SEREMBAN: The Seremban-Port Dickson railway line – the third line to be built in the country – may be closed permanently.
This is due to low usage and high maintenance cost of the 39km line. A derailment last year has already forced the line’s closure and reopening it would require costly repair work.
A source said that for the past 30 years, the line only served two oil refineries in Port Dickson.
“Even then, the volume was negligible and was not profitable to Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd. With an irregular freight service, the cost to maintain the tracks has been exceptionally high,” the source said.
It is learnt that it would cost almost RM80mil to upgrade the stretch.
The Seremban-Port Dickson line has been closed since July 11 last year when a freight train transporting diesel from a refinery in Port Dickson to Ipoh was derailed.
In the incident, which occurred in Kampung Pulai near Rantau, the train’s 14 wagons, carrying liquefied petroleum gas and diesel, and locomotive went off the tracks.
The line was built in 1891 and was the third line to be built in Malaysia after the Taiping-Port Weld line in 1885 and the Kuala Lumpur-Klang in 1886.
The line was built primarily to transport goods to Seremban from Port Dickson, which was a thriving port in the late 19th century.
Usage of the line increased when Shell opened its refinery in Port Dickson in 1901. Esso’s refinery began operations in 1964.
Passenger train services between Seremban and Port Dickson was stopped in the mid-1970s.
The opening of the Seremban-Port Dickson Highway in 1997 also allowed companies here to transport their products faster via road.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said he was aware of the temporary closure of the line.
“We had plans to start a Seremban-Port Dickson tourist train service more than a year ago.
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