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Luxury train jumps tracks near Butterworth

By Ng Su-Ann and Choong Kwee Kim BUTTERWORTH: The Eastern & Oriental Express, carrying 49 passengers, mostly Europeans, derailed at Penanti-Tasik Glugor, about 10km from here, yesterday.

The luxury train, which left Bangkok on Sunday, was heading towards Butterworth for a three-hour stopover tour of George Town when three of the 20 coaches jumped the tracks about 2km from the Penanti station at 3.30pm.

Except for a rude shake-up, none of the tourists were injured while some even enjoyed the "misadventure'' as they were put up for the night at the Shangri-La Hotel.

The derailment caused KTM Berhad to reschedule its Ekspres Senandung Langkawi-Haadyai-Kuala Lumpur service which could not proceed to Kuala Lumpur.

The passengers, who were stranded at the Alor Star and Sungai Petani railway stations, were later taken to Kuala Lumpur by bus.

It also disrupted the Internasional Ekspres passenger train carrying about 160 passengers from Butterworth to Bangkok.

KTMB regional manager (northern) Zakaria Sulong said only scratch marks were found on one of the coaches.

"There is no serious damage to the train's interior. We expect repairs to be completed within 12 hours from the time our engineers arrived there at 7pm,'' he said.

Italian passenger Carlo Broglia, who was travelling with three companions, said they were having their afternoon siesta when the train suddenly lurched a few times.

"It was a great experience. Tonight, we can sleep in a hotel room,'' he said.

"We have nothing to complain as everything was perfectly managed,'' he said of E & O Services Pte Ltd, the firm operating the service.

-- Doris (, December 06, 2000

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