In a momentous event that marks a significant milestone in the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway (HSR), the inaugural high-speed rail system in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, commenced official operations on a historic Tuesday. The official launch was the result of collaborative efforts between China and Indonesia, and it was announced by the top leaders of both nations following a high-level meeting, as reported by the Xinhua News Agency.
This high-speed rail project, stretching over 142 kilometers in length and boasting a maximum design speed of 350 kilometers per hour, connects the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, with Bandung, the nation’s fourth-largest city. The HSR system is set to dramatically reduce the travel time between these two key cities, decreasing the journey from 3.5 hours to an astonishing 46 minutes.
The inauguration of the Jakarta-Bandung HSR is a momentous step in transforming the economic and social landscape of the region, according to experts. It’s seen as a groundbreaking demonstration of the BRI’s potential and the considerable impact it can have on future developments within Southeast Asia.
High-level Talks and Strategic Collaboration
Chinese President Xi Jinping played a pivotal role in this historic event, as he held discussions with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Beijing. President Widodo had arrived in the Chinese capital to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and to conduct an official visit. During their meeting, President Xi highlighted the remarkable progress achieved through the collaborative efforts of China and Indonesia over the past decade. The guiding principle of shared growth through discussion and cooperation, as per President Xi, has been instrumental in promoting development and delivering substantial benefits to the citizens of both countries. He also emphasized that the collaboration between China and Indonesia serves as a significant model of international cooperation within the framework of the BRI.
President Xi expressed China’s commitment to bolster mutual support with Indonesia on their shared path toward modernization and national rejuvenation. This, he believes, will be instrumental in fostering the long-term and steady growth of bilateral relations between the two nations.
The Grand Inauguration
At precisely 4:35 pm on the momentous Tuesday, train G1137 embarked from the Halim Station in Jakarta, marking the official commencement of the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway, a project executed by the China Railway Group. This historic event signifies the culmination of a landmark achievement between China and Indonesia in jointly constructing the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Jakarta-Bandung HSR is not just a transportation infrastructure project; it is a symbol of economic transformation. It connects two vital urban centers and passes through the hinterlands of West Java province, with several strategic stops along the route, including Halim, Karawang, Padalarang, and Tegalluar.
Initially, the railway operator has planned 14 trains to run between Jakarta and Bandung. The frequency of operations will be adjusted according to market demand and traffic flows. With the inauguration of this high-speed rail system, it is expected to bring about a paradigm shift in the transportation landscape of the region and contribute to its economic growth.
A Catalyst for Economic Development
The Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway is more than just a rail line; it is a catalyst for economic development in Indonesia. By seamlessly connecting Jakarta and Bandung, it is poised to promote the growth of industries along the route, including commercial development and tourism. This modernization of the transportation system is not just about convenience; it is about boosting economic activity and improving the lives of the people.
Wang Yiwei, the director of the Institute of International Affairs at the Renmin University of China, considers the Jakarta-Bandung HSR an iconic project in advancing the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. Moreover, he predicts that this project will serve as a shining example for future BRI developments in Southeast Asia.
Wang highlighted the transformative potential of the high-speed railway, stating that it will not only modernize Indonesia’s transportation system but also significantly contribute to the development of industries along its route. These industries include commerce and tourism, among others. He noted that the Jakarta-Bandung HSR will contribute to the overall integration of connectivity within ASEAN, further bringing the economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China closer together.
A Bright Outlook for Ridership
Anticipation is high regarding the ridership of the Jakarta-Bandung HSR. A spokesperson for the China Railway No.4 Engineering Group Co revealed in September that ridership could exceed an impressive 10 million trips in the first year of operation. This prediction reflects the immense demand and enthusiasm for high-speed rail travel in the region.
China Railway No.4 Engineering Group Co, which played a pivotal role in the construction of the rail line, is looking forward to witnessing the positive impact of the Jakarta-Bandung HSR on regional transportation and economic development.
The inauguration of the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway is not just an achievement in transportation infrastructure but a groundbreaking event in the evolution of the Belt and Road Initiative. It symbolizes the close collaboration between China and Indonesia and demonstrates the transformative potential of this grand infrastructure project. As this remarkable high-speed rail system continues to shape the landscape of Southeast Asia, it is poised to bring significant economic and social benefits to the region and set a new standard for transportation and connectivity.