May 28, 2011

Ipoh Railway Station - The Old Dame

Ipoh Railway station sees more activity thanks to new train service
By Chan Li Leen
Friday May 27, 2011

ONCE in danger of becoming a white elephant, the Ipoh railway station has experienced a revival recently.

It has slowly regained its popularity with the introduction of the Electric Train Service (ETS) on Aug 12 last year, travelling between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur.

Now, the station is abuzz with activity.

ETS chief operating officer Azizullah Kinayatullah said the train services ran 10 times daily including weekends.

In use: The exterior of the Ipoh Railway Station.
In use: The exterior of the Ipoh Railway Station.

“The ETS has created a huge wave among travellers. More and more people are using the train as a mode of transport,” he said.

To cater to an influx in passengers, Azizullah said the train frequency has been increased to 14 times daily and recorded an average of 1,400 to 1,500 passenger arrivals each day.

Azizullah attributed the popularity of the ETS to a number of reasons.

“It is safe, fast and reliable. The travelling time between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur is approximately 125 minutes and 137 minutes with delays.

“The trains are clean and envi­ron­mentally-friendly as well,” he said.

Popular transport: A train about to leave the station.
Popular transport: A train about to leave the station.

Built in 1917, the railway station on Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab was designed by government architect A.B. Hubback, who also designed the Kuala Lumpur railway station.

The station, along with the Majes­­tic Station Hotel within its building, was not completed until 1935.

It took a long time due to a shortage of building materials and rising costs due to World War I.

Its opening was in line with the then tin-mining boom experienced by Perak.

With a British Raj-style façade and Moorish domes and turrets, the railway station is often referred to as Ipoh’s ‘Taj Mahal’ and has been a favourite filming set for many Malaysian and foreign productions including Hollywood’s Anna and the King.

Between the late 70s and 80s, railway services were forced to take a back seat when motor vehicles started rolling out on the streets.

A decade later, the steel railway tracks were left cold.

For a long time, the grand old dame was deserted and was nothing more than a den for druggies and vagrants.

Lawyer Ranjit Singh Sandhu, who had his office within the railway station until early last year, said shady characters were a common sight there.

“It used to be a lonely and deserted place at night and these groups of people would be loitering around. I used to see them all the time whenever I finished work late,” he said.

Ironically, Ranjit had set up his office here in 2001 for its ample parking space.

“I moved out as it had become too congested now. Parking has be­­­come a major headache,” he said. -- Star Metro


From Ipoh straight to KLIA
Friday December 17, 2010

IPOH: Air travellers can now buy tickets for the express rail link (ERL) service to the KL International Airport and low-cost carrier terminal at the Ipoh railway station.

This would spare them from having to queue up at the KL Sentral commuter terminal to buy the tickets.

This follows an agreement reached here yesterday between KTM Bhd and ERL Sdn Bhd to make the Ipoh railway station a one-stop ticketing point for the ERL service for air travellers here.

Rail convenience: A KTM train at the Ipoh Railway Station Thursday where ERL tickets to KLIA are now available for purchase.
Rail convenience: A KTM train at the Ipoh Railway Station Thursday where ERL tickets to KLIA are now available for purchase.

Travellers taking the ETS will travel on the electric train service from Ipoh to KL Sentral, after which they will switch to the ERL directly to KLIA.

Those travelling to the LCCT will also take the ETS to KL Sentral but will board the ERL to the Salak Tinggi station for a connecting bus to the airport.

KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Adnan said: “It will save air travellers a lot of time and hassle, which is crucial when they are catching their flights.”

“As travelling time between Ipoh and KLIA or LCCT is now less than three hours, this mode of travel offers the fastest option for discerning air travellers,” he added.

ERL chief executive officer Noormah Mohd Noor assured travellers that there would not be a long waiting time for buses at the Salak Tinggi station.

“Our train and bus services on the KLIA Transit line are synchronised.

“The bus will be waiting for passengers at the station,” she said.

The ticket to KLIA is being offered at a promotional price of RM65 per adult and RM34 per child while the service to LCCT is being offered at RM42.50 (adult) and RM25 (child) until Feb 28 next year.

The service was launched by Land Public Transport Commission chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar. -- The Star News