|The ETS intercity makes life easy for those who have to travel to Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and Seremban regularly.|
The ETS (which stands for Electric Train Services) intercity is another indication that Malaysians love travelling by train.
Since its launch on August 12, this year more and more people are catching the train to Ipoh-Kuala Lumpur-Seremban.
That is the observation of an Ipoh-based KTM employee who declined to be named.
The Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh service is popular with professionals especially lawyers, he says.
They get on the early morning train from Kuala Lumpur and arrive in Ipoh in time for their court cases, he adds.
Some Ipoh residents who work in Kuala Lumpur are contemplating commuting between their hometown and Malaysia's capital city.
|The seats are comfortable and there is legroom in the front of the seat.|
I took the ETS from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh recently and understood instantly why my relatives and friends are passionate about it.
"Speed, comfort and convenience" are among the reasons enthusiasts offer. And I agree with them.
I boarded the train at 8.30am, fell asleep almost immediately and woke up at Tapah Road, the fourth stop before my final destination -- Ipoh.
|Ipoh Railway Station.|
From Tapah Road the train snaked its way through the track to Ipoh Railway Station and the time on my watch was 10.45am.
What can I say?
I gave an ecstatic sigh of happiness.
The journey time was two hours and 15 minutes on the transit train. The express service would be shorter by some 20 minutes.
I said goodbye to bus trips -- which are longer and do not have door-to-door convenience -- to Ipoh, my hometown.
I got off the train and in less than 30 minutes by taxi I was at my sister's home.
|Passengers get off the train at Ipoh Railway Station.|
If train journey is under-appreciated in Malaysia it is because people are fed up with old, slow trains which show no signs of retiring.
Those in a hurry, however, find the ETS intercity enticing.
The introductory rail fare of RM 30 (Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh) may put some people off but that is nothing if you hanker for "speed, comfort and convenience".
And yet a train ride can even be a vacation in itself particularly over longer distances.
That was how I felt when I got the train to Ipoh.
Okay, so I slept right through (almost) the journey but that did not lessen the excitement.
|Train stewardess Rosziyana Ruslan.|
There are plans to extend the service to Malacca, Johor Bahru and Singapore for the future.
I hope that would be sooner rather than later.
Train travel is attractive in an old-fashioned way.
Writers have written about it and Paul Theroux's Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train Through China comes to my mind.
Your experience on the ETS intercity may not be as dramatic as Theroux's adventures in China but you can still read, play cards, enjoy the greenery passing by or simply doze off.
High-tech trippers will have their iPods and laptops.
There are compelling reasons -- eco-friendliness, comfort and convenience, to name but a few -- to hop on the next train to Ipoh, Kuala lumpur or Seremban.
|Student Izzati Johari says the ETS intercity is the most suitable mode of transport for her.|