Penang Hill railway gets clean bill of health

The Penang Hill furnicular railway has been declared safe to ride following the reduced maximum passenger load and improved passenger coordination.  — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
The Penang Hill furnicular railway has been declared safe to ride following the reduced maximum passenger load and improved passenger coordination. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 11 — The Penang Hill furnicular railway is fit for service, its operator said yesterday.

Issues raised by the Occupational Safety and Health Department (DOSH) during the railway’s Certification of Fitness (CF) renewal have been addressed, the Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) said yesterday.

It  assured the public the railway had fulfilled all the safety guidelines.

“During the audit process, DOSH highlighted excessive passenger load and lack of coordination of passengers who boarded and alighted from the funicular train as some of the main concerns,” the corporation’s general manager, Dr Lawrence Khoo, said.

“PHC has taken note of that and also taken steps including setting the funicular train’s maximum working load at 7,500kg,” he told reporters at the lower station of Penang Hill.

Khoo said the train’s alarm would be triggered once the load reached 6,750kg, a 10 per cent allowance before it reached the maximum load.

“We have performed the test run and DOSH has verified that the train is working according to the regulations,” he said.

The maximum load was previously set at 9,000kg.

He said PHC placed reminders to convey the message to passengers to offer their seats according to priority, especially to the elderly or the disabled.

Asked if PHC would consider stationing personnel to handle seating, Khoo said: “We are always gathering feedback on how to improve our services and we are open to suggestions.”

It was reported last month that Penang DOSH director Anuar Embi had issued a conditional CF for the railway during  its 15-month interval inspection because several safety standards were not met.

Although the mechanical aspects of the train were found to be satisfactory, Anuar said there was no coordination of passengers in seat arrangement, including the elderly and physically challenged.

“We found that the train was taking excessive passengers during peak season,” he said.

The new CF for the train service was issued on October 3.

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