RapidKL LRT

RapidKL Light Rail Transit

RapidKL Light Rail Transit or RapidKL LRT is a light rail transit operated by RapidKL, a major public transport operator in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There are two different lines:

The Network

The lines are design to serve Kuala Lumpur and it's surrounding conurbation as such Petaling Jaya, Ampang, Gombak and Kelana Jaya. Users can switch between lines at the Masjid Jamek LRT station although seamless transfer is still not available as of August 2008. The operator intends to rectify the problem though.

Rolling Stock

The rolling stock of the Kelana Jaya Line, in use since the opening of the line in 1998, consists of a fleet of 35 Mark II Bombardier Advanced Rapid Transit (ART) trains with related equipment and services supplied by the Bombardier Group. The ART trains consist of two-electric multiple units, which serve as either a driving car or trailer car depending on its direction of travel. The trains utilise linear motors and draw power from a third rail located at the side of the steel rails. The plating in between the running rails is used for accelerating and decelerating the train. The reaction plate is semi-magnetised, which pulls the train along as well as helps it to slow down.

The ART is essentially driverless, automated to travel along lines and stop at designated stations for a limited amount of time. Nevertheless, manual override control panels are provided at each end of the trains for use in an event of an emergency.

The rolling stock of the Ampang Lines consists of a fleet of 90 Adtranz standard gauge trains manufactured by Walkers Limited, an engineering and company. The trains consist of electric multiple units, which draw power from the underside of a third rail installed along a side of the line. All cars in each train may serve as both the power cars and motor cars. The trains are manned, with driver cabs occupying the tips of the trains.

The trains come in two trainset configurations. The first and most common variation is the six-car trainset, which consists of three sets of two EMUs (2+2+2) and utilises the maximum platform length of the lines' stations. Each two EMU sets at the front and rear consist of one driving car and one trailer car, while the two EMUs between are trailer cars. Each two EMU sets are not connected to other EMU sets in the train. The second variation is a four-car trainset, a more obscure configuration that consists of only two EMU sets (2+2) of one driving car and one trailer car at both ends. With only two-thirds the length and number of cars as the six-car variation. The 2+2 trainsets were once used in full in the service until the massive deployment of 2+2+2 trainsets.

Each car has 3 bogies, 2 power bogies and one articulated trailer for the centre bogie. The end cars, numbered 1101 to 1260 have driver cabs. The middle car number 2201 to 2230 have concealed driver control panel to enable the car to be moved around the depot independently.

Stations

Since the Kelana Jaya line and Ampang Line was intended to be operated by different owners during the planning and construction phase, both lines have unique and distinct station designs. Only the Kelana Jaya line has underground station while Ampang line has on ground station. All Kelana Jaya line station are elevated.

Kelana Jaya Line's stations are given in a north-south direction, consists primarily of elevated stops and a handful of underground and at-grade stations. Of a total of 24 stations, 16 are elevated, and 5 stops between Pasar Seni and Ampang Park are underground. The only at-grade station, Sri Rampai, is currently incomplete and closed since a construction project it is supposed to serve has been halted. The Sri Rampai station is the only station in the line to be out of service.

The stations, like those of the Ampang Line, are styled in several types of architectural designs. Elevated stations, in most parts, were constructed in four major styles with distinctive roof designs for specific portions of the line. The KL Sentral station, added later, features a design more consistent with the Stesen Sentral station building. Underground stations, however, tend to feature unique concourse layout and vestibules, and feature floor-to-ceiling platform screen doors to prevent platform-to-track intrusions. 13 stations (including two terminal stations and the five subway stations) utillise a single island platform, while 11 others utilize two side platforms. Stations with island platforms allow easy interchange between north-bound and south-bound trains without requiring one to walk down/up to the concourse level.

On the Ampang Line, the system includes a total of 25 stations: eleven along the Chan Sow Lin-Sentul Timur line, and seven along the Ampang-Chan Sow Lin line and the Sri Petaling-Chan Sow Lin line each. The service depot and primary train depot for the system is situated before the Ampang terminal station and the end of the Ampang-bound line. A secondary train depot is located after the Sri Petaling station.

