I ran into a visitor who had taken a ride on the ‘upgraded’ Penang Hill railway and he made the following observations:
The train appears designed for colder climates or built for a Swiss environment.
The air-conditioning system is cold. “It is like an ice cage.” It is also somewhat noisy and the windows can get fogged up.
In case the air-conditioning system fails, ventilation could be a problem. The ventilation openings in the carriage roof-top appear to be too small for the number of passengers the coach is capable of carrying.
The cables pulling the carriage up could become unstable if the frequency of trains is increased to less than 15 minutes service interval.
The track work appears unsatisfactory because of poor workmanship.
- The cable pulley inserts are unsuitable for the Penang climate.
- If a train breaks down in the tunnel, there is no room at the sides to evacuate passengers. Even if it breaks down in the open, evacuation could be difficult.
- The contacts for power to the train should be vertical not horizontal. The weight of the train is too great on them.
- The trains going up and down are not synchronised at the ‘loop’ where they pass by each other in opposite directions.