JAKARTA, Indonesia – In a momentous leap forward for Indonesia’s transportation landscape, the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway (HSR) officially commenced commercial operations on Tuesday, marking the country’s entry into the era of high-speed rail. The inauguration of this transformative transport system not only signifies Indonesia’s modernization but also represents a significant achievement under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in collaboration with China.
The Jakarta-Bandung HSR, spanning an impressive 142.3 kilometers, is Southeast Asia’s maiden high-speed railway. With a maximum design speed of 350 kilometers per hour, this HSR has the potential to dramatically slash the travel time between Jakarta and Bandung from a laborious 3.5 hours to a mere 46 minutes.
The historic moment unfolded at 4:35 p.m. on Tuesday when the inaugural train, G1137, pulled out of Halim Station in Jakarta, as confirmed by China Railway.
This high-speed railway meanders through the picturesque landscapes of West Java province, with crucial stops at Halim, Karawang, Padalarang, and Tegalluar along the way.
The initial phase of operation will see 14 trains shuttling between Jakarta and Bandung, with the frequency set to be adjusted according to market demand and traffic flow. This pioneering project is not only a symbol of modernization but also stands as a testament to the close collaboration between China and Indonesia.
The Jakarta-Bandung HSR is unique in that it is the first overseas high-speed rail project to fully integrate Chinese railway systems, technology, and industrial components. The 11 electric multiple units (EMUs) and one inspection train that comprise this high-speed railway were designed and manufactured by CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd. These state-of-the-art trains rolled off the production line in August 2022 and were transported to Indonesia. A comprehensive trial operation was successfully completed in November of the previous year, and in May, the high-speed railway entered joint commissioning and testing phases. In September, the Indonesian Transportation Ministry issued an operating license to the KCIC, a joint venture consortium formed by Indonesian and Chinese firms responsible for the construction and operation of the HSR.
The Jakarta-Bandung HSR is a triumph of modern engineering, boasting attributes such as speed, intelligence, adaptability, comfort, and customization. Chief designer Zhang Fangtao from CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd., notes that the EMUs are a testament to the merger of advanced Chinese technology with the unique tropical environment and local culture of Indonesia. These trains are powered by intelligent sensing technology, equipped with more than 2,500 detection points, which allow for real-time monitoring, early warning, and system diagnostics. Additionally, an earthquake early warning system is integrated to respond swiftly to seismic activity.
Moreover, the high-speed trains are designed to withstand Indonesia’s environmental challenges with high-standard corrosion resistance and protection technology. This ensures a 30-year service life while being resistant to salty mist and ultraviolet aging. The trains also feature a “high acceleration” mode to conquer the complex slope terrain of the region. The interior of the EMUs is spacious, accommodating a larger number of passengers, and offers numerous amenities including charging sockets, barrier-free facilities, and even coffee machines and microwave ovens.
Distinctive Indonesian features can be seen both inside and outside the train. The exterior showcases a streamlined design in silver and red, adorned with the abstract pattern of the Komodo dragon, a native symbol of Indonesia that represents harmony between humanity and nature. The seats are decorated with an auspicious cloud pattern, reminiscent of traditional Indonesian batik cloths.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who experienced the high-speed rail on September 13, emphasized the comfort and convenience of traveling inside the train at high speeds. “This is civilization speed!” he exclaimed. Widodo also underlined the government’s objective of encouraging the public to shift from cars to mass transportation to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.
Ridwan Kamil, the governor of West Java, anticipates that Bandung will reap substantial benefits from the high-speed rail, as it will attract more tourists and related businesses. Additionally, the shortened commute time is expected to facilitate an influx of workers and residents to the city, potentially leading to new employment opportunities. Kamil mentioned plans to create a master plan for a new city with more developments around the high-speed railway stations, ultimately translating into enhanced job prospects for the region’s younger generation.
The inauguration of the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway marks a significant milestone in Indonesia’s transportation sector and signifies a strong bond between the country and China in pursuit of infrastructure development. This project not only accelerates the journey between two key cities but is poised to transform the landscape of West Java, offering its people a more connected and prosperous future.