Indonesia has launched the first-ever bullet train in Southeast Asia, a high-speed rail route that will link two of its largest cities.
President Joko Widodo, First Lady Iriana, and a number of cabinet ministers attended the ceremony, which was officially held on Monday at the Halim train station in Jakarta. The opening was originally set for October 1 but there were slight delays due to which it got postponed by 1 day. To cheers from the audience, Widodo declared, “The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail is the first high speed train in Indonesia and the first in Southeast Asia, with a speed of 350 kilometers per hour.”
Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s co ordinating maritime and investment minister, added that this was not possible without excellent teamwork from all parties, including the central government, local government, state-owned enterprises, private sectors, public, as well as the Chinese government and its related companies.
On September 13, Widodo took a 25 minute test ride on the new high-speed rail and informed reporters that, even at maximum speed, he felt comfortable walking or sitting inside.
Connectivity and Convenience; Some outstanding features of the high-speed rail –
The new high-speed rail will run between the Halim train station in East Jakarta and the Padalarang train station in West Bandung, West Java, Indonesia’s second-largest city and a significant center of arts and culture.
WHOOSH-from “Waktu Hemat, Operasi Optimal, Sistem Handal”, which stands for “time saving, optimal operation, reliable system” in Indonesian, is the name of the 86-mile (138-kilometer) high-speed rail line. It is powered by electricity and emits no direct carbon emissions while moving at a speed of about 217 miles per hour, reducing the travel time between Jakarta and Bandung which took 3 hours earlier and now takes only about less than an hour, according to officials.
The railway is well connected to regional public transport systems and is managed by the joint state enterprise PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (PT KCIC). According to the officials, the trains have been adjusted keeping in consideration, Indonesia’s tropical climate and are outfitted with a safety system that can react to emergencies like earthquakes and floods.
Speaking to Chinese state media during a ceremony earlier in September, PT KCIC director Dwiyana Slamet Riyadi said there are discussions to expand the high-speed rail line to Surabaya, a significant port and the capital of the East Java Province. Stops at other significant cities, such as Semarang and Yogyakarta, which serves as the entrance to Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, are also being considered, according to Dwiyana. The railway has eight carriages with 601 seats and is equipped with Wi Fi and USB charging ports, according to information made public by PT KCIC. The train offers three classes if seating arrangement I.e., first, second, and VIP seating classes.
The Joint Effort- Indonesia and China
The largest economy in Southeast Asia and the fourth-largest nation in the world, Indonesia, has been actively wooing Chinese investment. China is Indonesia’s major trading and investment partner.
During a high-profile meeting in July, Indonesian and Chinese leaders Joko Widodo and Xi Jinping announced a number of projects, including plans to construct a multi-billion dollar Chinese glass factory on the island of Rempang in Indonesia’s Riau Islands Archipelago as part of a new “Eco-City”, which sparked protest from public.
Construction of the high-speed rail began in 2016, after it was initially agreed upon in 2015 as a part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Due to several operating delays brought on by the Covid 19 pandemic, as well as difficulties acquiring land and rising prices, it could not be finished in 2019, according to what was initially planned. The director of PT KCIC, Dwiyana, praised the high speed train link between Jakarta and Bandung as an exemplary example of bilateral cooperation between China and Indonesia.