Rail services come to a halt after train catches fire

IPOH - The locomotive of a train heading from Haadyai to Kuala Lum­pur caught fire at Kuala Kangsar, disrupting the travel plans of 442 passengers.

The incident happened at about 3.30am yesterday when the locomotive of the 12-coach train suddenly caught fire while the train was near the SMK Simpang Beluru, Enggor railway bridge.

Kuala Kangsar Deputy OCPD Deputy Supt Guan Beng Kang said the passengers were brought to the Kuala Kangsar railway station while the damaged locomotive was towed to the Sungai Siput railway station.

"The passengers later continued their journey to Kuala Lumpur when a replacement locomotive was brought in," he said.

In Rawang, services provided by KTM Komuter and intercity Electric Train Service (ETS) were disrupted for up to 15 hours after a Komuter train derailed near the Rawang KTM station.

The three-coach Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) slipped off the tracks at about 10am on Friday as it was coming from the Serendah train station.

Crashing less than 1km away from the Rawang station, the first coach ran off an inner railway track and landed on an outer one.

The derailment occurred next to the Rawang KTMB staff quarters.

A witness, who wanted only to be known as Fauzi, 24, claimed that the train derailed as it was switching tracks.

"I saw the first coach following the outer track. The other two coaches were on the inner track. Then, there was a loud bang!" he said.

He said that none of the passengers appeared to be injured and were quickly transferred to another Komuter train.

KTM Bhd officials mobilised 15 buses to ferry passengers using the Komuter and ETS services.

Komuter patrons were ferried to and from the Rawang and Serendah stations, bypassing the crash site.

ETS passengers were shuttled between the Rawang and Tanjung Malim stations, about 50km apart.

The disruption annoyed some locals who said that KTMB could have handled the situation better.

Commenting on KTMB's Facebook page, a user named John Lemon said his wife was made to wait for nearly two hours at a train station without any word from the company.

"My wife could not attend my cousin's wedding that day. If we were informed about this earlier, we could have had a plan B," he said.

Kampar Facebook user Cedric Eng Yee Kit said his sister was stranded for several hours at the Tanjung Malim station.

After the crash, KTM Komuter's Twitter handle (@ktmkomuter) described the accident as "technical difficulties" and advised users to follow instructions from KTMB staff.

KTMB president Datuk Elias Kadir was at the scene shortly after the train crashed.

KTMB personnel worked around the clock to lift the derailed train back onto its track.

A KTMB spokesman said that the derailed coach was pushed back onto the track at about 6pm and a track was reopened at 7.30pm for other trains to travel on, partially restoring the railway flow.

It was only at 1am the next day that the line was fully restored.

KTMB declined to say what might have caused the accident but said that the company was investigating the incident.