THE construction teams behind the Jakarta - Bandung high-speed line have completed tracklaying along the entire 142.3km route. The line has been designed for a maximum speed of 350km/h and is set to cut the journey time by rail between the two West Java cities from three hours to 40 minutes.

Indonesia’s first high-speed line is being built by PT KCIC, 60% of which is held by Indonesian state-owned companies including Wijaya Karya and PT Kai. China Railway Engineering and other Chinese companies hold the remaining 40%. The project is being funded by a loan from China Development Bank.

The project has adopted Chinese standard high-speed rails, with a total usage of about 38,100 tonnes of rail, according to Power Construction Corp of China (PowerChina), the contractor responsible for the track laying. The company says this is the first time that China has exported 50m-long rails in large quantities to an overseas market.

Track-laying over the 142.3km route of the Jakarta - Bandung high-speed line has now been completed. Photo credit: Ardikta/Shutterstock

The construction teams say the line will probably open in June - bearing out the November 2022 statement by Indonesia’s coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, Mr Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, that the opening would be in mid-2023 despite cost overruns due to technical issues and the unstable nature of civil works along the route. These were attributed to delicate soil conditions but have now been resolved.

PowerChina says it also had to overcome unfavourable conditions such as high temperatures and heavy rainfall, as well as a tight construction schedule. However, the pace of construction has accelerated in recent months, with January seeing completion of the welding of a total of 1168 pieces of 50m-long rail helping with the task of track-laying.

A map of the Indonesian island of Java showing the soon-to-be-opened Jakarta-Bandung high-speed line in dark red and the planned Bandung-Surabaya high-speed line extension in lighter red. Picture credit: Gunawan Kartapranata/Wikipedia Commons

An extension of the high-speed line is proposed from Bandung to Surabaya, which would help to cut the overall journey time from Jakarta to Surabaya to four hours. The line would help to boost the economic prosperity of communities along the route such as Kertajati, Purwokerto, Yogyakarta, Solo and Madiun, as well as providing a connection to Kertajati Airport. In November last year transport minister, Mr Budi Karya Sumadi, said the Indonesian government was considering a public-private partnership (PPP) to fund construction of the extension.

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