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Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway set to launch

Updated on: 02 October,2023 08:17 AM IST  |  Jakarta
Agencies |

Project, largely funded by China, will cut three hour travel time to 40 mins

Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway set to launch

The line was originally expected to begin operations in 2019. Pics/AP

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Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway set to launch

Indonesia is launching Southeast Asia’s first high-speed railway, a key project under China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative that will cut travel time between the capital and another major city from the current three hours to about 40 minutes.

The project has been beset with delays and increasing costs, and some observers doubt its commercial benefit, but President Joko Widodo has championed it and will be inaugurating the 142.3-km railway as it begins commercial operations on Monday.

People take a test ridePeople take a test ride

The Chinese-made bullet train, called “Whoosh,” will connect Jakarta with Bandung, the heavily populated capital of West Java province. Widodo, along with other high-ranking officials, is expected to ride the Whoosh from its first station, Halim KCBJ in eastern Jakarta to Bandung’s Tegalluar station, the last of the line’s four stations.

The $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 joint venture said the trains will be the fastest in Southeast Asia, with speeds of up to 350 kmph.

The line was originally expected to begin operations in 2019, but was delayed by disputes over land acquisition, environmental issues and the COVID pandemic.

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