Monday, May 31, 2010

Waking Up the Grand Old Lady

As promised, these are the pictures taken during the pulling work of 56 class steam locomotive MR No. 564.36 'Temerloh' from Gemas railway station all the way up to Seremban and later to Kuala Lumpur to be displayed at the old Kuala Lumpur railway station as to celebrate KTMB's 125 years of service in Peninsular Malaysia.

The mission took more or less 16 hours to complete as the diesel locomotive that pulled the steam locomotive and other additional coaches was allowed to travel at 30km/h as to minimize any damage to the old locomotive.

Among the ten participants cum railway fans/enthusiasts from all sectors of KTMB mainline service, there were too KTMB officials and as well as two representatives from Kosmo! press.

And then there was me; the only non KTMB-related railway fan from the Northern sector, or more accurately Ipoh-Lahat-Batu Gajah mainline.

And here are my stories, depicted in images specially handpicked by me myself to tell the tale to you readers.

* * *

The Old Gemas Station Signboard

Arrived in Gemas via Express Wau from Kuala Lumpur at roughly 12.00am, many of us decided not to sleep (though in the end there were only two of us who really didn't, me included) and spent our times with trainspotting activities.

A 24-class locomotive 'Hang Nadim' resting at mainline track no. 2 while waiting for an incoming express for motive power change duty.

The incoming Senandung Malam Coach bound for Kuala Lumpur

'Hang Nadim' throttling up to leave Gemas bound for North pulling Senandung Malam consist.

A 26-class Blue Tiger locomotive pulling empty YTL cement consist resting at siding 5 in order to make way for Senandung Malam to pass.

We started early morning the next day to prepare Temerloh for its maiden departure since the past 13 years when she last ended her duty in Peninsular Express. She is the only locomotive of her class that is in working condition. Built in 1947, she is indeed a grand old lady.

564.46 'Temerloh'

The fireman seat in the locomotive control cab. A fireman assists the driver in many errands that require less of the driver's attention while driving the heavy metal vehicle.

Valves and gauges of the locomotive.

The valve plate of the locomotive. Notice the seal writing.

The motive power transmission to the main traction wheel with builder's emblem.

A morning express arriving in Gemas.

'Made in England' - FMSR stands for Federal Malay State Railway while Timken was the company that supplied valves, gears, transmissions and other mechanical parts of the locomotive.

The smoke from a PGC - Power Generation Car - at the end of the consist as its engine ignition was initiated.

Rusting plates and wheels caused unnecessary clanking and friction, so a lot of lubrication was applied to all steel in contact.

The journey started - steep banks with clear slope seen here when the train set pulled by a 29-class Dalian left Gemas bound for North.

At Batang Melaka where the train met a mighty incoming storm that could be seen in the image above.

The dark sky as seen from the passenger coach

Fallen petals celebrated our arrival at Batang Melaka. We stopped at the station to make way for an incoming express train from North.

Our train resting at mainline track no. 2.

And here comes the rain - heavy pours finally changed the way the trip was handled. More careful approach was taken to ensure full safety of the locomotive.

The express train given full clear way ahead. Green light, green flag, throttle up.

The journey continued but the steam locomotive started to produce smoke from her firetubes. The consist was forced to a halt in the middle of a jungle for checkup procedure.

A staff clearing the smoke pit of the locomotive at Tampin station

Along the way we saw this pack of water buffaloes.

And also this cute-looking abandoned house.

The driving cab of Indian locomotive YDM4

We made three stops - Batang Melaka, Tampin and at the middle of the jungle. The last halt was at Rembau station to make way for two express trains to pass.

YDM4 acted as a banker and brake-van at the rear end of the consist, seen here resting at Rembau siding.

Sun shone on Temerloh majestically while she was having her rest in Rembau.

Red light means no clear way ahead. We have to wait until the two trains pass before the light turns green again signalling clear way in the mainline, safe for journey.

The incoming 6-up train bound for North.

Finally we moved into the mainline again at 8.30pm, and reached Seremban at around 10.30pm. We finally made it - bringing the grand old lady back to Seremban and later Kuala Lumpur, and later to Batu Gajah Depot for repair and restoration work. If things are alright, she will be used again as one of the motive power in KTMB passenger liner.

Everyone was happy though exhausted from the extremely long journey, especially for us the Malaysian Railwayfans, because to us this journey not only meant a lot but also is memorable enough to be cited over and over - the story of how the last steam locomotive in Malaysia was pulled with great amount of time, courage, patient and excitement along the mainline that she once roamed in the past, reminiscing the memories and bringing her back to her glorious years as once the most modern 'O' class locomotive serving in Malaya and Malaysia a long time ago.

We finally woke up the grand old lady.

* * *

Runaway train.

I am a railway enthusiasts since I was a child. My first train trip was from the old Kuala Lumpur station to Johore Bahru when I was still in my primary school, maybe in 1993. Since then I have been roaming the tracks to trainspot - looking at the moving steel caterpillars along the metal mainline back and forth, South and North.

To date I am a registered member of KTM Railwayfan Club and one of the very few representatives of local trainspotters of the central North mainline, consisting of Ipoh-Lahat-Batu Gajah stretch. The only trainspotter in Batu Gajah, I can be seen around Batu Gajah station at times doing trainspotter's log, or in the coaches itself, travelling back and forth finding romance in the midnight express.

Join me if any of you guys are interested!


Amanda Eltiqaz said...

cantiknya gambar..slalu wish nak naik tren tp smpai sekarang tak dpt2.. =(

Mohamad Nazmi Zaidi said...

hey you should. you di mana?