The Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) is hopeful the new funicular train service will begin operations by the end of April or early May, using new Swiss-made coaches.
Its director, Lee Kah Choon, said PHC was gearing up for the train’s full operations but time was needed to first complete infrastructure projects atop the hill.
“We have to make sure everything gets underway, including the hawker centre, public toilets, hotels and gardens on the hill top before we start the train service, hopefully by end of April or early May,” he told reporters here today.
On Feb 22, last year, the 87-year-old cable train service was temporarily stopped to enable upgrading works to the tune of RM73 million in costs, borne by the tourism ministry.
Lee said currently, the train system was tested on a daily basis and operating on a scheduled run for the hill residents from 6.30am to 7.30pm.
“There are more than 500 residents staying on the hill top and they have purchase the RM24 rate for monthly unlimited rides. However, we have yet to decide the ticket price for others,” he said.
Lee said PHC had formulated an Emergency Response Plan to look at all safety aspects on the new rail system whose coaches could accomodate up to 1,000 passengers an hour.
On March 19, Tourism Minister Dr Ng Yen Yen handed over the project to PHC represented by Lee. The ceremony was witnessed by Yang Dipertua Negeri, Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas.