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Friday, August 26, 2011

Full Steam Ahead: North Borneo Railway


Visitors to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia are now able to experience the good old era of the steam locomotive onboard the North Borneo Railway.

The North Borneo Railway is a joint project between the Sutera Harbour Resort and the Sabah State Railway Department to help enhance the existing infrastructure and to promote Sabah as a tourist destination. The North Borneo Railway was officially launched on 22nd January 2000 in honour of Kota Kinabalu achieving city status on 2nd February 2000 and it was temporarily closed due to the reconstruction of the track by the Sabah 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.

The British ‘Vulcan’ steam engine locomotive, which commenced operation on 4th July 2011, is one of the few functional locomotives fueled by wood that is now plying these very tracks to offer passengers an unforgettable journey of rediscovery into the heart of Borneo.

The train has a capacity for 80 passengers accommodated in 5 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, 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 sojourn in Papar, a small town famed for being the rice bowl of Sabah. The entire train ride takes approximately 3 hours with a typical ‘tiffin’ colonial lunch serve on the return trip. Throughout the entire train ride, passengers can be assured of hospitality and 5-star service that is synonymous with Sutera Harbour Resort. Also to be available on sale is a unique collection of memorabilia and replicas of the locomotive for passengers to remember their journey on board the steam locomotive.

Be the first to take a nostalgic trip into the bygone days of the British North Borneo Charter Company. The train is also available for group, incentive and private parties including a series of tailor-made theme events.

For bookings and further details, please email to: or

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The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
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