Formerly known as the Malayan Railway Administration (a corporate sole established under Section 4 of the repealed Railway Ordinance 1948), it came to be known as KTMB after the government-led corporatisation in 1992. However, it remained wholly owned by the federal government. The railway system dates back to the British colonial era, when it was first built to transport tin. Fares are generally reasonable, but the low speed of the intercity trains does not usually make them competitive with other modes of transportation.
The gauge railway network in Peninsular Malaysia is controlled by KTM, consists of two main lines and several branch lines.
The West Coast line runs from Padang Besar on the Malaysia-Thailand Border in Perlis (where it connects with the State Railway of Thailand's network) to Singapore via Butterworth, Penang (for connections to Penang) and Kuala Lumpur. It is called the West Coast line because it serves the West Coast states of Peninsular Malaysia.
The East Coast line runs between Gemas in Negeri Sembilan and Tumpat in Kelantan. Gemas is the rail junction between the West Coast and East Coast lines. Like the West Coast line, it is called the East Coast line because it serves two of Peninsular Malaysia's East Coast states, namely Pahang and Kelantan. In fact, it does not run along the coast at all and only meets the South China Sea when it terminates in Tumpat. It runs through the interior, often through deep jungle, thus earning the nickname "Jungle Railway". Terengganu is the only state in Peninsular Malaysia not served by the railway network, whereas Melaka is indirectly served by Pulau Sebang Station which lies in the Malaccan side(Alor Gajah District) of 1 kilometer Tampin town.(Boarder Malacca/Negeri Sembilan)
The total length of the network is 1,699 km.
All of the lines in the KTM network are single-track, except for the section of the main line between Ipoh and Seremban, and also the branch line Sentul-Kuala Lumpur-Port Klang, which is now double tracked and electrified to 25kV AC, to accommodate electric commuter trains.
There are several other railway lines which are not owned by KTMB. This includes Petronas's Kuantan - Kerteh line which is now operated by KTMB and the Sabah State Railway line from Tenom to Tanjung Aru (near Kota Kinabalu) in Sabah. The Penang Hill Furnicular Railway also does not come under KTMB's control.
Following the consolidation of all state railway entities in Malaya, Malayan Railway inherited a fleet of mostly British-made steam locomotives, a variation of locomotives introduced to Malaya since its first railway line went into operation.
Dieselisation in Malaya began immediately after MR's formation with the launch of its first diesel engine, a Class 15 shunter, in 1948. Efforts by MR to fully convert to diesel power between the 1950s and 1970s effectively drove steam locomotives out of service - with whatever left of the fleet massively retired in 1972. KTM drew its diesel rolling stock from a multitude of locomotive companies from England, Japan, Canada, and more recently, Germany and China. The company had also ventured in the use of DMUs (railbus, railcars); none of these services survived.
Electric trains were only introduced in 1995 with the launch of the KTM Komuter commuter service. Consisting of three models of 3-car EMUs, the Komuter EMUs, as of 2007, are the only electrified trains in the KTM rolling stock.
KTM Intercity (Malay: KTM Antarabandar) is an intercity passenger railway service operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu within the regions of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. The service is intended to carry patrons between stops serving cities, town and village (depending on regions), its trains currently powered by diesel locomotives.
KTM Intercity services consist of local trains (known also as "mail trains") and express trains; lines along the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia currently support mostly express trains, while those along the East Coast include both mail train and express train services.
KTM Komuter is an electrified commuter train service first introduced in 1995, catering especially to commuters in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding suburban areas. KTMB provides 248 commuter services daily, serving 45 stations along 175 route-kilometres. The network consists of three lines: Rawang-Seremban Route, Sentul-Port Klang Route and the Rawang-Kuala Kubu Bharu shuttle route. Trains on the two lines run at 15 minutes frequency during peak hours and 20 minutes frequency during off-peak hours. The Rawang-Kuala Kubu Bharu shuttle services operates at half hour frequency. Komuter coaches are currently the most modern in the KTM fleet and are air-conditioned.
KTM Komuter is a heavily utilised mode of transportation by commuters working in Kuala Lumpur as the service is an alternative for road travel, which is occasionally hampered by congestion. Virtually all KTM Komuter stop offer "Park & Ride" parking lots for those who drive to and from the station or halt. KTM Komuter ridership is estimated to be about 34.97 million passengers in 2006.
KTM Komuter is currently the most profitable passenger service offered by KTMB, contributing RM84.63 million to group revenue in 2006, higher than KTM Intercity's profit of RM70.94 million in the same year.
