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‘18-year-old LRT system too old’

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KUALA LUMPUR — A disruption on the Kelana Jaya Light Rail Transit (LRT) line early yesterday, which left hundreds of commuters stranded, could possibly be due to an ageing system.

Prasarana Malaysia Berhad president and group chief executive officer Datuk Azmi Abdul Aziz said the company was investigating if the disruption due to a failure to the trains’ power supply system was because the 18-year-old system needed an upgrade.

“If our findings reveal it was caused by an ageing system, we will see whether we can expedite the upgrade for the Kelana Jaya line to prevent similar incidents from occurring,” Azmi said.

“We will submit out report on the matter to the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) by tomorrow (today).”

Investigators will be looking into all aspects including components such as power supply, signalling, and coaches to determine the precise cause of the disruption, which led to hundreds of commuters being forced to walk on the emergency metal platforms alongside the track near the Damai and Sri Rampai stations during a morning shower.

“There are hundreds to thousands of components each with different lifespans and durability. We need to find out the exact component which could cause the glitch,” a Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd spokesman said.

The spokesman said the complexity also extended to the system’s maintenance.

“The frequency of inspections, servicing, upgrading or even replacement of an individual component would depend on its usage and importance,” he said.

He said although planned preventive maintenance regimes were put in place for the individual components, unexpected disruptions occurred from time to time.

During a press conference earlier, Azmi said the disruption at 9.15am where two trains from Gombak to Putra Heights stopped nearby the Sri Rampai and Damai stations.

The disrupted power supply also affected the air conditioning and ventilation systems of the trains.

Azmi said the evacuation of several hundred commuters on board the two trains was supervised by four LRT personnel on the trains, on the emergency platforms and at the stations.

“The personnel had observed and monitored the movement of passengers and ensured safe evacuation,” he said, adding services later resumed at 11.35am.

Yesterday’s disruption was the second incident this week following a problem with the signalling and communications system on Wednesday which affected four stations, namely Ampang Park, KLCC, Kampung Baru and Dang Wangi.

Both incidents had left passengers fuming as they were forced to rely on alternative modes of transportation causing them to incur more costs.

As a gesture of apology, Azmi said Rapid Rail would offer free rides for commuters using the Kelana Jaya line throughout the day from this Tuesday to Thursday.

“We would like to offer our sincerest apologies over the two incidents. This is our way of showing appreciation to our loyal commuters,” he said.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai demanded for an explanation from Rapid Rail.

“@MyRapidKL should explain the LRT breakdown this morning. Concerned about the recent disruptions. Two breakdowns in a week is very worrying,” he tweeted.