Sabah State Railway Department (JKNS): Tanjung Aru Rolling Stock Update 2018

The Sabah State Railway Department or Jabatan Keretapi Negeri Sabah (JKNS) is the only railway in East Malaysia, and runs from the capital of Kota Kinabalu to Beaufort and Tenom. Rolling stock is scarce on the railway, with the couple of accidents in recent years, but are currently still sufficient to run the scheduled services.

This guide is for the two types of trains running mainly on the Tanjung Aru – Beaufort Line.


CRRC Ziyang – Nanjing Puzhen Push-Pull Train

The CRRC Ziyang – Nanjing Puzhen Push-Pull Train is the main staple of the Tanjung Aru – Beaufort Line as it has the highest carrying capacity at 3 coaches per train.

The train was repainted some time in 2016. The new train livery has 4 main colours of red, green, yellow and blue.

While many call it a DMU or diesel multiple unit, this is actually a single-locomotive push-pull train as it has the locomotive which provides the motive power for the whole train, with the coaches having no motor at all. On the other end, the control car has duplicate controls when heading in that direction, but the power is still provided by the locomotive, and not the cab car or other coaches.

The locomotive of the push-pull train is manufactured by CRRC Ziyang in 2009.

The air-conditioning system of the coaches on the push-pull train is provided by Guangzhou Zhongche Railway Vehicles Equipment Joint-Stock Co., Ltd..

The coaches of the push-pull train, including the control car, is manufactured by CRRC Nanjing Puzhen.

The interior of the CRRC Ziyang – Nanjing Puzhen Push-Pull Train.

Seats are fixed in a mixed forward and reverse direction.

A table is available in the middle of the coach when both directions of seats meet.

Seats are made more as a commuter train with handles at the side for standees, and do not recline.

The gangway between the coaches.

The squat toilet available on the train.

The CRRC Ziyang – Nanjing Puzhen Push-Pull Train still bears advertisements from Visit Malaysia 2014.

The somewhat geographical route map of the Sabah State Railway, including the Beaufort – Tenom portion where the CRRC Ziyang – Nanjing Puzhen Push-Pull Train cannot run on due to the weight and size of the train.

The linear route map of the Sabah State Railway, including the Beaufort – Tenom portion where the CRRC Ziyang – Nanjing Puzhen Push-Pull Train cannot run on due to the weight and size of the train.

Rolling Stock Status
CNR 6601: In operation
CNR 6602: Destroyed by explosion in the 2011 Shell fuel tanker crash


Meitetsu KiHa 8500 Series (名鉄キハ8000系)

The Meitetsu KiHa 8500 series (名鉄キハ8500系) is a 5-car DMU set built by Nippon Sharyo in 1991 and operated by Nagoya Railroad (Meitetsu) and Aizu Railway in Japan. 2 cars of the 5-car set started operations on the Sabah State Railway in October 2016. However, it is not known if these trains were donated by Japan or purchased as second-hand.

The cab door of the Meitetsu KiHa 8500 series (名鉄キハ8500系). The font for the train car number is kept in the original Japanese format, with the additional JKNS logo above it.

A new JKNS livery sports the Meitetsu KiHa 8500 series (名鉄キハ8500系).

There is just one passenger door at the gangway end of the train.

The original destination sign has been removed.

Despite having just one cab on one end of the train, and with two cars provided to Sabah State Railway, the Meitetsu KiHa 8500 series (名鉄キハ8500系) has only operated in 1-car formations on the Sabah State Railway, requiring the use of the turntable at Tanjung Aru and wye at Beaufort when the train was operating on the afternoon First Class train. However, ever since the other car, KiHa 8502, met with an accident last year, the First Class service has been removed, and the schedule has been reduced to a twice-daily frequency on the Tanjung Aru – Beaufort Line.

The remaining car is now used to replace the CRRC Ziyang – Nanjing Puzhen Push-Pull Train on certain days, exact rotation schedule not known.

Rolling Stock Status
KiHa 8502/キハ8502: Damaged in 2017 collision with van – current status unknown
KiHa 8503/キハ8503: In operation


Click here for Sabah State Railway Department (JKNS) train service information.

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