Indonesia looks back at its future railways among budget cut

As Indonesia faces a slower growth and a fall in revenues, the government decided to implement budget cut in a much needed overhaul of its railways network. Java Island will bear most of the burden with many projects being postponed but the new high-speed train between Jakarta and Bandung as well as a medium-speed train between Jakarta and Surabaya.

Indonesia Transportation Ministry will still prioritize railway projects such as the ongoing trans-Sumatra and trans-Sulawesi rail network, two networks that both islands desperately need. Close to 300 million have been closed from the State Budget.
President Jokowi’s administration is still prioritizing railway construction to improve inter-islands ‘connectivity. Most of the 5,200 km of rail lines in the country still date back from the colonial time and were built by Dutch. Indonesia wants now to add some 3,200 additional km of rail lines until the end of 2019. Projects are due to be completed in Sumatra, Sulawesi as well as Kalimantan (Borneo).

For the trans-Sulawesi megaproject, priority is given to the 145-km Makassar-Pare pare section in South Sulawesi and the Manado-Bitung section in North Sulawesi. Both are due to be completed by 2018. Some 70 km could already be open by next year. In total, the trans-Sulawesi railway could cover 1,500 km when completed. The Trans-Sumatra project covers 1,520 km, with a connection from Medan to Rantauprapat-Dumai and between Binjai and Besitang.

Meanwhile, construction is going on for the development of the first high-speed train link between Jakarta and Bandung, a project financed and supported by China. Japan is now conducting a survey for the development of a medium-speed rail line between Jakarta and Surabaya. The 750-km line will request an investment of between US$2.5 billion – $3 billion and could begin in the first or second quarter of 2017. Trains would then cover the distance in just five hours instead of 10 hours today.

Another project is the rail connection from Jakarta Soekarno Hatta Airport to the capital. The $US 155m rail link project involves constructing a 12km double-track branch from the existing Jakarta – Tangerang commuter line. Services will link the airport with Tanah Abang in central Jakarta and Manggarai in the south of the city, likely from next year.