IN PHOTOS: Southeast Asia's first high-speed railway launched in Indonesia

Indonesian President Joko Widodo inaugurated Southeast Asia's first high-speed railway on Monday as it was set to begin commercial operations, a key project under China's Belt and Road infrastructure initiative that will drastically reduce the travel time between two key cities. Pics/AFP (Text-AP)

Updated On: 2023-10-02 12:39 PM IST

Compiled by : Asif Ali Sayed

The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train named 'Whoosh' is seen after the inauguration at Padalarang station in Padalarang, West Java. Pics/AFP

The project has been beset with delays and increasing costs, and some observers doubt its commercial benefits. But Widodo has championed the 142-kilometre (88-mile) railway, which was issued its official operating license from the Transportation Ministry on Sunday

The USD 7.3 billion project, largely funded by China, was constructed by PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia-China, known as PT KCIC, a joint venture between an Indonesian consortium of four state-owned companies and China Railway International Co. Ltd

The railway connects Jakarta with Bandung, the heavily populated capital of West Java province, and will cut travel time between the cities from the current three hours to about 40 minutes

Its use of electrical energy is expected to reduce carbon emissions

Widodo in his opening remarks officially named Indonesia's first high-speed railway the fastest in Southeast Asia, with speeds of up to 350 kph (217 mph) as Whoosh, from Waktu Hemat, Operasi Optimal, Sistem Handal, which means timesaving, optimal operation, reliable system in Indonesian language

The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train marks the modernisation of our mass transportation, which is efficient and environmentally friendly, Widodo said

Our courage to try new things gives us confidence and the opportunity to learn and will be very useful for the future, making our human resources more advanced and our nation more independent, he added

Widodo, along with other high-ranking officials, rode Whoosh from its first station, Halim in eastern Jakarta, to Bandung's Padalarang station, one of the line's four stations, located about 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the central area of Bandung

He took a 25-minute test ride on the train on September 13 and told reporters that he felt comfortable sitting or walking inside the bullet train even at its top speeds

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