Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – Construction on the 82.7-kilometer elevated section of the China-backed Jakarta-Bandung Fast Train project commenced on Monday.
Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC), the Sino-Indonesian joint venture responsible for the project, marked the occasion with the installation of a 900-ton box girder, witnessed by State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno and Chinese Ambassador Xiao Qian.
"This is an extraordinary achievement and a leap forward to spur cooperation among all parties involved and to make the first fast train a reality by 2021," Minister Rini said in a statement.
Once completed, the train will cover the 140 km between Jakarta and Bandung, West Java, in less than an hour. It will start from Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport in East Jakarta, where the train terminal will be integrated with the Jakarta LRT and TransJakarta busway systems, and end at Tegalluar Station, southeast of Bandung. There will be two stations – Karawang and Walini – along the way.
"It will take 36 minutes for direct travel, or around 46 minutes for indirect travel between Halim and Tegalluar," Rini said, referring to the travel time excluding and including the two five-minute stops along the way.
The train will incorporate the latest technology, including a high-level security system. Contractors involved in the $6 billion project, one of the highlights in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's infrastructure ambitions, include Sinohydro, China Railway Group (CREC), state-owned Wijaya Karya and several more from both countries
The China Development Bank committed $4.5 billion in loans for the project.
The 609-meter Walini Tunnel in West Bandung, which was completed in May, was the first of 13 underground passages along the track and arguably one of the most complicated parts of the project, having taken 120 construction workers more than 15 months to complete.
Earlier this month, KCIC and MRT Jakarta agreed to collaborate on human resources development, facility maintenance and operational systems.