North Borneo Railway
The British Chartered Company set up North Borneo Railways (NBR) on August 1, 1914.
NBR was aimed at providing cheap transportation facilities for the people, timber
and agricultural products. At that time, only steam locomotives were used. Only
recently in the 1980s, did the Sabah Government acquire modern and faster Japanese
diesel powered locomotives that were much cheaper to operate, compared with the
higher cost of buying firewood and water to run the steam engines.
Sabah's only 100-year old railway track is 134 kilometers long, starts from the
railway's head office (main station) at Tanjung Aru/Kepayan and ends at the small
town of Tenom, one of Sabah's cleanest towns!
The North Borneo Railway features a British Vulcan steam locomotive, designed and
built by the Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows, England in 1954. The factory subsequently
converted to diesel and electric locomotive construction.
The Vulcan 6-015, a 2-6-2 carrying a green livery with polished boiler bands and
red edging to the running plate and tender frame, was de-commissioned for general
use in the early 1970’s by the Sabah State Railway Department.
It was proudly re-launched in January 2000, in honour of Kota Kinabalu achieving
This steam engine represents the last of a fleet of steam engines that have plied
the tracks through Borneo since the late 1800’s and, it is also one of the only
functional wood-burners left in the world.
The North Borneo Railway also features six carriages that have been meticulously
restored and renovated to reflect the era of the steam train. The exterior utilizes
the traditional deep green and cream of the original North Borneo Railway, with
carved brass logos featuring the original British seal. The interior, highlighting
the natural woods of Sabah, has comfortable seating and dining facilities. Every
carriage provides the amenity of a modern washroom onboard. Seating accommodates
36 passengers per carriage, with a total train capacity of 180 passengers. An exotic
bar car and observation deck accompanies the train, providing a comfortable lounge
area to heighten the overall journey experience.
The North Borneo Railway runs twice weekly return departures from Kota Kinabalu
/ Papar all year round. Lasting approximately 4 hours, passengers experience the
lush landscape of the coastal and rural regions of Sabah. A typical colonial lunch
will be served on board.
Departures on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
at 10:00 am (returning at approximately 2:00pm)
Scheduled Weekly Departures (Kota Kinabalu/Papar/Kota Kinabalu)
RM180 nett per Adult
RM130 nett per Child (6-12 years. Complimentary for child below
5 years old)
Rates are inclusive of meal and light beverages
Food and Beverage service is available onboard, featuring an exotic blend of Asian
and Continental cuisine.