Plans to Build Indonesia’s First High-Speed Rail Line Gather Steam
Tri Listiyarini & Kunradus Aliandu
Plans to build Indonesia’s first “super-express” train are closer to becoming a reality as the Japanese government offers to foot part of the Rp 60 trillion ($6.5 billion) bill, Ministry of Transportation officials said on Monday.
Japan will take the first step toward financing part of the project by funding a feasibility study, Indonesia’s Ministry of Transportation Tundjung Inderawan said. The study could take as along as two years to complete, putting the railway’s completion date some time in 2017 or 2018.
The train will connect the two cities, traveling the 144 kilometer distance in a speedy 30 minutes. It currently takes three hours to travel the route by train and one to two hours to cover the same distance by car.
The Indonesian government plans to build two high-speed trains, one connecting Jakarta and Bandung, and a second route connecting Jakarta and Surabaya.
“We’ll do the super express Jakarta-Bandung trains first because the
investment is smaller and we’ve already had the investor,” Tundjung said
in his welcoming speech for a seminar on the new Jakarta-Bandung train
project in Jakarta.
“[The project] is still under study, and it will be offered through a public/ private partnership scheme. The government will probably take part in the funding in order to suppress the tariff, but will not contribute more than 50 percent of the value of the project,” he added.
The Jakarta-Bandung line will make six stops at stations in Jakarta, Bekasi, Karawang, at the planned Karawang airport, and two stops in Bandung.
Demand for passenger trains between the two cities has declined in recent years after the emergence of speedier, more convenient shuttle services along the route. Indonesia’s state-owned railway operator Kereta Api scrapped its Parahyangan train service between the two cities last March in response to the lack of demand.
Only the pricier executive-class Gede trains serve the route.