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February 5, 2012

Sabah’s colonial-styled passenger train relaunched after six-year hiatus

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s nostalgic steam locomotive ride into the countryside is back on track again after a six-year hiatus.

Dubbed the North Borneo Railway, the colonial-styled passenger train, powered by a Vulcan steam locomotive, chugged off from the Tanjung Aru station here to officially mark the relaunch of the state’s tourist rail service.

On board the 38.5km ride to Papar was state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, who described the train service as one of Sabah’s unique tourist attractions.

“You don’t find this anywhere else in South-East Asia. It is a very unique tourism product popular among the tourists.

“In the face of development, people want to look back to the past. This is the past in the present,” he said yesterday after relaunching the service which ceased operations in 2005 when the state’s railway line was upgraded.

The North Borneo Railway is a joint venture project between Sabah Railways Department and Sutera Harbour Resort to give tourists an experience of the British North Borneo’s (now Sabah) bygone era by transporting them into the countryside.

The rail line runs from Tanjung Aru through the small towns of Kinarut, Kawang and Papar during a three-hour return trip.

The refurbished locomotives, built by Vulcan Foundry Ltd in Britain and had plied Sabah’s railway lines since the 1880s, give passengers a feel of stepping back into the 1900s during the steam engine era.

The train service, which runs every Wednesday and Saturday, costs RM250 for adults and RM150 for children aged between two and 12.

Meanwhile, Masidi congratulated Sabahan Alexander Yee for building the country’s first upside-down house at Kampung Bantayan-Teli-bong in Tuaran, which could prove to be another tourist draw.

“I am sure that many people would like to visit the house just for that upside-down feeling,” he said.

Yeo had spent RM500,000 to build the 140sq m house, which has fully-equipped living room, kitchen, bathrooms and rooms.

Source: The Star



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