State railway operator PT KAI is optimistic that a railway line linking Jakarta and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport will be operational by the end of 2013.
KAI president director Ignasius Jonan said the Rp 2.25 trillion (US$250 million) project would utilize an existing commuter railway line in Tangerang that connects to the downtown commuter line.
“We will construct a 7-kilometer section of track to connect the commuter line stations in Tangerang and the airport,” Jonan said during a press conference in Gambir, Central Jakarta, on Thursday.
KAI plans to use a siding system for the airport railway track. A siding is a track section connected to a main line that allows for faster trains to overtake slower services, he said.
The company had hired a consultant to carry out a feasibility study for the project, and the results were expected be ready in the next six months, Jonan said.
Late last month, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a regulation assigning KAI to construct and manage the airport train line and the Greater Jakarta Commuter Line network.
The regulation provided legal grounds for the company to immediately commence construction of the new line, which the central government expects to begin next year.
Earlier, Transportation Minister E.E. Mangindaan said that with these legal provisions, KAI should no longer have any reason to delay construction. “It should be done quickly, otherwise the jobs will begin to pile up,” Mangindaan said.
The project is expected to be completed within in one-and-a-half years after the issuance of the presidential regulation.
Once complete, the route will pass through Manggarai Station in Central Jakarta, Sudirman, Tanah Abang, Duri, Grogol, Kalideres, Tanah Tinggi and end at Soekarno-Hatta Airport.
There is already a line connecting Tanah Tinggi with Manggarai, a track developed by the Transportation Ministry.
The Transportation Ministry also plans to expand the existing single-track commuter line between Manggarai and Tanah Tinggi to a double-track line to accommodate the increasing flow of railway traffic to the airport.
The double track construction work is planned to be completed by the end of 2013, as the ministry plans to provide two railway lines connecting Manggarai and the airport by 2014.
Under the new regulation, KAI is allowed to work with regional administrations and other state-owned enterprises under the monitoring of the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry.
Besides the Manggarai–Tanah Tinggi–Soekarno-Hatta route, the central government also plans to develop a 33-kilometer express line between Manggarai and the airport via Angke in West Jakarta and Pluit in North Jakarta.
The Manggarai to Soekarno-Hatta railroad will be tendered to a private construction company under a public-private partnership investment scheme facilitated by state-owned infrastructure funding company PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur.
Last month, the Transportation Ministry signed an agreement with the company to kick-start the project.
The project had been abandoned since 2005 due to a combination of problems including land acquisition and financing.