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A ride on Malaysia's oldest commuter line

Opened in 1995, three years before the LRT began operating in the Klang Valley, the KTM Komuter is Malaysia's first commuter rail service. With more than 50 stations across urban and suburban areas in the Klang Valley and the surrounding cities, it is even more extensive than newer and more sophisticated systems such as the LRT and MRT. Nevertheless, the KTM Komuter has been dogged by complaints of delays, and bad infrastructure and accessibility. We take a ride to find out for ourselves.

Photographs by Ahmad Sadiq Mohamad Sani

Commuters walk past the KTM Komuter entrance at KL Sentral, the central station for all rail services. The KTM Komuter began running in 1995, but does not appear to share the popularity of other rail systems like the LRT and MRT lines.
Commuters walk past the KTM Komuter entrance at KL Sentral, the central station for all rail services. The KTM Komuter began running in 1995, but does not appear to share the popularity of other rail systems like the LRT and MRT lines.
A single passenger is seen at the Seputeh KTM Komuter station.
A single passenger is seen at the Seputeh KTM Komuter station.
The Padang Jawa station in Shah Alam appears even more deserted, with not a single passenger in sight.
The Padang Jawa station in Shah Alam appears even more deserted, with not a single passenger in sight.
The road at the entrance to the Padang Jawa station is riddled with potholes, with cars parked along the side and traffic cones used as part of the barrier.
The road at the entrance to the Padang Jawa station is riddled with potholes, with cars parked along the side and traffic cones used as part of the barrier.
A train makes its way through the Kampung Dato Harun station, next to the NPE highway.
A train makes its way through the Kampung Dato Harun station, next to the NPE highway.
A woman takes the stairs from the train platform to the road level below. Although the station is well placed near a housing area, it is difficult to access and lacks the facilities to cater to disabled passengers.
A woman takes the stairs from the train platform to the road level below. Although the station is well placed near a housing area, it is difficult to access and lacks the facilities to cater to disabled passengers.
The Tiroi station in Labu, Negeri Sembilan, appears to face many of the same challenges, with disabled passengers forced to continue to the Kajang station.
The Tiroi station in Labu, Negeri Sembilan, appears to face many of the same challenges, with disabled passengers forced to continue to the Kajang station.
At the Seputeh station, the stairways are old, dark and covered in patches of moss and mould.
At the Seputeh station, the stairways are old, dark and covered in patches of moss and mould.
A woman in a wheelchair checks her phone as she waits for the train to reach her stop.
A woman in a wheelchair checks her phone as she waits for the train to reach her stop.
In some trains such as this one, the windows are so badly scuffed that they appear to be on the verge of shattering.
In some trains such as this one, the windows are so badly scuffed that they appear to be on the verge of shattering.
Students headed home for the weekend chat in a train compartment, one of them with his leg propped against a pole.
Students headed home for the weekend chat in a train compartment, one of them with his leg propped against a pole.
A passenger passes beneath a time table showing the KTM schedule at the Tiroi station.
A passenger passes beneath a time table showing the KTM schedule at the Tiroi station.
Inside the station, the lights above the passengers waiting for their train shine only dimly.
Inside the station, the lights above the passengers waiting for their train shine only dimly.
Office workers exit the train at their stop as they head home for the day.
Office workers exit the train at their stop as they head home for the day.
A man looks out the window as he sits in a women’s only coach meant for female passengers.
A man looks out the window as he sits in a women’s only coach meant for female passengers.
A commuter train moves along the rails after leaving the Tiroi station in Labu, Negeri Sembilan.
A commuter train moves along the rails after leaving the Tiroi station in Labu, Negeri Sembilan.
A KTM train passes through the capital city of Kuala Lumpur at nightfall.
A KTM train passes through the capital city of Kuala Lumpur at nightfall.