British-built traction remains active in Borneo on tourist trains

Two of the last steam locos built by Vulcan Foundry (Newton-le-Willows) are used in the Malaysian state of Sabah to operate regular tourist trains. 

The train between Tanjung Aru (Kota Kinabalu) and Papar runs normally on Wednesday and Saturday, and is a joint venture between the Sutera Harbour Resort, near Kota Kinabalu, and the Sabah State Railway (Jabatan Keretapi Negeri Sabah – JKNS).

Three metre-gauge 2-6-2s were built for the north Borneo Railway in 1955 (works numbers 6274-6276), numbered 6-014 to 6-016. Currently only 6-016 is in service.

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The other two locos remain in Sabah, although 6-014 is now derelict at the JKNS depot at Papar. The JKNS network dates from the late-1890s when tobacco growers sought transport for their product to the coast. 

Read more in the July 2019 issue of The RM – on sale now!

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About the Author

Sam Hewitt