Sunday, April 17, 2011

North Borneo Railway - Nostalgia back on track with steam locomotive

KOTA KINABALU: Fancy travelling back in time? Soon, visitors and locals alike will be able to experience the good old era of the steam locomotive when the North Borneo Railway resumes operation.

The North Borneo Railway, a joint project between the Sutera Harbour Resort and the State Railway Department to help enhance the existing infrastructure in promoting Sabah as a tourist destination.

The North Borneo Railway was officially launched on 22 January 2000 in conjunction with Kota Kinabalu’s elevation to a city on 2 February 2000, but its service was disrupted due to the reconstruction of the track by the State Railway Department.

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 plied the tracks through Borneo since the late 1880s.

Comes July 2011, the steam engine locomotive, one of the few functional locomotives fueled by wood, will once again be plying these same tracks to offer passengers an unforgettable journey of rediscovery into the heart of Borneo.

The train has a capacity for 180 passengers accommodated in six colonial-time 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, managed by Sutera Harbour Resort 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 to Papar and return to Kota Kinabalu after an hour-long sojourn in Papar, a small town famed for being the rice bowl of Sabah.

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