The line between the Plaza Rakyat station to the Sentul Timur station is strictly elevated, with the line between the Bandaraya station to the Titiwangsa station running along the Gombak River. The Chan Sow Lin-Ampang line is primarily surface leveled, while the Chan Sow Lin-Plaza Rakyat line and the Sri Petaling-Chan Sow Lin line use a combination of surface leveled and elevated tracks. There are no subway lines in the system.

Criticism

The lines receive a barrage of criticism, especially when compared to Mass Rapid Transit of Singapore. Key points of criticisms are:-

The network operator, RapidKL is working the resolve these issues and improve the service by:-

The Future

Line Extension

On 29 August 2006, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak announced that the western end of the Kelana Jaya Line would be extended to the suburbs of Bandar Sunway, Subang Jaya and UEP Subang Jaya (USJ), which are located to the south-west of Kuala Lumpur. The extension will be part of a RM10 billion plan to expand Kuala Lumpur's public transport network.

The expansion plan will also see the Ampang Line extended to the suburb of Puchong and the south-west of Kuala Lumpur The plan also involved the construction of an entirely new line, tentatively called the Kota Damansara-Cheras Line, running from Kota Damansara in the western portion of the city, to Cheras which lies to the south-east of Kuala Lumpur.

New Lines

More than one million Klang Valley residents will benefit from the much awaited new Kota Damansara-Cheras rail transit line. The Government had earlier said the new line and extensions should be ready by 2012. Sources said with the average construction period taking three to four years, work would have to start by the end of this year.

The 40km route covers some of the most densely populated areas in the Klang Valley such as Damansara and Cheras as well as the fast growing area of Kota Damansara. It will also serve the heart of the Golden Triangle, the business and financial hub of Kuala Lumpur. Currently, the area is only served by KL Monorail, which is already suffering from overcrowding.

The new line, which sources said would cost between RM4bil and RM5bil and will be mostly elevated, will provide the much needed expansion to the current 56km, 48-station light rail transit network, especially in view of the rising fuel prices and the new emphasis on public transport. The line was announced in October 2006 by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak but little has been heard about it since then.

The alignment, made available to The Star, showed the new line running from Kota Damansara along Persiaran Surian to the Damansara-Puchong Expressway and then heading towards the city centre along the Sprint Expressway, through Bangsar Baru and Jalan Bangsar. It will then run parallel to the existing Kelana Jaya Line to KL Sentral, Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek before heading to the Golden Triangle along Jalan Raja Chulan. The route will then pass Pasar Rakyat in Bukit Bintang and then Jalan Tun Razak where it will join Jalan Cheras. It will continue along the road and the Cheras-Kajang Expressway to the Balakong interchange near Cheras Batu 11. Passengers will be able to switch with the existing Kelana Jaya Line at Bangsar, KL Sentral, Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek; and the Ampang Line at Masjid Jamek and Maluri. There will be around 30 stations along the line, including the interchange stations.

Sources said the route was a “desktop alignment” which would form the basis for the eventual line. The number of stations has also not been finalised. The final alignment and number of stations is unlikely to vary in any major way from the “desktop” plan. As with the other lines, the new line will be owned by Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd and operated by RapidKL.

While the Government has yet to announce when work will begin on the new line, sources pointed to the “positive statements” by Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop. Nor had announced that public transport would be getting more incentives, allocations and assistance in Budget 2009 and future budgets. Sources said the Government was also currently conducting the mid-term review of the 9th Malaysia Plan and there were concerted efforts to get the new line in.

On September 2008, the Chief Executive Officer of SPNB, the asset owner of the Ampang Line and Kelana Jaya Line said that the line may be upgraded to a Mass Rapid Transit system as the line will connect two high density areas of Kuala Lumpur. The company expects a daily ridership of 500,000 in which an MRT system is more suitable than an LRT system. However, a study will be done first before any decision is made. He added that a integrated transport platform will be build with the new line in areas of Damansara or Sungai Buloh similar to the one that is currently built in Bandar Tasik Selatan station. The CEO also said that the detailed design stage will begin in 2nd quarter 2009.

Reference

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