150 people stranded after Penang Hill train service breaks down

A spokesman of the Penang Fire and Rescue Department operations centre said it was alerted to the problem by the Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) at 8.26pm. ― Picture by KE Ooi
A spokesman of the Penang Fire and Rescue Department operations centre said it was alerted to the problem by the Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) at 8.26pm. ― Picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, Dec 22 — More than 150 visitors to Penang Hill were stranded when the funicular train service at the resort was disrupted for more than two hours from 8pm yesterday.

A spokesman of the Penang Fire and Rescue Department operations centre said it was alerted to the problem by the Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) at 8.26pm.

“We received a call from the PHC management that 150 people were stranded at the middle station of Penang Hill because the funicular train malfunctioned, and following that a team of officers and men undertook an operation to bring down the victims,” he said.

He said that as at 10pm the operation was continuing and some of the victims had walked down via the route of the tracks for the funicular train to the lower station.

One of the stranded visitors, Mohammad Faizal Mohd Fauzi, 37, said he, his wife and their two sons aged 10 and 8 had to walk down to the lower station using the steps along the funicular train route.

He said his family visited Penang Hill yesterday morning and was only told of the train service disruption when they wanted to come down the hill.

“We were among dozens of visitors who walked down the steps with the help of firemen. The route was a bit dark but fortunately firemen were around to help. Alhamdulillah after more than half an hour of walking we reached (the lower station),” said Mohammad Faizal, whose family arrived here yesterday for a holiday.

Other visitors especially the elderly and those with poor eyesight were brought down on jeeps and four-wheel-drive vehicles.

PHC in a statement last night said the corporation sincerely apologised for the inconvenience caused as the Penang Hill funicular service was disrupted due to a system error.

“PHC’s funicular operation team is working hard to rectify the situation. In the meantime, we are transporting visitors down the hill via jeep services. PHC is also coordinating more vehicles to transport visitors down the hill as soon as possible,” according to the statement. — Bernama

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