The Sabah State Railway Department (JKNS) is conducting a feasibility study on providing rail services to the north and east of the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan said the federal government had approved an allocation of RM1 million for the study this year.
“The provision of rail services to Kudat (north) and Sandakan (east) is in the pipleline,” he told reporters after being briefed on developments involving the JKNS by its general manager Melvin V. Majanga, in Kota Kinabalu, today.
Pairin, who is also Sabah Infrastructure Development Minister, said the study was also aimed at identifying the modern communication equipment suitable for use in addressing the safety aspects along the existing 134-kilometre line from Tanjung Aru to Tenom.
He said the state government was working towards modernising the railway system in Sabah to encourage more people to use this mode of transportation.
“According to JKNS records, 494,638 passengers used the rail transport last year involving a total of 6,170 trips.
“At the same time, the department recorded 134 trip cancellations which were unavoidable due to technical problems and bad weather,” he said.
However, Pairin said this was a marked improvement compared to the 762 trip cancellations in 2015 which came after JKNS improved on the maintenance and operation procedures.
Meanwhile, Melvin said a total of six diesel multiple units (DMU) of trains with 200 seating capacity each, were used for the daily service last year.
In addition, he said two rail buses operated during certain hours for the Tanjung Aru-Beaufort route.
At the event, Pairin also launched three new DMU trains from India to serve the 48km Beaufort-Tenom route.
He also rode on the new train to Beaufort and Tenom while visiting the railway stations in the district.