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Tenom and Padas Gorge
The train which runs between Beaufort and Tenom is the last remaining train in Sabah, although the railway line begins in Kota Kinabalu and runs South to Papar and on to Beaufort. That section of the trip, known as the North Borneo Railway, is now primarily used for tourists.
The train carriages were built in the late 1930s and the engine climbs hills as fast as an old lady! The railway was built more than 100 years ago by the British to transport tobacco from the mountains to the ports. It is now used to transport the local Muruts ("hill people") between their homes and the city.
The trip passes across the scenic Padas Gorge. The spectacular view of the swift flowing river flanked by high hills and mountains makes the journey an interesting one. The rail often disappears into the jungle growth, and the view from the window often has you wondering just where the track might be heading. The journey also passes tropical rainforest, rubber estates and villages along the Padas River. The Tenom Pangi Hydroelectric project is also a very impressive sight from the train. The Padas River is also the site of white-water rafting adventures which shoot through rapids up to Grade 4.
Note that the train schedule currently prevents a worthwhile day trip to Tenom, although it is possible to travel to Tenom and back without a stop of consequence in Tenom - sufficient time for the train to change ends, passengers to disembark and re-board the train. In our view, this would not constitute a good trip.
We are watching the schedule for any sign of a change, and will advise when it is possible to once again do the full Tenom day trip. Don't hold your breath - this has been the situation since 2005.
The train trip can be incorporated in our two day trip to Tenom and back - refer to our Sabah Tours section for details