Express Rail Link

The Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd is a company that owns and operates the airport rail link of the same name that connects the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) with the Kuala Lumpur Sentral (KL Sentral) transportation hub, 57 kilometres apart. The company operates two different train services:

  • KLIA Ekspres, a direct airport rail service directly from KLIA to KL Sentral, launched on 14 April 2002.
  • KLIA Transit, a commuter rail service with three additional stops between KLIA and KL Sentral, launched on 20 June 2002.
Express Rail Link
ERL logo.png
KLIAekspres SalakSelatan.jpg
OwnerExpress Rail Link Sdn Bhd
LocaleKlang Valley, Malaysia
Transit typeAirport rail link
Number of lines6 7
Number of stations6
Daily ridership27,307 (2015)
Annual ridership9.967 million (2015)[1]
(Increase 7.9%)
Began operation14 April 2002; 20 years ago (2002-04-14)
Number of vehicles
System length57 km (35 mi) (total)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Electrification25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead catenary
Top speed176 km/h (109 mph)


KLIA Ekspres trainset passing Bandar Tasik Selatan station.

Express Rail Link Sdn. Bhd. (ERL) is a joint venture company between YTL Corporation Berhad, Lembaga Tabung Haji, SIPP Rail Sdn. Bhd. and Trisilco Equity Sdn. Bhd. with each partner holding 45%, 36%, 10% and 9% of the company respectively. On 25 August 1997, the Malaysian government presented the company with a 30-year concession to finance, build, maintain and control the operations of the railway.

Construction began in May 1997 and was completed 5 years later. It was then handed over to SYZ consortium, a joint relations consortium between German and Malaysian companies consisting of Siemens, Siemens Electric Engineering Sdn. Bhd and Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn. Bhd (SPYTL), a wholly owned subsidiary of YTL Corporation Bhd.

ERL Maintenance and Support was set up in 1999 and is responsible for the operations and maintenance of trains owned by ERL. The company was initially a joint venture between Express Rail Link Sdn. Bhd. and Siemens, but since June 2005 it has been wholly owned by Express Rail Link Sdn. Bhd.[2]

The 1997 financial crisis that hit Asia caused a brief setback to the project but due to strong governmental support, the project went on to completion. The project racked up a cost of RM2.4 billion which was financed through equity mergers (RM500 million), loans from Development and Infrastructure Bank of Malaysia (RM940 million) and the remainder through import credit[3] from four German financial institutions.

Units and subsidiariesEdit

ERL Maintenance Support Sdn Bhd, or E-MAS, is ERL's operations and maintenance (O&M) subsidiary. E-MAS had working together with CRCC since 2012 on the operation & maintenance of Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Southern Line which their 13 employees were selected for the first outing in 2012 and another 29 employees were sent in 2013. In 2014 Hajj season, ERL has been working with Prasarana Malaysia to help fulfil CRCC's manpower requirements.[4]

Major facilitiesEdit

  • Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities
  • Departure lounges
  • Passenger arrival and departure halls
  • Underground track area
  • Duty-free outlets
  • Food and beverage outlets
  • Station parking

Rolling stockEdit

Inside the CRRC Changchun ERL Equator EMU used from KLIA Transit.

Both the KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit use 12 four-car Siemens Desiro ET 425 M electric multiple unit (EMU) trains. The trains are derived from and technically similar to the DBAG Class 425 used on S-Bahn systems in Germany[5] and run at a maximum commercial speed at 160 km/h, the fastest speed for rail travel in Malaysia.

On 27 November 2014, Express Rail Link ordered from CRRC Changchun six new 4-car trains to cater to the ridership growth of both KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit services. CRRC's Zhuzhou plant had already supplied rolling stock to the Rapid KL Ampang Line and KTM Komuter. Of the six new trains, two will be used for KLIA Ekspres and four for KLIA Transit. Delivery of the six new trains will be made progressively from May 2016 onwards, after which testing will be done. ERL expects all six trains to be operational by November 2016.[6][7][8]

Commercial service commenced on 13 March 2018 using CRRC Changchun Equator EMUs.[9]


