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Trans-Borneo rail link proposed
Published on: Monday, April 08, 2024
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Trans-Borneo rail link proposed
Brunei-based Brunergy Utama Sdn Bhd announced it would be embarking on the project, which it proposed to be implemented in two phases involving routes spanning 1,620km. - Pic for illustration only.
CHIEF Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor said the proposed Trans Borneo Railway project linking Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Indonesian Kalimantan will be a boon to Borneo Island if it becomes a reality.

“The project will be impactful to enhance people-to-people connectivity and economically.

“It will facilitate trade, promote growth of industries at the border areas and boost tourism in the Borneo region,” he said in a statement on Mar 31.

Last November, Federal Works Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said his Ministry received a preliminary proposal on the project.

Nanta said the idea for this mega-railway came from the Transport Ministry and the Federal Government had approved a financial allocation specifically to carry out a feasibility ground study on the routes involving the Sarawak-Sabah side.

Brunei-based Brunergy Utama Sdn Bhd announced it would be embarking on the project, which it proposed to be implemented in two phases involving routes spanning 1,620km.

The first phase would connect cities from the West to the East Coast, beginning in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, and ending in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

The second phase would involve North and East Kalimantan connecting the main route with Samarinda and to the new capital of Indonesia, Nusantara.

Brunergy had said Borneo’s first high-speed bullet train network would cover Kota Kinabalu, Kimanis/Papar, Beaufort, Sipitang, Lawas, Bangar, Limbang, Bukit Panggal, Miri, Bintulu, Sibu, Sri Aman, Kuching, Sambas, Singkawang, Mempawah and Pontianak.

The proposed route under Phase Two includes Bukit Panggal, Long Seridan, Bekalalan, Long Bawan, Malinau, Tanjung Selor, Landjungredeb, Pengadan, Lubuk Tutung, Bontang, Samarinda and Balikpapan.

“The TBR will host four terminals, serving as the main hubs for mass transport, along with 24 stations webbed across the island.

“Both lines will connect at the strategically located Bruneian district of Tutong, serving as the central hub for the TBR,” the company said.

Furthermore, it indicated that the average distance between stations would be approximately 150km, and the bullet train is expected to achieve speeds ranging from 300 to 350 kilometres per hour (km/h), with an estimated average travel time between stations of just 30 minutes.

“Introduction of this (bullet train) technology to this region will enhance human interaction to a different level and will be sustainable for the next 50 years or more without much competition and technological change,” the company added. 

Meanwhile, the State Government would let the Transport Ministry carry out the feasibility study on the proposed Trans Borneo Railway Project connecting Sabah with Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Deputy Chief Minister III cum Works Minister Datuk Ir. Shahelmey Yahya said it is a cross-border project which involves a long railway network.

However, it is awaiting official notification from Brunergy.

“For the State Government via the Sabah State Railway Department, the priority, at the moment, is focused more on reviving the existing railway network, especially connecting the track line from Tanjung Aru, Sembulan to Sepanggar Port in Kota Kinabalu, in addition to the track connecting the West Coast and the East Coast of Sabah.

“For the proposed Trans Borneo railway…we received proposals from interested parties from China and India but it is only at the initial stage.”

Shahelmey said this at a breaking of fast ceremony with orphans, Putatan Parliamentary Office staff and the media at Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) in Kota Kinabalu on Mar 30.

In general, Shahelemy said the State Government is looking more at the concept of railway development that connects the West and East Coast areas of Sabah.

“We are generally looking at the concept of a railway network connecting the West and East Coast of Sabah but this also depends on feasibility and socioeconomic studies,” he said.

Sabah’s existing rail network, which is over a century old, is only about 130km, connecting the State Capital on the West Coast with the main towns in the South to Beaufort and ending at Tenom, which is located in the Interior.

Previously, there was a proposal to extend the existing track network to Tawau on the East Coast and Kudat in the North, in addition to reviving the closed route that connects Tenom with Melalap.   

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