There, it didn’t take long for the RM16 million ‘toy’ monorail in Malacca to grind to a screeching halt. Penang, which is still grappling with the idea of rail transit, can learn from Malacca’s costly experiment with monorail.
Embarrassingly, a skylift had to be used to rescue 20 stranded passengers from a monorail coach, just 100 metres from the station. The launch of the monorail had been timed to mark Malacca’s recognition as a ‘developed state’.
There’s some poetic justice in there somewhere, especially when you consider the unequal heritage conservation funding allocations for the two historical cities.
So what’s going to happen to the RM13 million extension plan under phase two of the Malacca monorail?
Have a look at this Star report below, followed by tram engineer Ric Francis’ latest update:
Malacca’s monorail service comes to a stop
By ALLISON LAI
MALACCA: Barely two months after its grand launch to mark Malacca’s developed state status, the city’s RM15.9mil monorail line has ground to a halt owing to a host of problems.
Launched on Oct 20, the monorail has been idle for a month after developing problems with its wheels and software system.
The China-made monorail line, spanning 1.6km from Taman Rempah in Pengkalan Rama to Kampung Bunga Raya Pantai along the Malacca River, is part of the state’s aim to tap the potential of the river as a tourist attraction.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam had launched the system to mark the recognition of Malacca as a developed state, 10 years ahead of the national Vision 2020.
Hours after the launch, however, a coach with some 20 passengers stalled about 100m from the Hang Jebat station.
Operator Menara Taming Sari Sdn Bhd used a skylift to rescue the stranded passengers.
The project is a joint venture between the Malacca Historic City Council and state subsidiary Kumpulan Melaka Bhd and Agibs Engineering & Construction Sdn Bhd.
The Tourism Ministry has approved an additional RM13.2mil for the monorail phase two extension project under the 10th Malaysia Plan.
On Thursday, a visibly upset Mohd Ali said four engineers from China were trying to iron out the problems affecting the monorail.
“Some screws keep breaking and the rims of the wheels had to be replaced.
“We hope the engineers will be able to fix it within a week,” he told reporters after closing a refresher course for National Service trainers at Permata Resort Camp in Alor Gajah.
He said if the monorail continued to face problems, the state government would not buy additional monorails from China for the proposed extension project and would, instead, source them from Europe.
Menara Taming Sari chief executive officer Nazry Ahmad admitted the monorail had been out of service due to “several technical and mechanical problems”.
“We have been facing problems with the monorail on and off since it was launched. It is now closed to the public,” he said yesterday.
What about Penang’s own rail/tram transit plans? Australian tram engineer Ric Francis sent in this comment:
I am always available to speak at forums but just was not asked. As I have years of experience in tramways and am well known in Penang, I just sent to Chairman of Transport Forum the latest in technical information which would solve the heritage area (transport issue) as well as airport service from Georgetown. To those who do not like overhead tramway wires, this solves all that.
Buses cannot carry as many as 160-people, low-floor-transport, disabled friendly, fast LRT. Like 100 km an hour,
Vice-President Perth Electric Tramway