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China funded high speed railway launches in Indonesia transforming travel

High speed train

Indonesia’s inaugural high-speed railway, funded by China at $7.3 billion, connects Jakarta and Bandung, reducing travel time to 40 minutes, marking a milestone in Southeast Asia’s transportation infrastructure.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo inaugurated Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway, marking a significant milestone in the country’s infrastructure development. The railway project, financed largely by China, connects Jakarta to Bandung, significantly reducing travel time and emissions.

The $7.3 billion project, built by the joint venture PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China (PT KCIC), links the capital city Jakarta with the populous West Java province’s capital, Bandung. The journey that once took three hours can now be completed in just 40 minutes, thanks to speeds of up to 350 kph (217 mph).

President Widodo named the high-speed railway “Whoosh,” emphasizing its efficiency, optimal operation, and reliability. He stated that the project represents a modernization of mass transportation, offering an eco-friendly solution.

The railway’s inauguration follows years of delays and rising costs, but its completion marks a significant step in improving Indonesia’s transportation infrastructure. It also aligns with China’s Belt and Road initiative, enhancing economic ties between the two nations.

China Railway International Co. Ltd. has agreed to transfer technology to Indonesia, paving the way for domestic high-speed train production. This move will contribute to Indonesia’s advancement and independence in the transportation sector.

Despite initial challenges, including land disputes, environmental concerns, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the project has now become a symbol of progress for Indonesia. Ticket prices are estimated to range from 250,000 rupiah ($16) for second class to 350,000 rupiah ($22.60) for VIP seats.

The railway project is part of a larger 750-kilometer high-speed train line planned to traverse four provinces on Java, ending in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city. It strengthens China’s position as a significant source of foreign direct investment in Southeast Asia and contributes to the region’s growing economic connectivity.

This railway’s launch echoes China’s commitment to expanding trade and infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia, fostering stronger economic ties with the ASEAN countries. It follows the inauguration of a semi-high-speed railway between China and Laos in 2021, part of the broader Belt and Road initiative. Future plans include extending high-speed rail networks into Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, further enhancing regional connectivity.

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Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.