Study being done on Sabah railway expansion towards Kudat, Sandakan

KRISTY INUS

KOTA KINABALU: A feasibility study is being done on the future expansion of Sabah’s railway system towards the north and east, namely Kudat and Sandakan, from Kota Kinabalu.

Deputy Chief Minister cum State Infrastructure Development Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, in disclosing this, however did not provide any timeline as it is still subject to a survey.

“It is a long term plan. RM1 million in federal funding will go towards the study this year,” he told reporters after attending a briefing by the Sabah Railway Department at the Tanjung Aru station.

Currently, the train system in the state consists of a 134-kilometre line from Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu towards the interior region of Tenom.

At the same time, the study would also look into suitable and modern communication equipment to improve safety aspects along the track.

In relation to that, Pairin said he had asked the department to improve safety measures, including looking into all crossings be installed with fully-automatic level crossing systems, and installation of closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs) on all 51 level crossings along the railway track.

Pairin also noted that there was a drop in cancellations of trips. A total of 134 cancellations were recorded last year compared to 762 cancellations previously, attributed to the department’s efforts to update their coordination and operational procedures.

“There were 6,170 train trips last year with 494,638 passengers in total,” he said, adding that most trips were full during weekends.

After the briefing, Pairin launched three new Diesel Multiple Train Units (DMU) which will serve the Beaufort – Tenom sector.