LRT collision was rare, but not Malaysia’s first rail incident: Six other times trains crashed in last five years

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A damaged LRT coach is pictured at the Gombak tail track in Kuala Lumpur May 27, 2021. — Picture via Facebook
A damaged LRT coach is pictured at the Gombak tail track in Kuala Lumpur May 27, 2021. — Picture via Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — What would have been a usually quiet Monday night went awry when news broke that two coaches on the Kelana Jaya LRT line had collided at around 8.30pm.

The incident, which an internal investigation found to have been caused by human error, seriously injured over sixty of the 213 passengers on board, with six of them admitted to an intensive care unit.

It was the first crash for the country’s comparatively nascent light rail transit system, now just over two decades old.

Still, the incident, while rare, came just over five weeks after a Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) train carrying 70 passengers went off the rails near the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Station in Bangi, and barely three months after another cargo coach derailed in Shah Alam.

The incidents were just two of six to have occurred in the span of just five years. Here’s a refresher list:

KTM passenger coach derailed near UKM station (April 13, 2021)

A passenger coach derailed near the UKM station in an incident that fortunately harmed none of the 77 passengers it was ferrying nor the staff manning the coach.

KTMB, the operator, said in a statement the incident took place at KM421.168 around noon, which resulted in delays to train services between the Batu Caves and Sungai Gadut stations in both directions.

KTM coach derails in Shah Alam (February 27, 2021)

A cargo train laden with goods derailed near the Batu Tiga Station in Shah Alam in an incident that affected 11 of 50 coaches. No casualty was reported but the incident caused massive delays for passengers that relied on its system to commute.

KTMB chief executive officer Mohd Rani Hisham Mohd Samsudin had said the train was from Padang Besar, Perlis, and was heading towards West Port, Klang, when it derailed while passing along the track at KM20.041.

Soil erosion caused JB Sentral-bound train to derail (December 27, 2020)

A KTMB train from Gemas heading towards JB Sentral derailed after soil erosion caused damage to the track.

The incident took place between kilometer 752.75 and 753.25 (north-south) at around 7.40pm.

The train had carried 24 passengers and four staff. None were injured.

ETS brush-off with a KTM coach (September 4, 2020)

A KTM Komuter train came into contact with an Electric Train Service coach near Kuang on September 4, injuring one passenger.

KTMB, the operator of both services, said there were 122 people on board the two trains but only one sustained injuries.

A KTMB official disclosed that the Komuter train had been travelling from Tanjung Malim to Sungai Buloh while the ETS had been headed to KL Sentral from Padang Jawa.

A cargo train and KTM coach collision (October 18, 2018)

A train carrying cargo of goods collided with a KTM commuter coach at the Tanjung Malim station in the early hours of October 18, resulting in delays for the north-bound Electric Train Service (ETS) and Tanjung Malim-Kepong Komuter service.

KTMB, in a statement via its Facebook page, said the accident caused about 10 to 15 minutes delay for the north-bound ETS while there was a 20 to 30 minutes delay for the Komuter on Tanjung Malim-Kepong route.

ETS and KTM trains collide (May 7, 2016)

A KTM train and an ETS coach carrying 500 passengers between them caused a scare when the two collided near the Batang Kali commuter train station.

The 1pm accident injured three passengers although they sustained only minor injuries, according to news broadcaster Astro Awani.

The 13-coached KTM train was bound for Kuala Lumpur from Butterworth, Penang, while the ETS was headed northward to Ipoh.

The accident sparked public uproar with the transport minister at the time, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, vowing to launch a probe.