The one direct train from Johor Bahru to Butterworth Penang, the Intercity Ekspres Rakyat has now been cancelled from the 19th May 2016, along with all the other older Intercity Trains on the North-South Railway Line that travels along the west coast of Malaysia.
Now if you want to travel from JB to Penang by train, you will first have to catch one of the new Shuttle Trains to Gemas (where the new dual electrified tracks start), then transfer to a high-speed Electric Train Service (ETS).
This is actually quicker than using the old cancelled Intercity Train!
The first part of the journey is to take the Shuttle Train from JB to Gemas.
From Gemas, you can then take the ETS Train to Butterworth.
Or you could take an ETS from Gemas to KL Sentral, then take one of the KL to Butterworth ETS trains from there.
If you don't want to go through all these train changes, it would currently be a good idea to take a bus from JB to Penang.
You will have to buy two separate tickets for the train from JB to Butterworth.
Tickets on the train from JB Sentral to Gemas cost:
Superior class (2nd class):
Adult: 21 MYR - Child: 15 MYR
The ETS Train from Gemas to Butterworth costs:
Adults: 83 MYR - Child: 46 MYR
If you are staying in Singapore and want to travel from Singapore to Penang by train, you can now catch one of the Shuttle Trains that operate from Woodlands Station in Singapore to JB Sentral Station in Johor Bahru, or you can catch a local bus across the causeway.
Whichever way you decide to travel from Singapore to JB Sentral Station, allow yourselves plenty of time so you don't miss your train.
The border gets very congested during the morning rush hours.
When you arrive at Butterworth railway station, onward travel is easy to reach, with the main Butterworth bus station just next to the station under the new Penang Sentral building or if you are travelling over to George Town on Penang island, the ferry terminal is also just a few minutes walk away (also now reached through Penang Sentral).
Ferries run from Butterworth to George Town Penang back and forth constantly throughout the day, starting at around 6 in the morning until about 1 am.
From the ferry port in George Town, you can easily walk to most of the accommodation that is located in this old part of the city within 10-15 minutes. You can also connect to the islands local bus network which is right next to the exit of the ferry terminal.