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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stray dogs said to have caused damage to hill railway system


GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Hill funicular railway system resumed at 7pm yesterday after a 26-hour disruption caused by a mechanical failure on Tuesday.
The problem was said to have been caused by stray dogs.
The RM73mil upgraded system was brought to a halt a mere eight days after the service was re-opened to the public following a 14-month hiatus.
About 300 tourists who were on the hill were brought down in stages from 4.30pm to 7pm on Tuesday after the train's emergency power supply was activated.
However, the public were not notified of the service disruption.
Repair work being carried out following damage to the Penang Hill funicular railway system said to have been caused by stray dogs. — LIM BENG TATT / The Star
Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) general manager Datuk Lee Kah Choonsaid the service was suspended following damage to an electrical connector caused by a collision with “an object” at 4.30pm on Tuesday.
“Initial reports found the collision had been caused by stray dogs,” he said in a statement.
He said repair work had been hampered by a shortage of spare parts from the train supplier.
Penang Hill Residents' Association chairman M. Arunasalam said he received a notice from the PHC at 11pm on Tuesday that the train's service had been disrupted.
“The committee quickly made arrangements for schoolchildren and working adults to go down the hill in the morning by 4WD,” he said.
Arunasalam said the residents had used the 4WD during the 14 months when the funicular train service was suspended for upgrading works.
Speaking to reporters at the bottom station, Lee said the service was suspended at about 5pm on Tuesday after a pack of stray dogs were trapped under an electrical connector, resulting in mechanical failure.
“The power connector was broken into pieces and dragged out from the railway,” he said, adding that the train was descending when the incident occurred.
The funicular train resumed operations on April 25 after undergoing the upgrade. It is said to be the fastest of its kind in South-East Asia with a speed of 10m per second.
The service was suspended from Feb 22 last year following repeated problems with the old system.
The new trains comprise two new air-conditioned Swiss-made coaches that can comfortably seat 80 passengers each and travel at intervals of six to 10 minutes from the lower station to the upper station. - theStarOnline

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