Friday, April 11, 2008


Railway track to be moved further from river banks


The section of the railway track here that was damaged by a landslide which caused a train to plunge into the Padas River about 3pm on Wednesday, killing two persons and injuring several others, will not be repaired. Instead, a bypass will be built in the vicinity, said Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah here yesterday. He said similarly, routes or stretches deemed dangerous or too close to the river bank will also be diverted. “Since the Government is in the process of reconstructing and upgrading the railway track (140km between Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu and here), we might as well do a new route instead of just repairing or replacing the damaged track,” he said. Tan, who was accompanying Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman in a visit to the scene of accident about three kilometres from here, said an alternative connection will be explored as soon as possible for those who need to use the Beaufort-Tenom railway service regularly. The Infrastructure Development Minister described this as their “immediate action” in tackling the transportation problem, stressing however that safety would be their top priority. Tan said his Ministry will be working closely with the Assemblymen of the affected areas to find a solution. “We would study and find the best transportation system to replace the train for now,” he said, adding that many people along the route depend on the train service, particularly teachers and students. The State railway service started operation in 1896 along the route from Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu to here. However, the Tanjung Aru-Papar route service was temporarily halted last year to make way for upgrading works on the railway track . The Beaufort-Tenom route service however continues as usual for the benefit of the residents, as well as foreign tourists who would be dropped at Pangie for whitewater rafting. Besides claiming two lives, the railway accident on Wednesday caused serious’ injuries to three people and minor injuries to 19 others.