Flaws in ‘upgraded’ Penang Hill Railway

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.
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  1. suddenly so many railway engineer and station master appear from the dark.

    there must be reason things done in such a way.

    train build for swiss ? why the damn bloody air cond is so cold then. dont tell me it was justified by cold. LOL

    reading all the blame, i learn that LGE is a train consultant instead of CM.

    • Stray dogs can’t tell a lie. However, they can ‘point fingers’ with its paw toes.
      Woof! Woof! Woof!
      Strange things do happen at Penang Hill Railway!

  2. In Bolehland (AKA Malaysia) ,history keep repeat itself, BN cronies are making money from stupid procurement. Mahathir has lead by example procure MIG fighter which are expensive to service from USSR. Even better, grounded MIG are used for the spare parts for the remaining fleet, again, thanks to satu lagi project dari Barisan Nasional.
    When the procurement went SNAFU in the first place, normal practice doesn’t work.
    Since “penang lang” think he is asking some “viable question”, perhaps he can answer why Mahathir keep his mouth shut on the failure keeping the whole MIG fleet in the air. Well, since according to “penang lang” logic, beside “user manual” fix everything, precision machinery spare part are generic and always available (even the product went out of production).

    Perhaps according to “penang lang” understanding, as long as you able to cast a parts that looks the same, it works exactly like the same parts. Well, let’s forget about metallurgy, machinery metal fatigue, and specification. It is NOT important since user manual can save the day. :p

    • Quite right! History keeps repeating itself!
      The mono-rail in Malacca cost RM RM15.9 million which was opened to the public on 21 October 2010 but hours after opening, the monorail ground to a halt, stranding 20 passengers inside!
      As of December 2010, after a series of similar problems, the monorail is no longer operational.

    • Perhaps according to “penang lang” understanding, as long as you able to cast a parts that looks the same, it works exactly like the same parts. Well, let’s forget about metallurgy, machinery metal fatigue, and specification. It is NOT important since user manual can save the day. :p

      Never mind since there is China’s backyard industry to save the day. Just give them specs or manuals. And just Skype with them what you want, including ‘inflation rate’ topped up nicely.

      Just as China Dynasty saved Malay Archipelago from Siam, now China Backyard Incorporated can do the same for the incorrigible corrupts!

  3. The Porcelain Water Pipes Parable.
    One fine day, a ‘genuine, helpful’ pipe man from Public Served 1st Incorporated came to Mr Innocent’s house to replace some old but still running well iron water pipes buried in his garden. After some messy work in the once paradise garden, Mr. Innocent was told to take good care of Public Served 1st Incorporated water pipes and to clean up the mess left in his garden.
    Soon it sprung leaks, flooding Mr. Innocent’s garden and driveway. In the frantic search for ‘leakages’, he had to dig up his prized garden and get to the core of the ‘leaking’ problems. The leakage problems were more than Mr. Innocent could anticipate or fathom.
    The leaking pipes were made of useless but ‘expensive-looking’ china imitation porcelain and joined with ‘red flag’ wire tapes! No hardware shops kept such kind of fragile porcelain spares.
    Mr. Innocent went to Public Served 1st Incorporated to get some spares knowing the slow and easy T.A. attitude of staff at Incorporated towards public emergencies but instead encountered more red tapes. As for the china imitation porcelain water pipes? “It is expensive but also difficult and rare to get hold of,” said the staff with an air of pride (notwithstanding the impractical application or unworkability of such pipes). Not even Internet search could render any result for more information or free DIY manual or spec guide.

    Mr. innocent was left with one simple choice: get ride of those useless, fragile but ‘expensive-looking’ china imitation porcelain water pipes.
    And to learn one expensive lesson: ‘free’ upgrading from Public Served 1st Incorporated should be questioned at all costs including ‘hidden’ pipe costs with red flags! Even if it’s for one’s pipe dream!

  4. As usual……PROJECT CRONIES !!!!!!

    What do you expect except …, … and more … from BN? Is this the kind of Federal Government we want ???? Makes me sick !

    • ..endorsed by LGe who can’t differential between enemy and friend. He seem to love everything BN do, can’t help himself but to do what have left behind by zero KPI and even Samy Vellu.

  5. I want my old, reliable, weather-hardy, natural air flowed and safe-to-evacuate heritage trains back.
    RM63 millions for this new, out of place, useless in the tropics, feeblish (prone-to-dog-bashings) Gaya Raya transport toy is utter foolishness and rotten-to-the-core spending.

    My hunch was correct. It smelt blood sucking … at best.
    And this Fed ‘Fat’ project rhymed well with gravy trains of golden harvest of innocent hard working citizens of Boleh Land.

    BTW, where are the antiquated, but still workable cable pulling machines now? No documents to account for assets that may ‘walk away’?

    Strange things do happen at Penang Hill Railway besides those haunted bungalows!

      • Why care so much about $$$ if Lim Guan Eng PR government can’t even do simple things like OPEN UP MORE COUNTERS on Labor Day’s weekend?

        The Penang Hill Cable Car thing is a SERVICE INDUSTRY, with only TWO COUNTERS opened in that day while tourists lined up, no man, this is just as DUMB as the Koh Tsu Koon government.

      • Anil,

        To clear up any possible confusion, I think you really ought to reiterate here whose project this really has been – i.e. the Federal government – and what involvement, if any, the Penang state government had in it. Didn’t you write much earlier that the proposed budget was RM40 million? And now that’s almost doubled to RM73 million? Inflation my foot! Would like to see how someone like your good friend, Gerakan K, would respond to all this.


      • Yes, you are right, Rom. Originally, a figure of RM40m was mentioned. Thanks for reminding me. I will do a separate blog entry on this.

    • Question 1: Does anyone know who made the cable car?

      Question 2: Has anyone from Lim Guan Eng PR government contacted the cable car maker?

      If answer for both questions is “Yes”, then why didn’t they get the “user manual” yet?

      Why didn’t anyone order MORE spare part yet?

      And last question: Why can’t Lim Guan Eng send someone to Penang Hill to kill those dogs?

    • 2010 Upgrading Price Tag = RM63m
      2011 Upgrading Price Tag = RM73m

      At 15.873016% increase! That’s better than Base Lending Rate. And put that on an 8-figure principle, Millionaires are created in a calendar year from post-completed Satu Lagi Projek!
      More desirable than sweating, puffing and cranking cranial juices of average Ah Niu … for ever-decreasing value of Ringgit that may never catch up with sky-rocketing inflation rate.

      At such upgrading level of infrastructures, we already witnessed phenomenal inflation, not even a black cake baker can rise his famous cake that fast!

      Hold your breathe for the next totally new Cable Car Project. It may leave one hanging from cable, high and dry in the tropical sunshine of Boleh Satu Lagi Projek.

      Here’s for karaokeing the money blues away with this Inflation Song:


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