The government is speeding up the construction of a double track railway connecting Jakarta and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport to cope with severe congestion on main roads to the airport.
Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono said the airport railway project would also utilize existing commuter line tracks and would commence operations in the middle of 2013.
“We need this commuter line airport train not only to reduce highway congestion but also to support the Manggarai–Soekarno Hatta express train that is currently being studied by the state infrastructure financing company PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur,” he told The Jakarta Post in Jakarta on Monday.
The airport commuter line will pass through Manggarai–Sudirman–Tanah Abang–Duri–Grogol–Bojong Indah–Kalideres–Tanah Tinggi–Soekarno Hatta.
The state railway operator PT KAI will add 7-kilometer long double tracks connecting Tanah Tinggi to the airport that requires a Rp 2.25 trillion ( US $245.25 million ) investment.
He said that PT KAI was currently studying the entry point in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport for the commuter line airport train.
“PT KAI is going to finish the study next month,” he added.
He said that the railway company had two options for an entry point: Either the train entered behind the airport through its M1 gate or it ran side by side with the Jakarta Outer Ring Road corridor before entering the airport.
By using the commuter line tracks, he said that airline passengers’ journey time would be 45 minutes to the airport from the center of the capital.
In addition, he said that the 33 -kilometer railway project to the airport from Manggarai station would be offered for tender process in 2013.
“The feasibility study is going to be finished by the end of this year and construction should be started in 2014,” he said.
On this track, travelers will spend only a 35 minute journey to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport with an express train. The project has been abandoned since 2005 due to a combination of problems ranging from land acquisition to financing.
The project may require a Rp 10.2 trillion investment, far higher than the Rp 4.6 trillion estimated in 2007.
The figure swelled from the original estimate due to several changes, including the construction of a double track line instead of a single track that was to overlap with the existing railway line, and the possible construction of shopping malls to cater for passengers.
Passenger traffic through the country’s main airport currently stands at 51.1 million per year, while its maximum capacity was only 22 million.
Meanwhile, PT KAI is currently constructing a 28-kilometer double track railway in North Sumatra, linking the heart of Medan to the Kuala Namu International Airport in the Deli Serdang region.
“Travelers from Medan will arrive in Kuala Namu Airport within 30 minutes,” he said.
Kuala Namu Airport, which has a total capacity of 9 million passengers, is expected to commence operations in 2013, he said. ( nfo )