Tuesday, September 27, 2016

CuriosTraveller: North Borneo Railway Part 2 - The Experience

It left our beloved civilization, from the concrete jungle into the real green jungle.  It went through some villages, mangroves, jungles and plantations until it reached a small town where the locals were a bit slower in doing things in comparison to those in state capital. They looked pretty happy with what they are doing daily. We both kind of loving that way of life, free from the city’s stress. There’s no massive traffic jam here.

Local kids were excited to see the train coming, waving hands as if they are mates of us. We saw them waved again during the return trip. Did they actually wait? Welcome to North Borneo Railway, Arman said to us and we wish you the same, a great service by Sutera Harbour Resort & Sabah State Railway Department.


That beautiful and sunny morning of September 24, 2016 we found ourselves checking in for the train ride, a return same day trip to Papar from Tanjung Aru Station. Checking in was easy, thanks to Linda who’s also one of the crew serving passengers. We’re excited like kids getting that passports, a mini booklet actually where a crew will stamp the destination names.

Then there was Dg Sarimah standing at the entry point, sincerely smiling all the time. She quickly assigned us to the seats in Tanjung Aru carriage or unit, if we may say that. The experience began even before boarding. The team were readily available to personally escorting each passenger to his or her seat.

At the Boarding area there’s Arman, who continuously smiled, sincerely to each arriving passengers! The passengers couldn’t stop smiling as well, a sign that they were pretty pleased with such great attentiveness given to them. It’s pretty mind blogging how each crew was able to escort each passenger to the designated unit when actually more passengers coming at the entry point. None of them waited long enough, soon after arriving they were whisked away to their seats in respective carriage, in record time!

We’re amazed with the carriages, both the interior and exterior. Inside our Tanjung Aru cariiage, beautiful decorated seats with darker wood panels as the wall pretty much implying the luxury feel, a perfect combination between new and old refurbishing style. The rotating ceiling fans gave cool air to the entire coach. Wall lights cleverly installed at each side of the window panels. The brand’s logo neatly carved on smaller metal pieces, embedded on each seat.

The exterior has the right colors that resembles the olden days train, green and white with the logo on each carriage. Inside, the unit we were in was pretty immaculate, there’s not even one microscopic litter can be seen, looks like the crews did their job perfectly, looking after the train cleanliness inside out. Everyone were here and there, inside and outside the train, capturing moments through the camera lenses. Nevertheless, crews managed to assemble all back into the units so that they can start the service with pre- departure safety presentation followed by serving refreshing lemonade.

Overall, pre-departure service was excellent. Crews were very professional in handling passengers arrival. While crew ensured passengers safety and comfort, they did it soulfully, with all their heart,  in full smile which in return made the passengers smiled. Not a single complaint heard, at least in our carriage.

The Train Master, Mr Jual Husin, went around ticking the boxes in his check list. He ensured each passenger comfort and in full-swing, ready for the journey. Having completed his round in all 5 carriages, he proceeded with the thumbs-up for that harmonious sound of whistle and bells, an indication that the train is ready to leave Tanjung Aru Station.