The property joint ventures were progressing comparatively well under the prevailing economic climate. As regards the Sentul Raya Development, the Maple Condominium was handed over to purchasers in August 2006 while the Saffron Condominium is under construction and expected to be completed in 2007. Meanwhile, KL Sentral Development has embarked on construction of luxury condominiums, new office towers and life-style centre whilst the construction of the Marine View Hotel in Port Dickson is expected to be completed in 2007. In order to cater for demand from surrounding residential areas, KTMB's partner for the Prai Perdana Development is in the process of constructing a new retail complex and the project is expected to be completed in 2007.
Through KTMB's collaboration with Ganad Media Sdn. Bhd. the advertising revenue had increased by 9.7% to RM1.47 million compared to the previous year. Several new advertising structures have been built in Klang Valley while more on-train advertising media like panels and hand-grips were made available on top of the increased demand for 'wrap-around' advertising on the commuter trains.
Multimodal Freight Sdn. Bhd., incorporated in 1988, was licensed as a Government approved Container Haulier in 1991, and went on to obtain the Government approved Multimodal Transport Operator (MTO) status in 1999. The company operates a fleet of 225 Prime Movers and 1,300 trailer of both 20-feet and 40-feet configurations. The fleet is deployed at all major seaports and the inland ports of Ipoh and Nilai.
KTM Distribution Sdn. Bhd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of KTMB. Its core business is in the provision of express parcel distribution services to the commercial, industrial and administrative sectors and it operates within Malaysia and Singapore. Parcel distribution is carried out through its door-to-door service or from point to point through its station-to-station service. The company is also licensed by the Malaysian Communications & Multimedia Commission as a courier service provider, which enables it to carry letters and documents up to 2 kg. This service has so far been monopoly of the Postal Department. The company owns an 18,000 sq ft. freehold property in Sri Damansara, from which it earns warehouse rental income.
Formerly known as KTMB (Brickfields Yard) Sdn. Bhd. the company was incorporated in 1994 and was renamed KTMB (Car Park) Sdn. Bhd. in 1995. With over 70 employees, the company operates 17 car parks at selected train stations in Malaysia and one car park at the Singapore Station in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore through its subsidiary KTMB Parking Pte. Ltd. The subsidiary is looking to expand parking space in Seremban and Sungai Buloh stations.
The double-tracking and electrification of 179km of the main West Coast line will enable KTMB to run trains at a maximum speed of 160 km/h between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. KTMB plans to introduce a rapid intercity service between KL Sentral and Ipoh, running 16 services a day initially and ultimately 32 services a day. This project, which has been beset by problems and delays, is expected to be completed by early 2008 and it will cut down the journey time of KL-Ipoh to 2.5 hours. This project will also enable KTMB to extend its KTM Komuter service to Tanjung Malim. The infrastructure works component of the project was originally awarded to DRB-Hicom Berhad in 2000 for a value of RM2,579,920,005.00, while Mitsui of Japan was awarded the electrification and signalling component of the project worth RM1.9 billion. The contract between DRB-Hicom and the Malaysian government was signed on 2 April 2001. The original completion date for DRB-Hicom was December 2003. Four main subcontractors were appointed: Emrail Sdn Bhd for trackwork, Perspec Prime (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd for civil works, IJM Corporation Berhad for the construction of stations and UEM Construction Sdn Bhd for the construction of bridges. The project however suffered problems which caused numerous delays, resulting in the government terminating the contract with DRB-Hicom and appointing UEM Construction Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of UEM (Malaysia) Berhad, to take over the project from 1 June 2005. At that stage, DRB-Hicom was said to have completed 88% of the work. DRB-Hicom said one of the main causes of the delays was a dispute over a variation order and losses and expenses with the government. Although there were threats of litigation, the matter was submitted for arbitration and was finally settled in May 2006 with the government paying DRB-Hicom a sum of RM425 million. The company added that it was still in negotiations with the government over issues pertaining to liquidated ascertained damages and release of the performance bond. Mitsui has also submitted a claim for compensation for being unable to carry out the electrification part of the project because of the delays to civil works but the government has not settled on any payment.
On January 17 2008, the double tracking project between Rawang and Ipoh is complete, marked by an event officiated by the Transport Minister. New train sets which will service the Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur route is expected to arrive in mid 2009 and will feature five stops between the cities. Fares is expected to be in MYR 30 to 40 for the complete trip. Meanwhile, KTM is considering using refurbished EMUs for the Ipoh-Kuala Lumpur rapid train service until the actual EMUs arrive. KTM is using diesel locomotives for revenue service.
