Day 10 and last day in KL as tomorrow I head North for the border and into Thailand to make my way to Bangkok. With it being my last day I was determined to make the most of it and thankfully, the weather played ball insofar that it didn’t actually rain today!
I was up early as usual but this time I headed straight out, breakfasted on roti, then made my way to the old Kuala Lumpur station to begin my trip on the electric train service to Port Klang, a trip I’ve done many times in the past. I’m not going to blog about it in detail here as I took copious notes so it’s worth doing as a separate trip report. The Klang valley rail routes are being modernised, which is causing a lot of chaos in the interim, but no pain, no gain – as they say.
I really enjoyed being able to get out and about again and see the changes in the decade since I last traversed the route (some good, some bad). On the way back I stopped at Klang itself in order to get some shots of yet another metro extension, the Bandar Utama – Klang line. I photographed some of the Northern works the other day but this was my first chance to see some of the Southern works. The station at Jalan Meru on the North bank of the Klang river is especially impressive due to its size and height.
To the right of the new metro is the 1961 double-deck bridge which is ‘preserved’ with the lower level used as a walkway/cycle path but it’s in a bit of a state.
I’d visited Klang a few times as it’s the base of SMH rail, a company maintain the ‘blue tiger’ locomotives for KTM but also build other traction for export, including monorail cars for India. What I hadn’t done is explore much of the town or even cross the river. This time I did and found a thriving Indian community with so many clothing and bangle shops it reminded me of India. That said, there were what looked like some excellent Chinese eateries too. Oh, and a humongous new park and ride multistory carpark next to the railways station that looks very recent but has 4 of its 5 floors abandoned.
Heading back to town I stopped off at Subang Jaya, the only intermediate station on the ‘Skytrain’ service from KL Sentral to Skypark Terminal. Converted from a former freight line the route opened to passenger services in 2018. It’s not been a success. I travelled on the hourly service the other day. I was one of only 4 people on the way out and the only passenger on the way back. Today there were two of us! The reason I wanted to catch it today was that the stock on the route is formed from old EMUs from 1995 and today I’d seen a vintage Class 81 on the route. The Class 81s were designed by UK company Hunslet but built by Jenbacher. They were based on the Class 323 units used in the UK and sounded exatly the same. They were withdrawn in 2012 when the new Chinese units arrived as they were in a real state due to a lack of spares, but in 2018, 5 of the 18 strong class were refurbished and returned to service. Only now they’ve been re-tractioned and the familiar 323 whine is gone. Even so, it was great to be travelling on one again.
I timed my visit well. It seems the service is going to be mothballed from February 15th due to a lack of patronage, the large subsidy required and the fact the units are required elsewhere. There are doubts it will ever return. Plus I’m told 81s are rarely used on the route, so I was lucky!
Whilst I was waiting for the service I nipped out on the nearby MRT system to kill some time and stopped off at the imaginatively named SS16 station. Built high above the suburbs it give an interesting view of suburban life in KL.
Now I’m back at home packing, ready for moving on tomorrow. I was going to nip out to Jalan Sultan for a last beer but my ‘local’ is closed today and everywhere else is packed which made me change my mind. It’s been fun here, so I don’t mind. But I’ll miss my early morning alarm call from the Muezzin at the Mosque across the road, and Roti Canai breakfasts. Still tomorrow’s another day and there’s lots more to see and do yet…
I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website – https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/
Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312