 1 hour and 50 minutes to reach KL Sentral, the main transport hub in KL, as compared to 2 hours and 30 minutes for a normal train. Also, instead of making 7 stops in between Kampar and KL, the ETS only made 2 stops.
Train stops at several stations
Overall, the ETS is definitely a comfortable and refreshing experience, punctual and efficient, with a price! So would I do it again? I wouldn’t mind, if the normal train tickets are sold out. 😛
More information about the ticket prices, schedule and where to purchase tickets can be found here: www.ets-train.com.my