KOTA KINABALU: A long-forgotten, dilapidated railway station in Sabah’s interior Melalap district, some 160km from here, is set to be restored to its former glory.
Left in the midst of an estate, the Melalap railway slowly lost its functionality when roads were built in the 1960s.
Now, a group of volunteers are working with the state government to restore the station, which was a key stop for agricultural producers from the interiors over a hundred years ago.
During the colonial days, Melalap was a rubber estate that was later taken over by Sime Darby. It is currently used for oil palm cultivation.
Restoration team leader Richard Ker said four of them were now waiting for the old railway to be gazetted before they start sourcing for funds, appointing suitable contractors, architects and others for the project.
“We are doing this because it is a shame to see this pre-war railway station deteriorate and go to waste just like that.
“The railway station has the potential to be a tourist attraction and spur socio-economic growth in the area,” he explained.
Ker said there were not many pre-war structures left in Sabah and something should be done to make sure that the remaining few were well preserved and taken care of.
Once refurbished, the railway station could become a gallery to showcase photos and information about its historical significance as well as about Melalap and Tenom town itself, he said.
“It would be interesting to see and learn what took place during the 1900s and how things have changed with time,” he added.
Ker and his team, comprising historians and a content researcher, have for the past two months, conducted several presentations, found potential contributors and promoted the project via social networks such as Facebook to raise awareness of the need to rehabilitate the railway station.