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North Borneo Railway services goes ‘full-steam’ in July 2011

TRANSIT took note of this interesting article from The Borneo Post, announcing that the North Borneo Railway will re-start operations in July 2011.

The North Borneo Railway is a heritage railway service operated by the Sabah State Railway (run by Sabah’s Department of Railways) along with a commuter rail service.

Both services were disrupted by a landslide in April 2008. DMU service from Tg. Aru to Beaufort restarted on 21 February 2011 using new trains (profiled here by TRANSIT in January 2010).

Image of the North Borneo Railways restored Vulcan steam locomotive courtesy of

For more information on Sabah State Railway, see their facebook page or this discussion forum.

North Borneo Railway locomotive goes full steam in July (The Borneo Post)
April 15, 2011

KUCHING: Soon, visitors to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah will be able to experience the good old era of the steam locomotive when the North Borneo Railway commences operation once again in July 2011.

The North Borneo Railway features a British ‘Vulcan’ Steam Engine number 6-016 manufactured by the Vulcan Foundry Ltd in Newton-le-Willows in Lancashire, United Kingdom and is the last of a fleet of locomotives that piled the tracks through Borneo.

Not only do these steam engines represent the last of a fleet that have plied the tracks through Borneo since the late 1880s, they are also part of the only few functional wood burners left in the world.

The train has a capacity for 180 passengers accommodated in six colonial-period carriages that have been refurbished and restored to reflect the luxury of the era.

A kitchen car serves ‘Tiffin’ styled meals, highlighting an exotic blend of colonial and continental cuisine. The railway is operated to the highest of international standards and is fully compliant with modern safety standards.

Passengers on board the train will be able to take in the sights and sounds of the countryside, paddy fields, mangrove jungles and pristine coastal beaches as the train chucks along the tracks from Tanjung Aru station into Putatan, heading for Kinarut, Kawang and Papar, the ‘Rice Bowl of Sabah’.

the rest of the article turns into an advertisement.


As you can imagine, we are pleased with the return of the North Borneo Railway to join the DMU service to round out Sabah’s railway offerings.

We look forward to another positive future – the return of rail to Kota Kinabalu as well as improved links to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (which is extremely close to the railway as shown here).

Imagine a rapid tram service extension of the railway from Tg. Aru station to the centre of Kota Kinabalu, using the old railway alignment – with a new “KKIA” station to serve demand for the airport.

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