The high-speed railway connecting the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Bandung is ready for construction, Chinese railway operator China Railway Corp (CRC) has announced.
The project, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, is a joint effort between China and Indonesia and will feature the construction of a 142km rail line connecting the Indonesian capital with Bandung, the capital of West Java province.
CRC announced on Friday that progress had been made at 22 construction sites and that works will get underway soon, despite some issues related to licensing and financing.
Travelling between Jakarta and Bandung currently takes over three hours, but CRC says that trains on the new line will connect the two hubs in just 40 minutes, having a maximum design speed of 350km/h.
The operator said that the upcoming four-stop line will help facilitate journeys between the two cities, as well as favour new investments and increase commercial development and tourism. The project is also forecast to boost the growth of Indonesia’s construction equipment and material industries.
China’s high-speed railway standards, technologies and equipment will be used on a foreign line for the first time. Works will be carried out by a consortium of Chinese and Indonesian companies under the name of Kereta Cepat Indonesia China, and will be mainly funded by loans from the China Development Bank. The joint venture was officially established in October 2015, while the ground-breaking ceremony for the project took place in January 2016.
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With over 2,000 locals currently employed in the construction of the railway, CRC expects more job opportunities to arise in the coming months. The company also pledged to continue to train local employees in a bid to help Indonesia build a new class of high-speed rail professionals.
According to local media, the construction of the railway has been postponed due to several issues, including funding and land acquisition.
With over 25,000km of tracks, China’s high-speed railway network accounts for over 60% of the world’s entire high-speed railways, and is expected to reach 30,000km by 2020.