Indonesia trials first high-speed rail in boost to Jokowi legacy

The Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. — Bloomberg

JAKARTA: Indonesia is starting trial runs for its first high-speed train, which will connect the capital Jakarta to a neighbouring city of Bandung, after years of delays and cost overruns plagued the project.

The railway’s completion would further cement President Joko Widodo’s legacy as a leader who pushed through with major infrastructure projects that have languished for decades.

Next, he is aiming to pull off a US$34bil (RM158bil) new capital city called Nusantara on Kalimantan island before the end of his second and final term in 2024.

The Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

It was initially billed at less than US$6bil (RM27.9bil) only for the builder to seek at least US$1.18bil (RM5.5bil) more due to ballooning costs of engineering, construction and land purchases.

The project is built and operated by Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC), a joint venture between China Railway International Co Ltd and a consortium of Indonesian state companies.

It is funded mostly by China Development Bank and Indonesia’s state budget.

The railway was initially scheduled to be completed in 2019 but has faced several delays due to the cost overruns and accidents. It is now set for a soft launch in August.

The journey on the 142-km railway will take as little as 36 minutes with the train running at a top speed of 350 km an hour.

It can carry up to 601 passengers and stop at four stations, according to KCIC’s website.

Bandung is a popular weekend getaway among tourists looking for discount shopping and cooler air. — Bloomberg

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