The International Steam Pages
Steam in Sabah, July 2000
For later reports see:
Hans Hufnagel was in Sabah for the North Borneo Railway in mid July. The tourist steam special is running every Wednesday and Saturday. It leaves Kota Kinabalu for Papa at 10:00 am and is back around 14:00. In Papar there is a newly built turntable, so the loco runs in each direction chimney first. The working loco was Nr. 15 on July 12th and July 15th. Locomotive Nr. 14 had a complete overhaul and was waiting for painting. Both locos are wood burner. The administration is thinking about the reconstruction of a third loco, but this will be converted to oil burning because of the high costs of the wood. They said the costs for the fire wood for one trip is about 1000 US$ ! This is also the reason, why they ask for 2000 US $ for a special train. I declined because for me alone it was to much .....
A Japanese group was there in May or June and hired a steam special for this price. The Japanese hired also a helicopter for video.
By chasing the train, the photgraphic potential of the line is very limited. The first part, the line follows a very busy road and than the line disappears into the jungle without roads. So with the scheduled train not more than 3 pictures are possible every run.
Mrs. Victoria Hilley is no more involved in the organisation of the railway. The train manager is Mr. S. Sivanesan, a very friendly and helpful man. His office is in the Tanjung Aru Railway Station.