The Jakarta Post
The construction of the much-anticipated Trans-Java double-track railroad connecting the capital city to Surabaya, East Java is expected to be completed in November this year to boost railway traffic between the two cities.
Transportation Ministry railway director Hanggoro Budi Wiryawan said that the Rp 9.8 trillion ( US$1 billion ) project is currently 75.07 percent complete with several sections expected to commence operation in July.
When the 727 kilometer double-track system is operational, it will increase existing railway traffic from 64 trains per day at present to 200 trains per day, reducing congestion and road damage in Pantura.
The new railroad will also increase logistic transportation by train from the current 150,000 TEUs [20-foot equivalent units] to 1 million TEUs a year. “We have set a target for several sections for Cirebon [West Java] and Gambringan [Central Java] to start operation in July to help ease the road burden along Pantura [northern coastal highway]. We are optimistic this project will be completed on time because many plots of land have been acquired and are ready for construction,” Hanggoro said in Jakarta on Friday.
As of today, he said that Cirebon–Brebes, Brebes–Tegal, Tegal–Pekalongan, Pekalongan–Semarang and Semarang–Gambiran sections have almost been completed.
“We plan to conduct a trial operation from Semarang to Pekalongan next month, to see how good the new double track system is going to be,” he said, adding that the Semarang–Pekalongan section covers a distance of about 90 kilometers.
After July, he said that the government would speed up construction of the 283 kilometer railroad across the eastern part of Java between Gambiran, Bojonegoro and Surabaya.
Currently, the East Java sections are 40.83 percent complete.
Furthermore, people who traveled between Jakarta and Surabaya would only need 8.5 hours to reach their destination after the project was finished.
People currently take about 12 hours to travel from Jakarta to Surabaya via express train or around 15 hours via economy train.
The project is part of the government’s Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Growth ( MP3EI ).
The Transportation Ministry secured Rp 1.47 trillion additional funds in mid 2012 from the state budget to help them accelerate the double-track railroad.
Another major project under the aegis of the MP3EI is the 33-kilometer track linking Manggarai and the main gateway to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport railway in Banten, currently under study by state infrastructure financing firm PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur ( SMI ).
According to Hanggoro, the airport express line is expected to enter the tender process by the end of this year and begin construction in 2014.
Even though the project has been delayed, the government was speeding up the construction of another double-track railway to the airport by using the commuter line tracks. He said that the commuter airport train was expected to commence its operations in early 2014, passing through Manggarai–Sudirman–Tanah Abang–Duri–Grogol–Bojong Indah–Kalideres–Tanah Tinggi to Soekarno-Hatta.