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Kota Kinabalu ~ North Borneo Railway

• History & People • Kota Kinabalu • Kinabalu Park • Kudat • Sandakan • Wetlands Nature Retreats •
• Other Places • Mantanani Island • Pulau Tiga • Danum Valley • Pulau Layang Layang • Sipadan Dive Islands •

Borneo’s only rail service links Kota Kinabalu at Tanjung Aru to Tenom via Beaufort. A journey of 4 hours, this railroad snakes along the Padas River, giving the passengers a spectacular view of the Tenom Gorge.

This railway was the only means of transportation into the interior until only half a century ago. Built originally by the British North Borneo in the mid 1880’s, it stretched from Beaufort to Tenom and Melalap through the Padas Gorge and to the coastal towns of Weston and Jesselton. The North Borneo Railway has a 90 tonne Mid-Century British Vulcan Steam Engine, the last of a fleet of locomotives that have serviced the railways through Borneo since the 1990’s.

The train accommodates 180 passengers and consists of five colonial-styled coaches. It gives the experience of the bygone era of British North Borneo, creating a time capsule and transporting passengers along the lifeline of Sabah. It creates the nostalgic romance of travelling on a steam engine. The North Borneo Railway is built and operated to the highest of international standards and safety.

Another plus is that the Kitchen car serves “Tiffin” styled meals highlighting an exotic blend of colonial and local cuisine. These three layer tiffin boxes, each one unique, are based on the original dining concept on board trains at the turn of the century all over Asia. 

The regular daily train to Tenom is cheap and full of local character. It passes through rainforests lining the Padas river, a favourite for whitewater rafters.
The recommended Journey for train buffs is to catch the train, spend some time at Tenom and catch the train back to civilization the next day.

The Papar Run
Running from Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu through major towns of Kinarut, the train veers to hug the coastline of Kinarut and runs through mangrove swamps and rice fields before crossing over the Papar river and stopping over at Papar Town.

The Kimanis Run
Complimented by a wide range of Imported wines, the train tracks through villages onto Papar and stops by the beach at Kimanis. Allowing passengers to enjoy a panoramic sunset with a unique dinner setting.

Bingawan Golf Run
Pampered by stewards during the journey through tranquil countryside, the train stops just before the town of Bongawan for a short coach trip to the Borneo Golf and Country Club for a round of golf and a return journey with high tea being served.

Tenom Run
From Tanjung Aru, passengers take a coach to Beaufort and board the train. Passing through jungles with a laid back atmosphere, the train stops at Tenom, and will begin it journey back the next day.


The North Borneo Railway, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia is currently closed for maintenance

The North Borneo Railway, together with other rail services, have been operating relentlessly on the current network of rail and bridges for decades.

As the popularity of these services grew, frequency of use have increased, but the infrastructure has grown little.

A thorough check-up, upgrade and overall maintenance made it inevitable and unavoidable that the only rail network on Borneo is currently under renovation by the authorities for this maintenance.

The North Borneo Railway will be out of commission until further notice.







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[K. Kinabalu - Sights I] [K. Kinabalu - Sights II] [TAR Marine Park] [Monsopiad Cultural Village] [Whitewater Rafting] [North Borneo Railway]

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