Minutes of Malaysia III

194-1945

‘The Wickham Rail Car’

From all railway equipment factories known the name Wickham won’t ring a bell immediately though it played an important role mainly in Britain and some former oversees colonies. The railway system of Sabah (North Borneo) part of the Malaysian federation is just one of them. Some facts and figures of the JKNS – Jabatan Keritapi Negeri Sabah or plain SSR – Sabah State Railway were described in another feature on this site called: Minutes of Malaysia – The railway of Sabah, those will be skipped at this one and purely confined to Wickham.
A light two axle vehicle, a car on rails in the real sense of the word. The Wickham trolley was a railway engineering personnel carrier introduced in 1948 and were built by D. Wickham & Co. Ltd with two plants in Britain and Wickham Rail Cars of Goodyear in Arizona (US). The company was founded in 1886 by Dennis Wickham as Motorcars and General Engineers. Beside the trolleys they constructed more common train like vehicles as well, rail buses even multiple units.
In 1988 during my first Sabah visit the two axle cars were still in use especially between Beaufort and Tenom on a scheduled taxi like service along the line and came in two sizes; with six or twelve seats as far as I can remember. For more specific details one can search the Web though I didn’t find them maybe I am not willing enough going through many (sometimes to many) pages. For me the pictures count and the pleasure of having seen them and of course also had a few remarkable rides. The latter is also described in the feature mentioned before but there without any photographical proof and thus given here. The slides were taken at the end of March in 1988 and unfortunate showing already the signs of deterioration. The picture above shows RC 1113 shifting on the yard of Beaufort and the one below seen at the platform, too small for the infrastructure but it works. Too bad also they don’t run any longer; it was the perfect way to see some of Sabah from another perspective, the joy for a railway enthusiast and maybe him not alone?

 

194-1946

RC 2102 as a train taxi to Tenom is ready for depart at the Beaufort station.

RC 2102 as a train taxi to Tenom is ready for depart at the Beaufort station.

How to board a train?

How to board a train?

RC 2102 as the monthly pay train (salary for the staff along the line) at the last station: Tenom and waiting for the return to Beaufort and me on board.

RC 2102 as the monthly pay train (salary for the staff along the line) at the last station: Tenom and waiting for the return to Beaufort and me on board.

Isn't lovely; a little jungle station (Pangi) with tiny platform full of locals waiting for their train to Tenom.

Isn’t lovely; a little jungle station (Pangi) with tiny platform full of locals waiting for their train to Tenom.

Grass roots; RC 2101 waiting on a side track for an upcoming train.

Grass roots; RC 2101 waiting on a side track for an upcoming train.

A dramatic scene but the man in front of the rail car still has time to step aside.

A dramatic scene but the man in front of the rail car still has time to step aside.

RC 2201 as train Nº 13 leaving Beaufort at the end of a day. Shining rail, the glow of a never ending story though for the rail car it did.

RC 2201 as train Nº 13 leaving Beaufort at the end of a day. Shining rail, the glow of a never ending story though for the rail car it did.
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About Robert von Hirschhorn

Author / Performer or in Dutch: schrijver / dichter
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