While the repair and maintenance of vehicles such as motorbikes, cars, and lorries are common sights, it is rare to see train carriages or locomotives receiving similar attention.

However, this scenario can be witnessed as early as 8 AM on Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, where S. Ganesan, 49, and his team of engineers perform maintenance work on train carriages and locomotives at their unique workshop.

"This field is quite niche, with a limited number of clients, but they consist of large companies. I took over this business from my father, the late Datuk S. Suppiah, in 2018," said Ganesan, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Railfreight Engineering and Logistic Sdn Bhd. "Starting with no knowledge of railway carriage maintenance, I learned little by little from my father and the workers here."

Born and bred in Ipoh, he is the fourth generation in his family to work in railway-related fields. His ancestor Ayadurai, from Jaffna, Sri Lanka, worked with Malayan Railway as a track maintainer. His grandfather, Selvaratnam, headed the ticket reservation department, and his father worked with Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) as a forklift driver before founding his own company.

Initially pursuing a career as a technical analyst at a telecommunications company in Shah Alam, Ganesan eventually joined his father's business as the only son among two siblings. The company offers various services, including repairs for minor or severe damage due to accidents, overhauls involving component replacement, sandblasting, and painting of wagon bodies. They also have a dedicated track for testing post-overhaul vehicles, eliminating the need for customers to transport them back for testing.

Railfreight Engineering and Logistic’s 1.5-kilometer track is connected to the Ipoh Railway Station, facilitating the movement of carriages and locomotives from across the peninsula. Among their clients are KTMB and companies in the sugar, cement, and other commodity industries, which use up to 60 wagons at a time for product transportation.

"The locomotive system is not much different from other vehicle systems, except for the brake system, which uses wind power thrust because it moves on tracks," explained Ganesan. "There are two types of locomotive engine systems: hydraulic diesel, similar to a car engine and gearbox, and diesel-electric or fully electric, which are more advanced."

Ganesan, who has also worked as a college lecturer, encourages those interested in this field to consider universities offering relevant programs, such as UniKL, or to seek employment with logistics companies like KTMB or his own. Assisted by three skilled engineers and 12 technical assistants, Ganesan's team continues to provide essential services to the logistics sector.

Looking ahead, Ganesan hopes his two sons will continue the family legacy by taking over the business.

"Although my 12-year-old eldest son has shown interest, I am aware that this generation cannot be forced. They have their own thoughts, but I still hope..."

Source / Image Credit : Astro Awani & Bernama