On 17 December 2003, not long after taking over from Dr Mahathir Mohamad, new Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that the Malaysian government had decided to postpone the project. The government revived the project in 2007 when on March 16, Deputy Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak announced that the Cabinet Committee on Public Transport had decided to revive the shelved Northern section double tracking project. On 21 April 2007, Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy confirmed Ircon's participation in the "revived double-tracking project" and that the company will undertake the Seremban-Gemas portion of the Seremban-Johor Baru.
On 6 June 2007, Gamuda Berhad announced to Bursa Malaysia that it had received a letter from the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister's Department that the Malaysian government had agreed to Gamuda-MMC's proposal to implement the "Northern" section of the project on a private financing initiative basis. It added that negotiations on the formal agreement would begin as soon as possible. Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy said work on the Northern section will begin by the end of 2007 and is expected to be completed by Jan 2013.
On December 14, 2007, Gamuda announced that it together with MMC had received a letter of acceptance dated 13 December 2007 wherein the Malaysian Government accepted the proposal by the Gamuda-MMC joint venture to carry out the Electrified Double Tracking Project from Ipoh to Padang Besar on a design and build basis for a lump sum price of RM12.485 billion. The works comprises the design and construction of the infrastructure and system works in respect of the project which is to be completed within 60 months from the commencement date. The project cost has escalated due to rise in oil prices and building materials. The group managing director, Datuk Lin Yun Ling, added that the company will undertake only 20 percent of the whole project while the rest of the construction will be out sourced to various companies around the country.. The project will be implemented as a construction contract with progressive payments, instead of private finance initiative envisioned earlier. The design and build contract between the joint venture company and the government of Malaysia is formally signed on July 25, 2008.
The project will consist of two sections, a 171 km stretch from Ipoh to Butterworth and another 158 km stretch from Bukit Mertajam to Padang Besar. It is expected that the Ipoh-Butterworth section will given a higher priority as it is a continuation from the Rawang stretch, and will eventually shorten the travel time between Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth to three hours. The project will also feature a 3.3 km tunnel in Perak, which will become the longest rail tunnel in South East Asia.
The government has announced on January 18, 2008 that site possession has been given to Gamuda MMC on January 8, 2008. Work on the site is expected to start immediately thereafter and completed by 2013. It is also noted that the tracks will have the design speed of 160 to 180 km/h although the operator is expect to use only 140 to 160 km/h
On July 8, 2008, The joint venture company has announced that electrification and power supply contract has been awarded to Balfour Beatty group with a contract value of GBP 160 million. Work is expected to start immediately and complete by January 2013.. On the same day, the signaling and communication package has been awarded to Ansaldo STS. The contract is expected to worth Euro 135 million.
In September 2008, it is reported that the section from Butterworth to Padang Besar may not be electrified as some studies shows that the portion will mostly used for cargo. This move will save the government a few hundred million ringgit.
On January 7, 2008, the government of Malaysia announced that the Indian company, IRCON International won the USD1 billion (MYR 3.45 billion) contract to build a double track from Seremban to Gemas. The 100km Seremban- Sungei Gadut double tracking project is scheduled to be completed by 2010 and to Gemas by 2012. . The track involves 64.85km stretch in Negeri Sembilan, 27.84km in Melaka and 1.45km in Johor. A 1.8 km tunnel and 9 bridges will be built in the process
On May 23, 2008, a joint venture between IJM and Norwest won a MYR490.12 million contract from IRCON to construct, commission and maintain infrastructure works for the electrified double-track project. The construction period is 21 months.
On May 27, 2008, a joint venture between Loh & Loh and Pasti Abadi Sdn Bhd won a MYR RM273.01 million contract to construct, commission and maintain infrastructure works. The contract include site clearance, demolition and relocation works
The 7.2 km extension to the Batu Caves branch line started at the end of 2006. The project - which will cost RM515mil - will include electrification, double-tracking and refitting the existing old track, signalling, communications, as well as construction of new stations at Sentul, Batu Kentonmen (English: Batu Cantonment), Kampung Batu (English: Batu Village), Taman Wahyu and Batu Caves. Sentul is currently the terminus for KTM Komuter's Sentul-Port Klang Line and the extension will enable the commuter train service to be extended to Batu Caves. Proposed during the 1990s, the project was initially given to DRB-Hicom Berhad and a letter of intent was issued by the Transport Ministry to the company on 13 April 2001. No letter of award was however issued and there was no movement until 2006 when site possession was given to contractor YTL Corporation Berhad on November 17, 2006. The project is expected to be completed in 30 months' time in May 2009. The Sentul station is part of the Sentul Raya masterplan development under YTL Corporation Berhad.