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IREFER to your report, “Railway development vital to economic growth, says Liow” (NST, July 20). It is timely to have a railway network to cover the west and east coast of the peninsula in view of the rising number of vehicles on our already clogged roads and highways.

When I was posted to Malacca in 1960, it had a railway station but no train service. Parcels and goods sent by rail from the north, south and east to Malacca were sent by train to Tampin railway station; from there the goods were transported by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) lorries to the Malacca railway station where they were either collected by or delivered to the addressee.

Perhaps there was a railway track from Tampin/Pulau Sebang to Malacca or maybe there was a train service before World War 2. I presume the services were terminated when the Japanese invaded Malaya and the Tampin/Malacca railway tracks were dismantled by the Japanese to be used for the construction of the Burma Death Railway project.

I wonder whether the Malacca Historical Society, the museum authority or KTMB could enlighten us on this.

Malacca is a bustling city that is listed as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation world heritage site. It has a colonial past with a rich trading history of Malay, Portuguese, Dutch, British and a short Japanese rule. It is a charming attraction that brings in millions of local and foreign tourists all-year round.

This year, Malacca expects 16 million tourist arrivals and the state government is planning to build more hotels and homestays.

Traffic congestion has become a perennial problem in major city roads in the state.

It is worse during festivals as thousands of vehicles enter the state from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. It takes about two hours to travel by car from KL to Ayer Keroh and another 30 minutes to get through the toll and another hour to reach the city centre.

There is a need to revive and resume the rail service linking Tampin to Malacca, a distance of about 30km, to ease the congestion in the city, provided the former railway tracks are still available.

It would be an added tourist attraction.

If KTMB could use old coaches and steam engine locomotives, it would be a nostalgic train ride into the past with stops in Malay villages to witness top spinning, silat, traditional Malay, Portuguese, Chinese and Indian dances, handicraft, dodol, gula Melaka and cincalok making.

Alternatively, build an elevated rail track for LRT services from Tampin to Malacca. This will make it easier for local and foreign tourists to travel by fast train to Tampin from KL and Singapore

The Seremban-Port Dickson rail service should also be revived to enable more day-trip visitors from Seremban and KL.

These options will ease the holiday and weekend traffic flow in expressways.

Nor Shahid Mohd Nor, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

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