RM1mil study to establish new rail link in Sabah

Better service: Sabah State Railway staff posing with a new railcar during the launch by Pairin in Kota Kinabalu. — Bernama

KOTA KINABALU: A comprehensive study is being carried out on establishing a railway link connecting Sabah’s west coast with northern Kudat and eastern Sandakan.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said the Federal Government allocated RM1mil for the study which could bring about the expansion of the current 137km Sabah State Railway line.

“We are targeting to do it but this will depend on the study,” he said when launching new Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) railcars at the Tanjung Aru Station here.

Sabah’s colonial railway line now links Kota Kinabalu, south-western Beaufort and the interior Tenom district.

It is the only passenger railway line in Borneo.

Pairin said the aim was to provide alternative transport facilities for the people to travel between the various areas.

“We are committed to expanding our railway lines to Sandakan and Kudat,” he said, adding that the study would also look at suitable types of trains.

The study would also look at upgrading communication systems to ensure safer rail journeys.

Pairin said the three DMU trains, costing RM7.62mil, were from India and could accommodate 192 passengers.

These would service the Tanjung Aru-Beaufort-Tenom route.

About 495,000 passengers travelled on the railway last year.

The rail service was also improving with the number of cancellations due to weather or technical problems reduced from 762 in 2015 to 134 last year.

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