The LRT Kelana Jaya Line – a stalwart of the Klang Valley’s public transport network – has been operating since 1998, and is now undergoing a ‘mid-life refurbishment’. The RM800 million initiative involves maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of the 28 sets of the Bombardier 818 trains, said transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong.
He also said that the government would be receiving 19 new train sets in the fourth quarter of 2023 for the popular KJ line. Now ferrying 350k passengers a day, the line – which cuts through Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya – is expected to be busier when Phase 1 of the MRT Putrajaya Line starts operations on June 16.
During the refurbishment period, which will be for about six months, the KJ line will operate at a four-minute frequency instead of 2.5 minutes, so commuters must factor in slight delays. Wee was speaking at a press conference on steps taken by Prasarana to improve its services yesterday.
Since May 2, 2021, four incidents have occurred that caused disruption of the KJ line, and among the issues identified were emergency brakes and brake caliper damage.
“From the data obtained, this disruption is due to several factors especially the ‘tachometer’ problem which accounts for 47% of the total cases, electronic units 32%, antennas 6% and other problems, 15%. Therefore, Prasarana is replacing 140 tachometers, costing RM5 million,” Wee said, reported by Bernama.
Yesterday’s press conference came a day after the KJ line was disrupted, this time because of power supply problems at two traction power sub-stations at the Kelana Jaya and Universiti stations. Investigations are underway and the initial findings found technical errors that required further discussion with relevant contractors.
Contrary to popular belief, train problems aren’t exclusive to Malaysia, and metro systems in countries known for efficiency – such as Singapore – also suffer from breakdowns. Communication is very important, as it will greatly help commuters who are stuck and running late – the worst is not knowing what’s going on.
Prasarana will now be improving its crisis management operations to reduce the impact on passengers during train service disruption. The Rapid train and bus operator will now be placing several buses at strategic stations such as at Bangsar and Pasar Seni, which will be activated in the event of an emergency or if train service delay exceeds 15 minutes.
Prasarana will also increase the number of auxiliary police personnel at busy stations such as Masjid Jamek, Pasar Seni and KLCC during peak hours, as well as improve crowd control management by improving communication efficiency to train passengers during disruptions, the company said.
By the way, the Bombardier 818 trains scheduled for MRO are of the older variety. The KJ line is also using the newer Bombardier Innovia Metro 300 trains under the Kuala Lumpur Additional Vehicles 27 (KLAV27) project. The first of the new KLAV27 trains entered service in June 2021 and can be recognised from their digital route map displays above the doors.
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