Saturday, February 20, 2016

Singapore to Kuala Lumpur by train

A bun fight at either end, but basically a long, very cold journey and I forgot to take snacks. Orchard Road may be deserted until 10.30am, but way before sunrise the metro and local buses are heaving with workers and school children and old folk out doing the marketing. Intercity trains don't go to Singapore anymore, and I had a booked seat on the shuttle train over the causeway to the Johore Bahru Sentral Stesen. I only just made it in time. To board you go through immigration and customs clearance. Traffic on the causeway was at a standstill, only motorbikes were getting anywhere.

The Rakyat Express runs daily to KL. The Man in Seat 61 says 
 "Taking the train is the safe, comfortable & adventurous way to go" 
but there was't much adventure on my trip. Slow and boring. An skinny elderly chinese man sitting across the aisle flipped the lid on a can of Guinness at 8.30 am and sipped throughout the day from successive cans that appeared from his plastic carry bag which also contained a packet of Ritz crackers, but he only managed to nibble on 2 or 3 of those. He talked non-stop with fluid and expressive hand gestures and his companion seemed content to throw in an encouraging phrase now and again in accompaniment. I could tell she was a lady friend rather than a wife because the encouraging tone didn't wear thin all day, and I wondered if they were off for a dirty weekend in KL, heavens what a thought.

We got into KL Sentral almost an hour late and I saw this is the paper the next day which probably explained the delay
 The Sultan has a train driver ticket and loves to get behind the wheel. Wish I'd seen the blue train.

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