Keretapi Tanah Melayu heading up to Bangkok.
KUALA LUMPUR: Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) is expected to extend its rail services to Bangkok, for both passenger and cargo, in the near future.
KTMB and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) are also actively exploring the possibility of forming a joint-venture company to enable the two state railway companies to share their expertise, experience and even manpower.
KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Adnan told The Mole the intended extension of the rail services and JV collaboration with SRT would certainly be a boost for the tourism sector, apart from enabling easier movement of cargo from Thailand into Malaysia.
“So far things are looking good and our neighbours the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) are also very positive about this idea of co-operation.
“The plan to expand would possibly resulting in a formation of joint-venture company between KTMB and SRT, Aminuddin confirmed, adding that both parties were comfortable with an equal share in the JV company.
Currently KTMB railway service from Kuala Lumpur ends at Hatyai in Thailand.
Aminuddin said here have been regular meetings between KTMB and SRT to iron out operational requirements should the plan take off, pointing that they would need a total of at least 40 locomotives for both the passenger and cargo services.
“This joint venture would be mutually beneficial. It would be a win-win situation for Malaysia and Thailand in a few sectors, including tourism, transportation and facilitate greater interaction among our people,” he said.
Aminuddin declined to divulge details on the intended railway route but assured that rail services between Malaysia and Thailand would take a big leap when the plan is implemented.
On the reported loss of KTMB’s revenue due to the shifting of its station in Singapore from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands, Aminuddin said they expected a five percent drop in annual revenue.
It has been reported that the shifting of operations in the island republic, since last July, had drastically reduced KTMB’s passenger load.
Singapore bound travelers from Malaysia, particularly those from Kuala Lumpur and Penang, have now opted for the express bus services as the Woodlands station is far from the city centre.
Aminuddin said KTMB recognized the problem and would soon be providing feeder bus services from its Woodlands station to famous tourist spots in Singapore.
“We are trying to put all these together as a worthwhile package, a combination of rail and bus travel plus the popular tourists spots in Singapore," Aminuddin said.
A blog forum on Malaysian public transport, had recently highlighted the possible losses faced by KTMB due to the shif of operations in the island republic.