Line Code Line Name Formation In service EMU/Fleet Manufacturers
6 KLIA Ekspres 4 cars EMU
  • 8 trainsets (32 cars)
  • 2 trainsets (8 cars)
7 KLIA Transit 4 cars EMU
  • 4 trainsets (16 cars)
  • 4 trainsets (16 cars)


KLIA Express & KLIA Transit Ridership[10][11]
Year KLIA Express KLIA Transit Note
2019 1,622,245 5,015,351 Q3 2019
2018 2,195,353 6,540,177
2017 2,275,650 6,443,667
2016 2,419,883 6,485,272
2015 3,470,710 6,496,617
2014 2,928,302 6,310,323
2013 2,062,223 4,374,220
2012 1,649,410 3,713,536
2011 1,581,476 3,236,795
2010 1,507,519 2,626,121
2009 1,419,827 2,441,739
2008 1,578,706 2,508,886
2007 1,780,384 2,449,842
2006 1,838,723 2,369,763
2005 1,604,404 1,829,224
2004 1,912,340 1,734,614
2003 1,697,574 970,598
2002 1,048,201 187,848 Opened on 14 April 2002


On 24 August 2010, Express Rail Link suffered their first reported accident in which 3 passengers were injured. Two ERL trains collided at Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Of the trains involved one of them was about to depart at 9.45pm for Kuala Lumpur International Airport while the other train, which was empty, rammed into its rear.[12][13]


A 2.14 km extension to the new KLIA2 terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport has been completed. Commercial service commenced on 1 May 2013.[14]

There are proposals to extend the line with two to four stations to Seremban and Melaka.[15]

Due to automatic termination of Kuala Lumpur–Singapore high-speed rail bilateral agreement after passing postponement deadline on 31 December 2020, the government planned to extend the line until Johor Bahru as an alternative for the cancelled HSR project.[16][17]

Awards and achievementsEdit

Year Award Category Result Ref(s)
2014 Global AirRail Awards North Star Air Rail Link of the Year Won [18]
2015 Global AirRail Awards North Star Air Rail Link of the Year Won [18]
2016 Global AirRail Awards North Star Air Rail Link of the Year Won [18]
Social Responsibility Won [18]



  1. ^ "JADUAL 2.9 : BILANGAN PENUMPANG BAGI PERKHIDMATAN SISTEM ALIRAN RINGAN, SUKU KEEMPAT, 2015" [Table 2.9 : Number of Passengers for Light Rail Transit (LRT) Services, Fourth Quarter, 2015] (PDF) (in Malay and English). Ministry of Transport, Malaysia. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  2. ^ Developing local capabilities in Malaysia Railway Gazette International April 2006
  3. ^ "Import Credit Definition from The Free Dictionary".
  4. ^ "ERL Joins Forces with Prasarana to Send Operations Staff to Makkah Metro to Support the 2014 Hajj Season". Archived from the original on 2014-07-28. Retrieved 2014-07-22.
  5. ^ Siemens - Express Rail Link Kuala Lumpur Archived 2006-07-20 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Express Rail Link & Changchun Railway Ink Agreement for Purchase of New Trains". Retrieved 2014-11-27.
  7. ^ "Express Rail Link signs deal for six new trains". Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  8. ^ "ERL buys 6 new trains from China's CRC". Retrieved 2014-11-26.
  9. ^ "Coupled CRRC "Equator EMU" with Self-developed Core Systems Put into Operation Today". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  10. ^ "Transport Statistics Malaysia 2008" (PDF). Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  11. ^ "Statistik Rel". Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  12. ^ "2 ERLs crash at KL Sentral". Archived from the original on 2010-09-26.
  13. ^ "2 ERLs crash at KL Sentral, 3 hurt".
  14. ^ "Express Rail Link Extension to KLIA2". Archived from the original on 2012-11-23. Retrieved 2012-11-21.
  15. ^ "Putrajaya mulls RM8b ERL extension from KLIA to Malacca". Malay Mail. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  16. ^ "PN govt wanted 'direct nego' HSR contracts, says Najib". Free Malaysia Today. 4 January 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Johor chief minister: State govt hopes Malaysia continues HSR project despite termination with S'pore". Today online. 2 January 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  18. ^ a b c d "ERL named 'North Star Air Rail Link of the Year' for third time". New Straits Times. 19 November 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2017.

External linksEdit