Friday, March 10, 2017

Sabah’s first railway station proposed as historical heritage site


KOTA KINABALU: Assistant Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Kamarlin Ombi yesterday proposed that Bukau in Beaufort be made into a historical heritage site since this was where the first railway station in Sabah was established.

Speaking to reporters after launching Railway Gallery at the Sabah State Museum near here yesterday, Kamarlin said although signs of the rail tracks were no longer there, a small gallery could be erected to show this data so that the facts would become known to the future generation.

He added that this would be an asset and would help promote tourism activities at the area.

He also said the Sabah Museum planned to gazette the Melalap Railway Station into a heritage site sometime this year.

Earlier, Kamarlin said the railway services in Sabah was introduced by the British North Borneo Chartered Company.

He said the construction of the railway track in Sabah, which was then known as North Borneo, started in 1896 and was spurred by the production of tobacco and rubber in the 1880s throughout the early 1890s.

The managing director then, William Clarke Cowie, who was responsible for starting the construction, believed that the construction of the railway tracks would encourage the opening of more commercial plantations.

The work began in 1896, with the construction of the tracks from Beaufort to Weston by English engineer Arthur J. West. This track was completed in 1900, and was followed by the construction of the 90-kilometre track from Beaufort to Jesselton which was handled by a British firm, George Pauling and Company.

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