THE governments of China and Indonesia have agreed to a $US 1.2bn budget increase to complete the Chinese-financed project to build the Jakarta - Bandung High-Speed Railway, which is due to open in June of this year.

The railway is being built by the PT KCIC consortium, with Indonesian companies including Wijaya Karaya and PT KAI controlling 60% and China Railway Engineering and other Chinese companies controlling 40%. The project is being part-funded with a loan from the China Development Bank.

In October 2022, with the line then 88.8% complete, PT KCC revealed that the project was $US 2bn over budget, the cost having risen to $US 7.36bn. While China initially disputed the level of overspend, halving that figure, PT KCIC’s calculation was subsequently confirmed.

According to international news agency Reuters, the latest cost overrun now takes the price tag to $US 8.56bn.

“We agreed on the cost overrun figure of $US 1.2bn,” says Indonesia’s deputy minister of state-owned enterprises, Mr Kartika Wirjoatmodjog. “There are several items that they are still reviewing regarding taxes, and frequency clearing fees, but we have agreed on the numbers.”

An 85.3km section of the Jakarta - Bandung line - representing 60% of the 142.3km main line - has been laid with slab track and on February 16 it was reported that all of the subgrade, bridge and station civil engineering works had been completed, with concrete poured to form the last track slab the previous day.

Altogether, 30,177 CRTS II ballastless track slabs have been laid and the technology developed by China is said to have the advantages of a simple structure, stable performance and good durability, as well as being easy to construct and ensuring a smooth and safe ride for high-speed trains.

When completed the line will have a design speed of 350km/h, with the Jakarta - Bandung journey time cut from over 3 hours to around 40 minutes.

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