Trams to make a comeback in Penang?


The old tram track on Penang Road

A tram expert has been spotted in Penang.

Putting two and two together, I believe the proposal to bring back trams to Penang is now being given serious thought.  Things seem to be moving.

The pros and cons of a tram system and its financial viability need to be carefully weighed and if it is found to be feasible, by all means go for it. If it is found to be unfeasible, forget it.

That said, putting in place a basic tram network for the George Town inner city area would cost only a tiny fraction of what a monorail system would cost. Of course, trams would complement the bus system, which has to be progressively improved.

Penang has the opportunity to try something really different in this region which could enhance its heritage appeal.

In connection with this, we also need a public transport master plan for the whole state, which would include the mainland and the cross-channel links (ferries and bridge).

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eddie chuah

apparently such discussion had gone dead since Sept 2008???
Please bring back the trams!!!!

Moaz Yusuf Ahmad

The Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit believes that comprehensive improvements to the rapid-transit network are absolutely necessary in order to build an effective public transport system. Penang will be an excellent place for improvements to public transport-if the government will hold proper public consultations and open up the projects to competitive tenders. To respond to Din Merican, I do hope that the government will hold a forum soon on Penang public transport. Until then, we have the Urban Public Transport forum on September 18, hosted by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute. Transit will be attending the forum and… Read more »


tram may have cost a fraction of the initially allocated budget for monorail. But the coverage, network and capacity of the tram is also a fraction to that of the monorail project. The original monorail budget also reeks of corruption and inefficiencies, many ppl are in the opinion that if the monorail project is handled the CAT way, the project cost could easily be slashed by half. If u hav a tram system in the city as proposed. Commuters would still have to drive their car to the peripheral of the city network. They have to park their car near… Read more »

Din Merican

Before deciding on the transport system,I think Guan Eng should have an open public inquiry involving transportation experts, civil bodies and people of Penang on the best and most economical option that can cater for the expanding needs of the Island’s economy and growing population. After that, appoint a group of consultants to look into the concept and design of the systen, and make appropriate recommendations. Singapore adopted this approach, holidng a series of open hearings, and is now operating one of the world’s efficient systems of mass transportation . Look at Washington DC, Paris, Melbourne, Tokyo, and other cities… Read more »

Sorry state

Justify what have you said Mr Justin Choo. I am shocked that you are talking about this. Seriously, lets see what needs to get done. Six months from now, you will eat your words. Like all the rest of the crowd who voted the racist BN

Justin Choo


You think they can come out with the tramps?

Today’s Sun reported that Pg Hill Cable car haited indefinitely.

I wrote in my blog;
Is this telling us that the Penang State Government does not have RM1.5 million to get the replacement going? Just imagine having to forgo the tourist revenue had the cable cars were in operation! Surely Lim Guan Eng has some business sense and some pride in governing Penang!

Politicians! Politicians! Politicians!


Dear Anil, I really would love to see tram up and moving in Penang to reduce its traffic congestion. If its less than 10 million ringgit. I think every fork in Penang fork out RM100 each family, in my humble oppinion we can have the tram even without relying on the goverment. Nevertheless there are some disadvantages of tram usage (listed in wikipedia), for eg 1. When operated in mixed traffic, trams are more likely to be delayed by disruptions in their lane. Buses, by contrast, can easily manoeuvre around obstacles. Opinions differ about whether deference that drivers show to… Read more »


THis is a step in the right direction. The Penang State Government solely drives this project and i believe folks like Madam Kee and the federal should stay out of it. They create more mess than progress. Allocation – tarik balik….now Madam Kee is asking for allocation. She is always trying to steal the limelight. I am all for CAT government, the Pakatan Rakyat Government. Please stay out of this Madam Kee


The wheels are moving slowly, but surely. For those who are not happy with this pace, please be reminded that Pakatan & DAP have 50 years of inertia and corruption to overcome.

Perhaps you might be interested to read Margeemar’s blog on PORR and links with Ahmad Ismail, the missing BN MP of yet another case of ‘expressing my private thoughts in a public way, so excuse me but I am too busy doing sweet FA.’

Lim Sang Seong

It would be best that the State govt give priority to conduct a comprehensive and in-depth study on the transportation system including roads, rail and air transport incorporating new air and bus terminals , cross channel links, traffic dispersal plans. The plan should also look into and preserve the architectural beauty of historic and heritage buildings.

Town and country planning should look into the needs of Penang beyond 50 years from now. The bus and taxi link to the island from the rail terminal on the mainland to be reviewed.

