Jun 24, 2009

Answers to Quiz (4) - 29116 is Sepetir

Congratulations to Victor and Polestar for recognizing the subject in the quiz. Indeed it has to do with KTM - Keretapi Tanah Melayu - the train service between Malaysia and Singapore. 29116 is a locomotive in their fleet.

Here are the answers to each part.

1. Where can you find this sign?

This is easy if you know it is KTM-related. You may find it along the railway track or at the railway stations (Tanjong Pagar, Bukit Timah). These are all Malaysian Property, by the way.

2. Where did I take the photo?

Victor believed I took the photo while standing on the railway track. This is almost impossible unless you happen to be one of them.

Here is 29116 at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station the day I took the shot. You can see the target is right in front. Assuming I'm Yao Ming (this tall guy can really jump), I could have went below the platform for the shot. This would not be prudent, however, as the driver was in the cab.

2911629116 is Sepetir
Left: 29116 at Tanjong Pagar Station.
Right: Driver in cab, don't play play.

This reminds me of an observation of train commuters in Singapore. Because the Malaysian train service offers no competitive advantage over coach or airline service, most people have no reason to take the train service plying Malaysia and Singapore. Me included, our contact with trains is limited to the MRT/LRT/NEL. If there is a difference between taking our local trains and the Malaysian train, it is this - our transit from platform to passenger compartment is a smooth one. Beware of the platform gap but you never have to climb to get into the passenger compartment. How lucky because generations of train passengers did not experience it that way.

From Indiana Jones in the 1950s ....

to Icemoon in 2009 (from escape to Malaysia episode) ....

The Station MasterThe Driver

(Indiana Jones scenes from movie Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Bottom left and right photos by Icemoon. Note that Icemoon was not caught in the act [of escaping to Malaysia]. Left guy was the station master hunting for Icemoon. Right guy with cap was the cab driver.)

You see, people used to board a train by climbing up, like how you board a bus at road level (well, there is also the WAB - wheelchair accessible bus - which you don't have to climb). This is true for old station platforms. Nowadays stations are built with their platform flushed with the carriage doorway.

Platform LevelKL Sentral
Left: Our old pre-war Tanjong Pagar Station with low platform.
Right: The new KL Sentral Station in Kuala Lumpur with flushed platform.

I'm not sure why older stations were not built to specification unless carriage doorway used to be lower, i.e. flushed with the platform, in the past.

Back to our quiz. As a result, we tend to underestimate the height of a locomotive. Here is a video taken when I was at KL Sentral (Malaysian version of a public transport hub) and shows a locomotive reversing to couple with a coach. Eh, isn't the locomotive our friend 29116? No, she is not. Look carefully. She is 29103, a 'twin'.

Now, do you know from where the quiz photo was taken? Hint: look at the last few scenes of the video. The answer is here.

While you are thinking, let me reveal how the picture was digitally manipulated. I converted the color picture to grayscale, then reversed (negative-imaged) the gray colors.

Digital manipulation - from color to gray negative.

3. What is another name for the subject?

Another name for 29116 is Sepetir. Sepetir and 29103 Merbau in the video belong to the 29 class locomotives of KTMB. Two interesting tidbits about the 29 class.

First, they are double cab locomotives. A cab, in layman understanding, is the 'cockpit' of a train. So the 29 class has two cockpits, at both ends of the locomotive. This is the reason why I could snap the quiz photo from that angle. When the locomotive is coupled, the back cockpit will be facing the first coach of the train. You can see that in the video. The quiz photo was taken behind the door of the gangway. Thus I was inside the train and not on the railway tracks when the photo was taken.

There is actually a prequel to the video if you are interested. This earlier video shows 29103 Merbau reversing slowing ('go-stun') from far. The driver was inside the front cab and at one point, I think the fireman (i.e. their assistant driver) got down and you see him later directing the coupling process. I'm glad I recorded this earlier video because the sight of a lone locomotive without her train consist (i.e. the coaches behind) is just too cute to bear.

The second interesting tidbit is the naming system. Do you know how Sepetir and Merbau got their names? Yes, they are named after timbers found in the region!

Here are the 29 Class locomotives and their timber names:

29101 Cengal
29102 Meranti
29103 Merbau
29104 Jati
29105 Mersawa
29106 Belian
29107 Keranji
29108 Balau
29109 Keruing
29110 Penaga
29111 Seraya
29112 Damar
29113 Nyatoh
29114 Ramin
29115 Kempas
29116 Sepetir
29117 Tembusu
29118 Tualang
29119 Medang
29120 Kledang

Not sure if any of you remembers, yg actually saw a 29 class during one of his 'jalan-jalan' missions. Here is the post. She is 29105 Mersawa.


Victor said...

Icemoon, no prize ah?

While you are figuring out the answer for that question, let me reveal how I got the answer. It was from a Google search using "29116" and it threw up this link. That's why I said "this one easy lah" because the answer was revealed in matter of a few keystrokes only mah. Hence you see that I was not really that knowledgeable.

So what is the lesson learnt? Next time you must remember to mask out some of the figures hor, not just change colour to gray scale and then reverse the grey colours.

Icemoon said...

*ouch*, still can't beat google :P

wah, do so much editing the picture becomes 面目全非. but then, good idea, inject some creativity into the quiz.

Azmee Mohamed said...


Dalian, also known as the "Rattle Snake" in the KTMB Locomotive fleet, due to it's distinctive engine sound.

Icemoon said...

Jimmy Jeremy, I learnt something new today. Yea, the rattling is quite distinct. Next time I will pay more attention to other engine sounds.