GEORGE TOWN, Dec 28 — The Penang Hill funicular train will re-open this Saturday after the service was shut down following the massive storm on November 4.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the final repair work on the tracks was fully completed on December 25, while the train was powered up on the same evening for trial runs.
“Further testing were conducted the next few days to ensure all safety standards are met before full resumption of services to the public,” he said.
He said limited train service was also arranged for business operators and stakeholders between December 27 and 29, to facilitate preparation work for the resumption of the full funicular train service this Saturday.
The worst storm to hit Penang on November 4, which flooded most parts of the state, also left 194 landslides on Penang Hill in its wake.
The landslides affected the funicular rail track and cut off most access lanes to the hill.
Clearance work were carried out at the jeep track up the hill from Botanic Gardens, the Summit Road on the hill top, the rail track, the Viaduct Road, the upper tunnel and lower tunnel roads and the bypaths.
The jeep track to the hill top is fully cleared but extensive long-term rehabilitation work is still needed to prevent further landslides.
The Summit Road and upper tunnel road have been fully cleared while the lower tunnel road is 80 per cent complete where some sections have been damaged and are inaccessible.
Lim said the recovery team faced numerous challenges in the clearance and recovery work due to the lack of accessibility by heavy machinery to the rail track so soil clearance work had to be carried out manually.
Penang Hill Corporation general manager Cheok Lay Leng said some parts of the trails in Penang Hill are still considered as red zone and are inaccessible to public.
“The heritage trail is open and safe for hikers to use now,” he said.
He said only six of the 10 available bypaths are now accessible.
“Bypaths C, F, I and J are still close to the public,” he said.
He said it will take time to clear all the bypaths and landslide spots on the hill.