Murud L

It’s good to know that the idea of having trams is still under consideration. We used the trams in Istanbul and Athens and it was really convenient and allowed us to see the city close up. It wasn’t a “touristy” thing as locals were mainly the ones using the system.These cities had an integrated transport system consisting of trams, metro and buses, with an easy way of payment. We certainly won’t be the first place to have them, so can have the benefit of learning from others. Whatever the decision, it won’t please everyone. But it’s my hope that Penangnites… Read more »


Why not have newer designs that does not use overhead cables for power supply? Can’t it use normal electrical supply like the LRT instead? I would have thought tram designs would have evolved by now.

This just shows how much I know about trams ! Heh heh heh !

A true Malaysian


In a way, wifi can be made free if every household that have wifi at home willingly open up their wifi, ie without putting their wifi router in secured mode.

Feasible? Can this help?

I personally think it is workable.

Kenny Gan

Elevated concrete structures for monorail are ugly but trams will need a network of overhead cables which carry its own ugliness. An example is Melbourne which uses trams – when I see photos of the city streets, I’m always struck by the ugly overhead cables for the trams.


Buat semua rakyat Malaysia,
Mulai hari ini sehingga menjelang 16 September, sempena Hari Kemerdekaan Malaysia ke-45 marilah beramai-ramai kibarkan bendera Malaysia.

Jika sepanjang sambutan 51 tahun Malaya Merdeka yang lalu anda terlupa mengibarkan bendera, apa salahnya kita mulakan sekarang gerakan kempen kibarkan bendera menjelang Hari Kemerdekaan Malaysia ke-45 ini.

Terima kasih


on a positive note, today 12 BN (are speculated to have) jump camp to Pakatan. DSAI just need another 18. hehe…


Of course what will a tram expert recommend? His own product. To be CAT, we really need a transport expert and let him tell what he thinks for Penang. Guys, how do tram runs? They need electrical power and they are drawn from overhead lines. Then we can say sayonara to Chingay and Thaipusum and this means end of Penang festivals as the overhead power obstruct the processions. Also steel tracks are slippery when wet. Melbourne and many European cities do not have many motorcyclists as malaysians. They do not have the problems of falling and even imagine run over… Read more »


There has certainly been a big case made on the side of trams in Penang. Plenty of pus points vs some minus points. I trust the new state govt. I think they will fairly evaluate the tram option, and should it be the best choice, I think they will try their best to get the job done properly and for a decent price. If one day we see the trams in Penang, that will certianly be a very unique feature. Not only giving Penangites a lovely and greener way to get around, but also perhaps drawing tourists (like me!) and… Read more »


if this is real, then it really showed something about the current Government.

i would have bet the previous state gov would not even give an ear to listen to this proposal but the current state gov has taken it into consideration and this speaks a lot for the current gov.

whether it goes through or not, it has shown the current state gov is a far better one than the previous!


if Penang is still governed by UMNO …, they would not even consider it.


Dear Anil, I am writing this, not about the Tram issue, but about wifi. Looks like Penang is going forward on getting a citywide wifi coverage, and I am jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve submitted my own wifi proposal to the Penang government. Still crossing my fingers, I’m posting this very fundamental question to you, and all your Penangite readers: “What do you really expect to benefit by the citywide wifi coverage in Penang?” I welcome all serious inputs, but please, don’t gimme the “I want it to be free !” type of freeloader response. I’m not into this to… Read more »


The slow moving tram that occupies fixed road space in a congested place like Georgetown will add to the misery of other road users. If we can’t even get buses to run reliably on time, how can we ensure that a tram would ? If the tram cannot run on time as a monorail or MRT would, commuters will not use it as a substitute for driving own vehicle to work or to play. I think dedicate lanes for public carrying road vehicles would provide a more viable solution to public transport woes in Georgetown. That could, however, draw the… Read more »


Trams should be brought back to penang. Brisbane is contemplating to have trams to solve its traffic woes. Why can’t we do the same in Penang?


Only a tram system will be suitable for Penang in order to protect Georgetown unique townscape and heritage. Look how the elevated concrete tracks for the LRT and monorail destroyed KL’s town centre, the negative impact it had on the streetscape and those 18th-19th century shophouses.


oh you mean ric francis from australia? yeah last week he called me to let me know he’s in town but i missed him!

last year, also in the month of august, he was in penang too, invited by the council. maybe this trip is sort of like a follow up of the earlier trip.

well i hope they will bring back the trams!