North Borneo Railway
The North Borneo Railway runs two weekly departures (Wednesday and Saturday) and a trip typically runs for 4 hours. An early booking of at least 1 (one) day before departure is required.
On board, passengers are treated to a rare delight: A Tiffin-style breakfast and lunch, comprising of Asian and Continental cuisine. The train features five fully refurbished colonial-style passenger train carriages that can accommodate a total of 180 passengers. The North Borneo Railway is built and operated to the highest of international standards and is fully compliant with modern safety standards.
Passengers hop on a steam train straight out of the 1900s, chugging along the tracks from Tanjung Aru, through Kinarut before arriving in the Rice Bowl of Sabah, Papar. Along the way, soak in the green vistas of sprawling paddy fields, traditional village homes on stilts and buffaloes ambling in the distance.
North Borneo Railway is the oldest running steam train in Sabah and Borneo. The nostalgic romance of an old steam train relives memories of a bygone era. Passing through villages and coastal towns, paddy fields, rainforests and plantations of rubber and coffee, a ride on North Borneo Railway is truly a journey of rediscovery into the heart of Borneo.
The North Borneo Railway is a joint venture project between Sutera Harbour Resort and the Sabah State Railway Department (Jabatan Keretapi Negeri Sabah), signifying a historical collaboration between the private sector and the state government. The primary goals of the project are to enhance existing infrastructure as well as help in efforts to promote Sabah as a destination for domestic and international tourism. The North Borneo Railway was officially launched on 22nd January 2000 in honour of Kota Kinabalu achieving city status on 2nd February 2000.
The North Borneo Railway offers passengers an opportunity to experience the bygone era of British North Borneo while transporting passengers along the lifeline of Sabah. Refurbished to recreate the nostalgic romance of people travelling by steam train in the days of the Chartered Company and the British Colonial Office, both the exterior and interior provide an environment that would have been typical of stepping onto a train in the 1900s.
The exterior utilises the traditional deep green and cream of the original North Borneo Railway, with carved brass logos showcasing the original design of a tiger holding a rail wheel, standing on the royal crown. The interior highlights the natural woods of Sabah and unless the train is fully booked, passengers are offered free seating on one of the five colonial-style passenger train carriages.
© Sjoerd Mensink